THE WHOLE WORLD KNEW HOW BRUTAL AND SADISTIC JAVANESE HISTORY BACK GROUND .from the early history untill to day we can still find the javanese hasnt chaged.Batak people Bow to the javanese too..

October 14, 2008 at 2:34 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

INDONESIA: 1965-1966 Massacre: Four Decades of Injustice

Fabian Junge 
(Ed. note: A coup on Sept. 30, 1965, triggered an orgy of violence in Indonesia that killed hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people within a one-year period—an event that eventually brought Gen. Suharto to power for more than three decades. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people were imprisoned and tortured during this period. Most of the victims were members of the Communist Party of Indonesia, or Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI), people accused of being Communist Party members or political opponents of the Suharto regime. The subjects of this story are survivors of this national tragedy. The author was a German intern with the Asian Human Rights Commission [AHRC] for approximately six weeks in 2005 in the AHRC office in Hong Kong and an additional six weeks in Indonesia. He has been involved with issues in Indonesia since 2001.)  

Ibu Surati: ‘My Only Hope Is for My Grandchildren to Lead a Normal Life’

Education and community work played a central part in the life of Surati Suparna binte Djaswadi, born in 1925 in East Java, and her husband. The two primary school teachers and their daughter, who was born in 1957, lived and worked in the Central Javanese city of Solo where they were well-respected members of their community. To a large extent, this respect was due to the active role Ibu Surati played in the community. Together with fellow teachers, she taught illiterate adults. She also was an active member of the district council and the Indonesian Teacher’s Association, known as PGRI in Indonesia. Moreover, she was involved in the preparation of community and religious festivals every year.

Ibu Surati (Photo: Fabian Junge, AHRC)

Arrest and ImprisonmentThe harmonious life of Ibu Surati and her family was destroyed by an incident in far-away Jakarta that altered the fate of not only herself but of a large number of victims and of Indonesia as a whole. It began in early October of 1965 when she heard the news on the radio about the murder of six important generals by a so-called Sept. 30 Movement, allegedly an attempted coup masterminded by the Communist Party of Indonesia (Partai Komunis Indonesia or PKI). About 10 days later large numbers of army troops under the command of Col. Sarwo Edhie Wibowo arrived in Solo and began arresting ordinary men who were detained in the town hall. Among those arrested were many of Ibu Surati’s friends and fellow teachers. Although the mayor of Solo had informed Ibu Surati at a special meeting for teachers that the killing of the generals was an internal affair of the army and that she need not worry, the men were arrested for their alleged involvement in the coup attempt and affiliation with the PKI. She and her husband though did not worry about their own safety as they felt they had not done anything wrong. As they later discovered, however, they and millions of other people in Indonesia would all have reason to worry.

At about 7 o’clock on the night of Oct. 16, a group of armed youth came to Ibu Surati’s house asking for her husband. As he was not home, they ordered her to immediately follow them to the subdistrict director’s office. With surprise, Ibu Surati noted that the youngsters were masked as she recognised all of them as her former pupils. The familiarity of the youngsters and her clear conscience gave her no reason not to follow the youngsters as she thought she had nothing to fear.

When they arrived at the office, however, the subdistrict director was not there. Instead, several policemen in civilian clothes awaited her and took her to the sectional police station. There she was questioned by one of the officers with whom she was acquainted. He told her that she was here to be protected.

“From what do I have to be protected?” she asked.

“The situation now is not safe,” he said, “so we have to protect you. Tomorrow I’m going to bring you to the town hall.”

Hence, on the next day, Oct. 17, Ibu Surati picked up her daughter, who had spent the night with a neighbour, and they were detained in the town hall.

When she arrived, Ibu Surati’s husband had already been brought to the town hall. Although they were among the first to be detained, the town hall filled up quickly until, according to Ibu Surati, more than 1,000 detainees lived in its empty rooms. The detainees were mostly simple people: labourers, peasants and people who earned a living selling traditional medicine or food. The women and men were then separated. Among those detained were many other teachers she knew. Since they all felt they had done nothing wrong, they remained calm and had no fear. The detainees were guarded by paramilitary youth groups under the command of Col. Sarwo Edhie, the army colonel responsible for many massacres of alleged PKI members and conspirators in the coup attempt of Sept. 30, especially in Central and East Java.

Soon after she moved into the town hall, Ibu Surati heard stories about the torture of male prisoners. According to what she heard, those tortured were forced to confess that they had been in Jakarta around Sept. 30 and were involved in the coup attempt and the PKI. With horror, she learned about the torture of a friend, the principal of a reputable senior high school, who was forced to confess his involvement in the coup. Moreover, he was asked to state the name of his president. His answer?quot;the great leader of the revolution, President Sukarno”—was followed by a severe beating with a sickle, for he was expected to utter the name of Gen. Suharto, the person who masterminded the massacres of 1965 and 1966 and who used them as a means to become president of Indonesia and rule the country until 1998.

In addition to paramilitary groups, the prisoners were partly guarded by military officers. Ibu Surati recalls that one night an air force officer who guarded her room told her that he had received orders to kill all the prisoners in the town hall.

“Ibu,” he said, “I have been assigned a task.” 

“What task?” she asked.

“We have been ordered to execute all prisoners,” he replied.

After this news, Ibu Surati and the other prisoners in her room lived in constant fear. Every day could be the day their execution was to take place. In the end, however, they heard from the same officer that he had talked to Col. Sarwo Edhie and that he had refused to fulfil his task. Consequently, the summary execution of all prisoners in the town hall was prevented.

After she had been detained in the Solo town hall for one year, she was moved to a prison in Ambawara in Central Java where she was detained for about five years. The prisoners here consisted of other teachers, students as young as 12 years old, university lecturers and other members of the intelligentsia. During her whole detention, Ibu Surati was never brought before any court, was never found guilty of any crime and was never told why she was being detained.

In the military-run camp, the detainees lived in poor conditions in barracks of 50 to 70 people. Ibu Surati and the other prisoners also suffered from the harsh treatment and arbitrary punishment of the guards. In addition, the barracks were dirty, and there were insufficient sanitary facilities. Moreover, the daily rations of food never satisfied the prisoners’ hunger. They survived mainly because some prisoners were sent food by their families and shared this with the other detainees. For Ibu Surati, who was sent food by her neighbours, parents of her former students and the illiterate people she had taught, it was this solidarity among the prisoners that made the hard life in Ambawara bearable.

Soon after her arrival in Ambawara, Ibu Surati received news that all her property had been seized. Government officials had taken her furniture and other items, and the small petrol station she and her husband had run had been dismantled and taken away. She also learned that her house was now inhabited by a civil servant. Fortunately, some neighbours managed to save many of her important documents.

Discrimination and Hardship after Imprisonment

While Ibu Surati was detained until 1971, her husband, who had been moved from the town hall to the Sasanomulyo prison in Solo, was released in 1968. He and their daughter visited Ibu Surati as often as they could. They were allowed to see each other only from a distance. A barbed wire fence forced them so far apart from each other that they could communicate only by shouting.

After her release in 1971, Ibu Surati was brought back to Solo by a government official. Since her house had been taken away from her, the small family had to rent a room in a boarding house. Her husband had not been allowed to return to his work as a teacher after his release in 1968 and now worked as a car washer.

Upon her return, she was issued a special identity card that indicated she was a former political prisoner; and for several years, she was obliged to report monthly to the subdistrict director. Until today, she has to renew her identity card every five years unlike ordinary Indonesians aged 60 years old or above who receive a lifelong identity card. Meanwhile, Ibu Surati found, just like her husband, that she was not allowed to return to her former profession as a teacher, and thus, she had to find other ways to make a living.

Fortunately, she did not share the fate of many other ex-political prisoners as her neighbours treated her as a friend and helped her in any way they could. In the beginning, for instance, they gave her food and money. Later they helped her find work—first by selling rice, then in a textile factory and later they supported her so she could open a small kiosk on the side of the street selling food and newspapers.

Ibu Surati and her husband though struggled hard to support themselves and their daughter. Their efforts to support themselves were not made any easier when they discovered they had to pay higher school fees than other families for the primary education of their daughter. Moreover, during her first semester of secondary school, she was dismissed because of the background of her parents as former political prisoners. Even today the thought of this injustice saddens Ibu Surati.

“They told me not to be angry,” recalls Ibu Surati, “but, of course, I was. This is unjust. I always treated the school staff with respect, and I fulfilled all my obligations as a good citizen. We are not PKI. I suffered; my child suffered. My only hope now is for my grandchildren to lead a normal life.”

She and other former political prisoners, however, have not been able to fight against this injustice. The fear created by the massacres and the political imprisonment, the social stigma and pressure, forced her to remain silent.

“They took my work, my house, my dignity, but I just remained calm,” she says.

Although she was not allowed to return to her former workplace, Ibu Surati never received an official letter of dismissal. In 1980 or 1981, she wrote a letter to the minister of public welfare demanding her rights as a civil servant and teacher as well as official clarification of her status as a civil servant. She also asked the Dept. of Education and Culture, the village head and subdistrict director, but they all refused to be responsible for her.

Today Ibu Surati lives in Jakarta together with other women who became political prisoners in the wake of the 1965-1966 massacres, and she is actively involved in the advocacy of her rights and those of other victims of this tragedy. When asked what justice would mean for her today, she stresses that “the government should rehabilitate us; compensation is not so important.” She wants to be treated equal before the law and administration, wants her status clarified and her reputation to be restored. Moreover, she wants to be cleared from the PKI stigma and hopes for equal opportunities for her grandchildren. She does not want another generation to face the same discrimination she has had to endure.

Anwar Umar (Photo: Fabian Junge, AHRC)

Anwar Umar: ‘I Do Not Want to Die without Meaning in My Room or on My Mattress’Since he was young, Anwar Umar’s life centred around organisational and political activity. Born in 1929 as the sixth child of a farmer in a village near Lampung on the island of Sumatra, he went to the Lampung as a young boy. Here he soon began his political career. At the age of 16, he joined a military group during the Japanese occupation and after the end of World War II rose to the rank of sergeant during the independence struggle against Indonesia’s Dutch colonial master.

In 1950, he went to Jakarta to seek his fortune. After working as a stenographer for two years, Umar accepted a civil service position in the newly established Transport and Communications Dept. He was married in 1951 and later became the father of eight children.

During his 14 years in Jakarta, Pak Umar joined various political organisations. He was active in an association of veterans of the independence struggle, became the secretary-general of a union of civil servants in the transportation sector and joined a movement demanding provincial status for Lampung. As a result of this latter involvement, he returned to Lampung in 1964 to work as an assistant to the governor of the newly established Lampung Province. Soon he was elected as the secretary-general of the Lampung division of Serikta Buruh Se-Indonesia (All-Indonesia Labour Union), a non-partisan trade union. Although he admits that the union’s interests were similar to those of the PKI, he stresses that he never formally participated in any political party. Through the events of Sept. 30 in 1965 in far away Jakarta, however, Pak Umar’s political activities were ultimately restricted, and the remainder of his life was relegated to the margins of society.Arrest and Imprisonment

Soon after Sept. 30, 1965, the police and military began arresting alleged PKI members and functionaries in Lampung. Although Pak Umar was not a member of the party, a district leader close to him advised him to leave for Jakarta and go into hiding. Before he left, however, he signed a three-page document denying any affiliation or involvement with the PKI.

On Oct. 23 that year, Pak Umar left for Jakarta to live in the area around the Government Printing Office. He arrived late at night, and a man identifying himself as a messenger from the rukun warga (neighbourhood office), or RW, shortly came up to him and told him to report to the person in charge of the neighbourhood. When Pak Umar entered the office, however, he was surprised to be met by a group of military officers and several other men who had been summoned. The officers ordered him to sit down at gunpoint, and one of them shouted, “Which one of you is Anwar Umar?” After the officer had shouted several times, Pak Umar stood up and identified himself. He was then taken to the Mis Tijijih Building in the Pasar Senen area of Jakarta where he was detained for one night without any food. This night was the beginning of an 11-year nightmare of imprisonment under degrading and inhumane conditions.

Not knowing why he had been arrested, he was moved to Jatinegara Prison the next morning, which was guarded by a unit of the military police. The first few nights he had to sleep in the open space of the prison yard with about 800 other detainees. When the number of prisoners swelled to about 3,000 during the next three days, Pak Umar was moved into a cell occupied by about 60 other prisoners. Because the cell was too overcrowded to lie down, no one could sleep. Some prisoners in the hot and stuffy cell even drank their own urine as no drinking water was provided.

After several days, they were moved to Cipinang Prison. In the hot afternoon sun, they were ordered to strip down to their underwear and crawl into their cell on all fours. Whoever looked back was kicked by a guard with heavy military boots. Overcrowding was again a part of prison life with about 45 prisoners per cell. For one week, Pak Umar and his cellmates were left to themselves without any food or water. After one week, his family discovered where he was detained and visited him. They brought him food and water, but Pak Umar felt sad that there was not enough to share with all of his cellmates.

His inhumane prison conditions, however, were not his only problem; for after several days at Cipinang, Pak Umar was physically tortured, an experience of intense suffering which would leave a wound on his mind for the rest of his life.

On the day his torture began, as he passed through the prison yard, he could already hear the heart-wrenching screams of a woman in great pain. He was led into a separate room where police officers bound his hands with electric wire that was connected to a 20-volt battery. They then tortured him with electric shocks, causing such pain that Pak Umar screamed and cried and his whole body bounced up and down and trembled.

After the electric shocks, he was ordered to sign a confession. Among other things, this confession stated that he was a courier for the PKI between Lampung and Jakarta and that he had conspired to murder five generals. Strangely, the document did not mention the names of these generals. Pak Umar was confused and did not understand what he was being asked to sign as he was not aware at this point in time of the events of Sept. 30.

When he refused to sign the document, he was brought into another room where about 10 police and military officers, as well as a public prosecutor, awaited him. They started beating him heavily with their fists. One police officer named Ahmad also hit him with a chair until it broke under the weight of the blows. Another officer then grabbed his head and hit it against the wall several times.

Bleeding, bruised and hardly able to walk, Pak Umar was brought back to his cell. There a friend, who was a member of the Central Committee of the PKI, whispered to him: “Sign it [the confession]. It is better than dying or being an invalid for the rest of your life. Later we will bring the case to court, and everything will work out fine for us.” In the end, when brought back to the torture chamber, Pak Umar took the advice of his friend and signed the confession.

He was never brought before a court, however, and was never given an official, legal verdict. Instead, he was soon moved to Tangerang Prison where he was held until 1976.

Like the other prisons where he had been held, conditions in this prison were also poor. The rice for the prisoners was mixed with glass splinters or sand so that many prisoners died of internal bleeding or malnutrition.

“The food they gave us was only intended to make us die slowly,” recalls Pak Umar.

In order to survive, he tried to clean his rice and separate it from the glass or sand. However, this was near to impossible, and soon his health deteriorated. When he was scheduled to be deported to Buru Island, it was only because he suffered from malnutrition, malaria and hepatitis that he did not end up in this infamous concentration camp. Instead, he was brought to a prison in Salemba where he received weekly health check-ups and medical treatment. After six months, he was returned to Tangerang Prison. Now he and his fellow prisoners had to work for a farming and animal husbandry project, the revenue of which was for the military. For his labour, Pak Umar received nothing except some extra food.

Life after Prison

Pak Umar was released on Sept. 26, 1976, after receiving a letter from the Komando Pemulihan Keamanan dan Ketertiban (Command for the Restoration of Security and Public Order), or Kopkamtib, signed by a person named Capt. Sudomo. For another three months, he was put under house arrest. Afterwards, he was not allowed to leave Jakarta for six months and had to report to the military police weekly. When the period of his house arrest concluded, he moved to Rawasari in East Jakarta.

Although Pak Umar worked as a civil servant for more than 12 years, he never received a pension. His identity card bore the label Eks Tahanan Politik (Ex-political Prisoner), or ET, which branded him a Communist and traitor in the eyes of the State and larger part of society. Because of this status, he was denied access to further work in the public service sector and lost his right to a pension as well. Moreover, there was no social or public institution to take care of his welfare or others like him because of the hostility against him and other former political prisoners.

Hence, after his release, Pak Umar’s hard and lonely struggle for survival at the margins of society began. In prison, he had learned how to do massage from a fellow prisoner; and for the first year after his release, he supported himself with this skill. Afterwards, he worked as an English-Indonesian translator in a small enterprise. Later, between 1982 and 1984, he was a scholar at an Islamic foundation, for, among other skills, he knew how to read Arabic, recite Koranic verses and pronounce the ritual prayers. When the elderly scholar who gave him this responsibility became sick and gave up his position, Pak Umar could not continue this job, however. It was clear that other scholars in the foundation would not want a former political prisoner who had been branded a Communist to work for them, although Pak Umar was always careful to conceal this stigma.

Pak Umar was also denied his right to free assembly, to form organisations and was subjected to surveillance by the person responsible for his neighbourhood—the rumah tetangga or rukun warga (RT or RW)—the lowest administrative unit in Indonesia. For example, he had to report when he received visitors and was not allowed to receive or talk to foreigners coming to the neighbourhood. He faced discrimination not only from the person in charge of the neighbourhood but also from many of his former neighbours who related to him with distrust and hostility.

The bitterest experience after his release, however, was the rejection of his family. He had missed them and craved to be with them for 11 years, and now, when the dreams of his days in prison were almost realised, he painfully found that his family, in effect, no longer existed.

His wife had stopped visiting him in prison after several years. At the end of his house arrest, Pak Umar returned to his family and stayed with them for several days; but after the second night, he learned that his wife had married another man in the belief that he had been sent to the Buru Island prison camp and died there. She did not want him to live with her again though. In rage, Pak Umar was about to physically harm his wife when his eldest child and neighbours separated them. Since then, Pak Umar has lived alone and has had no contact with his wife, although they were never formally divorced.

Pak Umar also deeply regrets that he was not able to even support his children’s primary education. Even sadder, his eldest son committed suicide in 1975 when Pak Umar was still in prison. Seeing no future in his life, he hung himself from a tree in front of his house. Pak Umar learned about this tragedy only after his release. Until today, Pak Umar hardly has any relationship with his children, which he blames on the long separation from them and the confrontation above with his wife. His life without a family though has made his struggle more difficult and lonely.

The year 1998 was a time of great political turmoil and change for Indonesia. For Pak Umar, this was the moment to become politically active once again. He joined student demonstrations calling for Suharto to step down and even made a speech during one of them. In late 1998, after the downfall of Suharto, Pak Umar and other former political prisoners formed the Komite Aksi Pembebasan Tapol-Napo (Action Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners), or KAPTN, which seeks the release of individuals imprisoned for political reasons under Suharto.

Because he has not been able to find work for a long time and did not receive support from his family, he now depends on the good will of people in his neighbourhood or at the human rights group Kontras (Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence) where he has worked as a volunteer for the past few years.

Today Pak Umar, by all standards, lives a life of poverty. He occupies a room of only five square meters. He lives alone, has to cook for himself, clean and repair his own clothes and does not have a regular income. He can only rely on himself and does not want to be a burden to anyone, he says.

Nevertheless, Pak Umar continues to struggle against political injustice, not only against him and other victims of 1965, but also on behalf of those who suffered for more than three decades during the Suharto regime. For himself, justice today chiefly means rehabilitation, which would include the end of all discriminatory practices against former political prisoners. For example, he wants a lifelong identity card, just like every other Indonesian citizen above 65 years of age, instead of being required to renew his identity card every five years. Moreover, he insists that the government clarify the historic events surrounding the 1965 tragedy so that he is no longer considered unpatriotic and a traitor by society. Lastly, he demands compensation for his life of suffering. To realise these demands, he vows to continue his search for justice:

“I want to keep on fighting—for myself and for others. If I die, I do not want to die without meaning in my room or on my mattress. I want to die in the middle of struggle between my friends. This is my biggest hope. I do not desire anything else.”

Sumimi: A Day at Work Ends in Nearly 10 Years in Prison

Sumimi, daughter of a policeman and homemaker in a family of six, was born in Banyumas in Central Java and schooled in Sukabumi. With an education up to the secondary school level, she mostly held administrative jobs. She began her active role in Gerakan Wanita Indonesia (Gerwani), or the Indonesian Women’s Movement, in 1954 and even became the director of Gerwani’s office in Wonosobo. In 1959, she transferred to the education department of the organisation. Gerwani was an Indonesian-wide women’s movement that concerned itself with giving free education to those who were illiterate and poor. After the coup of Sept. 30, 1965, Gerwani was labelled as a part of the PKI. Through radio and newspaper propaganda, Suharto spread the myth that members of Gerwani had mutilated and performed occultlike sexual rituals with the six generals and a colonel on the night before they were dumped into the well known as Lubang Buaya. This myth was used to instil in the Indonesian population an image of the PKI as something evil and to justify the subsequent cruel treatment of Gerwani’s members.

A Decade of Detention

A normal day in the Gerwani office in Wonosobo was interrupted on Nov. 17, 1965, by a visit by the district military command (KODIM). Tugiman, a KODIM officer, asked for her husband; but when the officer was told that her husband was in Bandung on a family-related visit, he requested Sumimi to come to the KODIM office to give her statement. He did not tell her though why he needed a statement. He assured her that she would be back home when her husband returned from his trip. Nov. 17 though was the first day of her detention, a period of imprisonment that lasted almost a decade.

Although there was no viable grounds for her detention, Sumimi suspected that, since her husband was not available, she was detained instead. Her husband had been the secretary of Barisan Tani Indonesia, or BTI (Indonesian Peasant’s Front), as well as the leading representative of the peasant division of the People’s Labour Association.

Sumimi met her husband in the same detention centre one-and-a-half weeks after her unlawful arrest. That was the last time she ever saw him though. During the following months, she heard he was transferred to Wonosari in Yogyakarta Province where Sumimi’s relative Pati in Wonosari was the last to see him. Sumimi’s husband and thousands of others were rumoured to have been discarded at the infamous Luwung Grubuk, a water drainage pipe that ran directly to the sea. No one was ever shot there but rather was blindfolded with their hands bound with wire, thrown into the luwung (drainage pipe) and then sucked into the ocean.

Sumimi had her own plight to overcome, however. She and 21 others were transferred to Wirogunan in Yogyakarta Province on the back of a truck and then again months later to an all-female detention centre in Bukit Duri in Jakarta where she remained for nearly 10 years. The closest she ever got to a trial or any other process of justice was in the early days of her detention in Wonosobo when the prosecuting attorney of Wonosobo brought her to an orphanage to be interrogated. As an officer of Gerwani, she was capriciously accused of attempting to alter the state ideology of Pancasila that advocates a belief in one God, humanitarianism, nationalism as expressed in the unity of Indonesia, consultative democracy and social justice. She was also accused of taking part in a three-month military training programme in Lubang Buaya, the site where the seven high-ranking military officers had been killed by the so-called Sept. 30 Movement. Sumimi only offered negligible verbal opposition during her interrogation for fear of being tortured or raped or any of the other oft-heard notorious punitive actions.

Moreover, she suffered from being separated from her family. Her children were not allowed to visit her. They were even told repeatedly that their mother had been killed after she was transferred from Wonosobo. It was only good fortune that Sumimi’s cousin worked at the same detention centre in Jakarta and helped inform her family that Sumimi was still alive.

There were no other investigations to support Sumimi’s defence until February 1974 when officials from the World Health Organisation (WHO) probed into the matter and concluded that detainees in Jakarta, like Sumimi, only wanted to return home.

Unfortunately, Sumimi’s experience was not unique. Many others who were only remotely linked to Gerwani faced a similar predicament, reflecting the pervasiveness of injustice following the tragedy of 1965.

Life after Imprisonment

Sumimi’s attempt to return to a life of normalcy became an arduous struggle. She had to deal with the loss of her husband, unemployment and social stigmatisation. She tried to search for her husband in several detention centres but to no avail. Her former civil servant registration number, or Nomor Induk Pegawai (NIP), as well as her job at the government office where she had previously worked before joining Gerwani was taken over by new personnel as though Sumimi did not exist anymore. She, however, never received any monetary damages for the loss of her position years ago, much less any compensation for her detention in prison. She had to set up a food stall by the street to sustain herself and her family, at least temporarily. The support she received from her extended family and fellow church members did alleviate some of her hardships, but life was never the same again.

Sumimi lost a good portion of her life to the obscure and murky politics of the time. Indonesians under Suharto not only had to fear being labelled as Communists because that was not the only excuse for a person to be arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned. As Sumimi’s experience has shown, as long as one was regarded to have questionable political affiliations, they could unjustly suffer for years without any legal structure to protect their rights.

Posted on 2006-01-30

Remembering the Communist Party (PKI) in the post Suharto era.


Under General Suharto, after 1984, every September 30th citizens, particularly schoolchildren, were obliged to watch Arifin C Noor’s propaganda film Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (The Treason of the September 30 Movement and the Indonesian Communist Party), which portrayed the events of 1965, including the murders of six Indonesian Army generals on the night of the 30th, according to the official view, that is, that the murders constituted an attempt by the Communist Party to overthrow the government.

Pengkhianatan G30S PKI

The Executive Director of the Institute for Public Studies (IPS), Fadli Zon, however complains that these days the traditional view of events is being attacked from all sides and ordinary people are becoming confused.

The efforts to change the story of G30S/PKI and to make the PKI look like they were the victims and not the instigators keeps going on and is getting more and more intense.

There were now at least five versions of the events of 1965, he said, some of which blamed the PKI for part involvement in a coup attempt, some exonerated the PKI entirely, and some blamed the CIA and MI6.

Some of these alternative views managed to find their way into school history text books in 2004, which were later banned, and some of them then confiscated and publicly burned, as the authorities attempted to re-assert the primacy of the orthodox view of history.

Fadli said the aim of the PKI was always to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat and they had attempted to do so three times, in 1926, 1948, and then 1965. [1]


Akhyar, a resident of Kanigoro village in Kediri, remembers how on 19th January 1965 thousands of Communist Party members attacked a meeting of the Indonesian Islamic Students association, (PII, Pelajar Islam Indonesia) being held in a mosque in the village. Some of the students were tortured and killed, he said.

Akhyar says however that after the events of September 30th local people had their revenge on the communists, and Kanigoro became a centre of anti-communist activity, with the bodies of murdered communists being buried in a mass grave, today called “Makam Parik”. [2]


Madiun, like Kediri, was once known as a stronghold of the Communist Party, but the deputy mayor of the regency, Gandhi Yunita, said on 1st October, Pancasila Day, that he hoped this stigma had finally been erased.

Gandhi said that in the 1940’s the PKI moved its base from Solo to Madiun and in 1948 staged a rebellion in the town, led by Amir Muso, in an attempt to establish a Peoples’ Republic. In the village of Kresek in September 1948 Gandhi says communists murdered many clerics, policemen, teachers, health workers, and journalists, before their rebellion was crushed by the Siliwangi division of the Army. [3]

Even to this day the people of Madiun have not gotten over the psychological trauma of the PKI’s atrocities.



33 Comments on “G30S PKI”

Pages: [1] 2 »

  1. Andrew Says:
    October 6th, 2007 at 3:52 am
    Millions of people disappeared following the G30S incident – allegedly murdered by the ORBA regime — is that fact or fiction? If that is fiction, then the horrible story of G30S PKI may just be another tale.

    In politics, right or wrong depends on which side you are on.
    Morality takes a backseat. Honesty has a new name.

  2. Sylvester Says:
    October 6th, 2007 at 6:59 am
    Yup Andrew. Indonesia was a battleground for the US/NATO vs China/Soviet Union in the 60s.
    The US won it and with suharto’s help, took many indo natural resources afterwards.
  3. The Righteous Dude Says:
    October 6th, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Under General Suharto, after 1984, every September 30th citizens, particularly schoolchildren, were obliged to watch Arifin C Noor’s propaganda film Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (The Treason of the September 30 Movement and the Indonesian Communist Party), which portrayed the events of 1965, including the murders of six Indonesian Army generals on the night of the 30th, according to the official view, that is, that the murders constituted an attempt by the Communist Party to overthrow the government.

    They also banned “The Year of Living Dangerously”, the 1983 Peter Weir film with Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver:

    IMDB page
    Wikipedia (English)
    (Indonesian, less detail)

    persumably becaused it dared to challenge the official version of history, and to say some less than heroic things about Sukarno and the Indonesian military. It was allowed to be screened at Jakarta International Film Festival in 2000 under President Wahid, and was shown on Metro TV – minus a few scenes – in 2004.

  4. Colson Says:
    October 6th, 2007 at 2:05 pm
    To learn about the truth of 1965 it seems to me to be worthwhile to read the entries of 30.9, 26.9 and 6.9 at

    To come to terms with the crimes against humanity by Suharto and his gang, Indonesia should recognize the facts and should follow the lead of South Africa: the culprits who are still alive, should be tried by some tribunal of reconciliation.

  5. Sputjam Says:
    October 6th, 2007 at 9:21 pm
    Those cold war days.
    US and Soviets/china used remotes in third world country for domination.
    It was a fight between two systems and the battlefield stretched far and wide, from central america to South East asia.
    In Vietnam alone more than a million died, including 50000 american GIs.
    These 2 ideologies are no different from religious ideologies. since the fall of the soviets, it is the islamic ideology that is fighting the US, each convinced their system is better than the other.
    A day will come when all men will see the futility in ideologies. Every person should impose a self discipline to honesty, love and refrain from lewdness, evil and profiteering/greed.
  6. Beni Bevly Says:
    October 9th, 2007 at 1:00 am
    There is another movie shows how 30th September Movement and afterwards happened in Indonesia. The title of the movie is “Shadow Play” and here is the link .
  7. Ross Says:
    October 11th, 2007 at 9:03 pm
    Sputjam is surely wrong to equate democracy with other ideologies, as if they are commercial brands of toothbrush, equally useful.
    Communism, like its sister Nazism, was a homicidal dementia, which still has. sadly, many defenders even outside the remaining slave states where it holds sway. You can spot them by their almost invariable waffling when asked to condemn the marxist evil, always rubbishing on about ’social progress’ ( i.e. an irreligious anti-national ruling class replacing either free elections or a religious and patriotic ruling class), or often they give themselves away with open lies about Cuba’s great health services – which are of course reserved for Castor’s clique and foreign freedom-haters like Michael Moore.
    As for Islamist ideology, not to be confused with Islam as a religion, then we see what it means to impose on all nations – death to adulterers apostates, brutal floggings of kids and working men who dare to cuddle lovers or play cards, and banning mixed marriages.
    Let’s not kid ourselves. America’s way of life, and the West’s in general, has in the past been infinitely superior to any other system, and those non-West lands that have adopted it, South Korea, Free China, Japan, are much better off than any of their neighbours.
    As the Indonesians mentioned above clearly know, the PKI was a malignant cancer, just as any Communist party is, a current example being that in little Nepal. There the mainstream parties made the grave error of treating reds as normal politicians, despite their long record of terrorism. Now those Nepalese reds have realised they won’t win elections, so they have pulled out of the deal.
    They should be taken on and taken out. Like the PKI, who were excised and a good thing too.
  8. Oigal Says:
    October 13th, 2007 at 1:38 pm
    Still at it hey Ross,you blood thirsty old facist! Cute words “who were excised and a good thing too” as if we are talking about like banning a political party or something. Too bad they also mean that hundreds of thousands of barely literate, village people were slaughtered by roving gangs of thugs and their children’s children are still being harrassed today (of course, many of those slaughtered weren’t even “token” communists).

    Tell us Ross how many women and children had to die before the end didn’t justify the means anymore.

    As for Nepal ..yea far better they revert to the old Monarchy, dang Serf’s getting above their station. Or are you really going to pretend that Nepal was/is a just and fair democracy?

  9. Sputjam Says:
    October 15th, 2007 at 10:20 pm
    I did not condemn democracy. If US is referred to, it meant capitalism. China embraced capitalism before England was formed, never mind the US.
    Capitalism flourished when a monetary unit was formed, making things easier to trade.
    Democracy has its flaws. In the US, the native indians were denied the right to vote until too late.
    If the voice of the majority is upheld, then what do the minorities do when they are subjected to unfair practices, such as in malaysia and singapore, or even in indonesia?
    In a multiracial settings, I think the vote of the majority will marginalised the minorities. Democracy works in a single ethnic entity, not in multiracial settings.Much like to european union, only by consensus will the minority voices be heard.
    The countries Ross mentioned as being successful have also eliminated religion from the government, as all government and mankind should, using common sense to promote good governance and a civil and caring society, and keeping the priests and dictators from enslaving the masses.
  10. Ross Says:
    October 17th, 2007 at 10:48 pm
    Well, ‘bloodthirsty old fascist’ (get your spelling right) is a step up from ‘frog, goose and dinsaur,’ as I was previously abused. I guess moving into political terminology from zoological is progress of sorts.
    Turning to serious commentators, Sputjam, I apologise if I misunderstood your views on America, and gladly accept your assurance that you believe in democracy.
    Whilst the free parts of Korea and China, and also Japan have no state-established churches or faiths, they do have freedom of religion and I rather think they operate in accordance with the religous/moral beliefs of the bulk of their citizens (though I am open to correction on this -no expert on Korean religion, among other things)
    As you say, the E.U. is incompatible with democracy, which Brits sense, and know from experience, hence their hostility towards it. ASEAN nations should beware siggestions that they imitate the Brussels Empire.
    Returning to the lunatic lefty Ogle…
    Nepalese politics may be worth arguing about, maybe, but the point I made was that the reds entered into a deal and left when they faced exposure to democratic elections. The other parties were, and are, unwilling to abolish the monarchy, wishing to transform their little nation into a constitutional kingdom, like Japan or Malaysia, which may not be perfect but are infinitely better and more free than any of Ogle’s pet tyrannies in Vietnam or Laos or Red China, which is what his ‘innocent’ PKI would have imposed on Indonesia. Yes, there were Indonesian peasants killed who shouldn’t have been, because they were conned by communist propaganda into PKI fronts. But the ‘intelligentsia’ knew very well what horrors lay in store if Adit and his comrades took power -why cry for them?
    ‘Bloodthirsty’ – you fellow-travellers never give up ignoring or making excuses (making omellettes, breaking eggs, etc) for the large and small holocausts in Thirties Ukraine and elsewhere or the Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald concentration camps (and I refer to the ones re-opened by Ogle’s Soviet ‘liberators’ in 1945 after the nazis had been evicted.)
  11. Oigal Says:
    October 18th, 2007 at 10:50 am
    It is simply impossible you isn’t Ross. We have spoken about mis-direction and mis quoting before its dishonest and really a sad portrayal of a pint of view.

    Now you have managed to jump around the globe and the era, but avoided the point ‘How many of those Indonesian peasants (such a yesterday term) had to be killed before the end did not justify the means anymore, a 100,000, 200,000 a million”?

    Ogle’s pet tyrannies in Vietnam or Laos or Red China, or

    his ‘innocent’ PKI

    When did I say PKI was innocent??

    Could there be a sillier statements. Just because someone does not think its ok write off millions of people to support a far right tyranny does not make then a far leftist nor a communist.

    Here’s a tip Roscoe, just because some one finds your views on the world and your disregard of human life repugnant does not make them a leftist.

  12. Ross Says:
    October 18th, 2007 at 5:30 pm
    Poor Wee Robbie Ogle!
    I offer riposte to his ignorant observation on Nepal and he flies off the handle, waggling his ‘Third Grade Debater’s Handbook’ and weeping over my sins of ‘misdirection.’ Mind you, his reference to a ‘pint of view’ may indicate a less than sober appraisal of other people’s opinions.

    Actually, this is a free forum and debate may go where it pleases, which makes its site much more interesting, but in any event, Oggly’s narrow focus is inherently misplaced, especially from a fellow-travelling lefty. (he is surely no righty!) because the marxist virus is a worldwide menace, and has been around for a long time. If we fail to put its Indonesian variant in a broad geo-political and historical context, we risk forgetting the nature and extent of its evil.
    Check your TGDH ,Oggle, and seek help for your problem of ‘repetition.’ I said already that it was not right that unlettered peasants should have been murdered. I see no need to repeat it again.
    Pity you don’t give a toss about the unlettered peasants murdered by Mao, Bela Kun, your dear old Uncle Joe and the others in your pantheon of dieties, not least the Kim Dynasty in North Korea, so admired by the PKI’s Aidit, who got what he deserved. Though of course your pink oggling heart is doubtless bleeding for him still.

  13. Janma Says:
    October 18th, 2007 at 9:41 pm
    Ross, i think the communist threat is over… you can relax now…. the world has moved on.

    Remember two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do.

  14. Achmad Sudarsono Says:
    October 18th, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    Oigal’s not a lefty. Seriously. Even if he was, the chardonnay socialists weren’t great friends of Mao once they found out what he really did.

    More to the point: the reds debate is over, pal. No-one, including the reds think Marxist-Leninism is a good way to run an economy anymore. You’re about 40 years out of date.

    In terms of Indonesia, history’s being re-written because the G30-S-PKI as depicted in the movie was just bullshit. The truth is pretty ugly for the left. Peasants killed peasants, often over little more than an extra rice field they’d been arguing about for generations or because some neighbor got to marry the prettiest girl.

    But we just don’t know what drove the whole thing. The answers are lost in the shadows of 1965. We can, however, find them, through the light of scholarship and debate. But yammering away at cobwebbed arguments, my friend, isn’t helping anything, anyone, and is no credit to the memory of those lost in the night.

  15. Sam Says:
    October 18th, 2007 at 11:30 pm
    Has this Ross been like down a well for the past two decades?

    I’d like to give him a news flash:

    It’s 2007.

    The Soviet Union no longer exists.

    China is only really communist in name only.

    Vietnam is opening up for trade.

    Castro is literally on his last legs and will die soon as will communism on that crumbling island.

    North Korea is an internationally recognized basket case which no country would like to emulate.

    No one gives a shit about Nepal.

    Better Ross finds some contemporary things to fear like radical Islam; for example.

  16. Ross Says:
    October 19th, 2007 at 5:40 pm
    Well, three critics, but more articulate and infinitely less infantile than Ogle.
    Okay, Sam, so you think communism is a dead duck. I wish it were truly plucked but if you look at Latin America, Chavez is coercing Venezuela down the Castro road to tyranny, and others may be close behind. Communism of course is economic garbage, but the despotic political core holds firm in all CP-run countries. Prisons for dissenters, no free unions, no opposition press or parties -it hasn’t changed essentially, still denies its subjects what we often take for granted.
    Ogle doesn’t care about that, merely whines about the past, eager to have the PKI rats rehabilitated- that’s why I don’t let it drop, because Ogle’s type loves to paint vermin like the PKI as some kind of agrarian reformers- not so. They were vicious totalitarian hypocrites, like all CPs everywhere.
    And yes, I see the menace of Islamist fanatics. But most everyone does, whereas uninformed people might think PKI deserved sympathy, if Comrade Ogleski were to have his white-washing way.
    Achmad, and Jamma, you are too quick to count them out. There were thousands, millions of marxists around until the Berlin Wall fell- did they all just disintegrate? Universities were churning them out through the 60s and 70s and now those grads are the profs and professionals – of course some grew up, but a lot still evince every sign of ideological infection. Cultural marxist power-grabs would make a nice next topic!
  17. Achmad Sudarsono Says:
    October 20th, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    A better effort. And yes, since the Berlin wall fell, it’s been possible to be an intellectual Marxist. But as a way to run a society, it’s been discredited for a long, long time. Chavez’s antics are more populism than Marxism, who very few people have actually read, including you, my friend.

    Marx’s analysis of globalization, written 150 years ago was prophetic, quoted by the likes of arch-liberal Thomas Friedman in the World Is Flat just last year. Modern neoclassical economics hasn’t matched his analysis of recession and depression. Above all, it’s very unlikely the red-guard thugs of the PKI would have understood it.

    Pal, Oigal ain’t a communist. He ain’t. Oigal’s a gentleman skeptic and free thinker who’s sometimes conservative, sometimes liberal but never communist.

    We don’t know what happened in 1965. The CIA was probably involved. Suharto probably re-wrote history. The PKI probably couldn’t been as bad. Alot of neighbours killed neighbours for sure. We just don’t know. The answers are lost in the night, but as mentioned previously, squeezing the episode into cold war rhetoric won’t shed any light or uncover the lost history.

  18. Achmad Sudarsono Says:
    October 20th, 2007 at 12:19 pm
    Correction: above should’ve read PKI probably would’ve been as bad, or killed as many people.
  19. Pakmantri Says:
    October 20th, 2007 at 2:00 pm
    Ha ha ha ………….. lol, rotf :-).

    I could not believe I am cheering for pak Achmad Sudarsono!!! Go Achmad go …… -)


  20. Oigal Says:
    October 21st, 2007 at 1:05 pm
    Truely scary, AS on my side, tis but weird world!

    Now back to our neocon Ross. Sorry my spelling errors annoy you, wait …no I am not. Lucky I used “pint” instead of word litre as it is about 30 years to recent for you Rip Van Winkle.

    the marxist virus is a worldwide menace

    straight from the Salem Witch Trials in

    Actually what is a greater menace, is fanatics like you who believe its ok to slaughter thousands because they don’t support those “ism” that those in power do

    I do admire your squirming although how you equate todays Nepal into (the)

    Indonesian variant in a broad geo-political and historical context

    is feat that even David Blaine would be proud of. By the way the “pint” still stands if you are going to use Nepal as a example fo the red menace you really should be prepared to defend its alternative not duck away to Japan. Here’s a tip, stick with the Koreas, they make a far better (albeit hardly relevent as Nth Korea is a sick abberation of the norm) case for your dated debate.

    You are of course correct that Communism leads to

    Prisons for dissenters, no free unions, no opposition press or parties -it hasn’t changed essentially, still denies its subjects what we often take for granted.  

    how is that different from the world you so desire, you have already stated that it was only a “shame” that a few peasants got slaughtered in 1965. In fact could you not say the same existed in Indonesia after the PKI was routed and those couple of hundred thousand peasants were killed. “Prisons for dissenters, no free unions, no opposition press or parties” sounds awfully post 65 Indonesia to me or are you going to quote the free press of Nepal to me. Do we really want to go into all the other despots raised and supported in the fight against the red menace. If you travel too far to the left or right the results are the same ..always the same.


    Been a bit busy today do feel free to spell check if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  21. Ross Says:
    October 21st, 2007 at 7:15 pm
    ‘few people have actually read…including you my friend..’ Achmad, you may have great self-perceived qualities but being a dukun ain’t one of them. Please don’t assume too much in your attempt at intellectual machtergreifung.
    As a wise doctor studies disease, of course I studied marxism, to postgraduate level, though the mention of higher education will presumably provoke a resentful jibe from the Ogglet, who in turn obviously ain’t very well-travelled, as he’d know that pints are alive and well in the Mother Country.
    The comparison with Nepal today and Indonesia pre-1965 is pretty obvious, collaboration in coalitions as the PKi had been operating under Sukarno, not that far different from the pretence of fair play and democratic discussion in Nepal, until the Reds sussed they were on a loser if free elections were held. Now they are doing their best to scupper things.
    Poor Ogglet can’t get his head round the fact that we can talk to each other as liberals, conservatives, social democrats – but communists are a breed apart. Yes. they can see the light, become good citizens, but until that happens, they should be beyond the pale. Otherwise you just bring up another generation of gullible Ogglets who think reds are like normal folk. And whose literacy is such that they interpret ‘it’s a shame’ as ‘it’s okay’,
    Sorry Achmad, I am prepared to listen to your arguments but not accept that such a sad little rude-boy as the Ogglet qualifies as a ‘gentleman.’ You degrade the word by bracketing it with his ‘name.’
  22. Achmad Sudarsono Says:
    October 21st, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    OK. Reading is different from understanding. Let’s not get waylaid into an arcane debate about what Marx really meant, but the fact is most people in academia don’t have either the technical knowledge or concentration to get through his economic arguments, which actually drew heavily on Adam Smith, believe it or not. But let’s take you on your word.

    As a humble ukele player and pencak silat teacher, I don’t know what machtergreifung. means. Please explain.

    Let’s cut to the chase:

    Why are you picking on Oigal ? He’s really a pretty fair-minded and decent chap and seriously, is no communist.

    Why are you whipping a dead horse (communism) ?

  23. Oigal Says:
    October 22nd, 2007 at 10:32 am
    Ross makes a fine spokesman for the NEW (OLD?) Order, you don’t agree with my repression and summary imprisionments etc etc ergo you must be a far left communist!

    Edgar Hoover..Where are you??

  24. Oigal Says:
    October 22nd, 2007 at 10:34 am
    Oh…and Ross…temper temper now..
  25. Ross Says:
    October 22nd, 2007 at 8:46 pm
    Seriously, Achmad, I do not pick on people, unless they are very infantile people who mix into adult debate. They should be seen and not heard if they cannot hold a steady discussion without the sort of tantrums evinced in the post just above this.
    I do not let temper dictate my posts, but type them equably, addressing civilised critics in a civilised manner. However, I reserve the right to make exceptions of little reds like Ogglet, who first made my acquaintance with the greeting ’sac of pus’ in another thread. That was his sophisticated analysis of a theory supported by many historians, notably the Dutchman Dake, and which accords with all that’s known of communist practice everywhere.
    I must express surprise at your claim that he is not a commie, or fellow-traveller, but then, as you say, ‘reading is different from understanding.’ I shall take you at your word also, and assume you read all his gunk yet did not see the cultural marxist undercurrents. (like his last throwaway phrase on J. Edgar Hoover- types like Ogglet usually parrot the Comintern smear about Hoover, regardless of the fact it was a figment of some NKVD agents’s imagination.)
  26. Achmad Sudarsono Says:
    October 22nd, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    Well, if you want get obsessed with a debate that’s over for the time being go ahead. No one will stop you. But Oigal works for some sort of mining, oil and gas company, in a sector which at the moment is run on very capitalist principles, so unless he’s a well-pumper or minesite satpam, which I doubt, he’s probably in favour of the system that rewards him well – capitalism.

  27. Sputjam Says:
    October 22nd, 2007 at 11:00 pm
    Communism activities in asia was backed by china. It was succesful in vietnam, as it has a very sizeable chinese population, and most chinese merely folllow the ideology of the motherland.
    In Malaysia, the radio broadcast of communist party of Malaya was from beijing. Even their leaders reside there, letting the peasant army of mostly chinese immigrants do all the fighting.
    I am not sure who the main backers of PKI are. But sukarno and zhou-En-lai were bossum buddies. During their time, the non-aligned movement were in their hands. I heard, after the downfall of PKI, millions of migrant chinese communities in indonesia either abandoned or fled to neighbouring countries or returned to china if they managed to escape persecution. There are chinese in china who still have the ability to speak bahasa indonesia.
    Communism did not get much support in the phillipines and thailand, probably because the chinese communities there fled communism.
  28. Oigal Says:
    October 23rd, 2007 at 9:37 am
    Ross, However outdated and silly your “pints” may be, it’s not nice to tell “big fat porkies” in order to belittle someone.

    “Ogglet, who first made my acquaintance with the greeting ’sac of pus’ in another thread.”

    Naughty man what was actually said was

    Does anyone with an ounce of education and free thought actually believe that crock of pus anymore. Belly laughs all round, except for the hundreds of thousands who were slaughtered to satisfy a certain someone’s lust for power of course.

    Tad different context, most would agree. Anyway you have become boring again till next time

    Wait thats not fair..not totally boring

    parrot the Comintern smear about Hoover, regardless of the fact it was a figment of some NKVD agents’s imagination

    Is an absolute classic which stands tall on its own paraniod and delusional merits.. Seriously well done.

  29. Ross Says:
    October 23rd, 2007 at 7:58 pm
    Here he goes again, accusing his antagonist of lying because I used the word sac instead of crock. They are both containers, and he used the phrase to describe his opponent’s explanation of what happened in 1965. By his own age-ist account, he was probably not born then and so should read other people’s books (besides the Jakarta Post’s pin-up lefty authors)who have something useful to say.

    Achmad, many’s the red who battens on capitalist bucks to feed his face while subverting the system that feeds him.
    But, now, friends and comrades, far from being obsessed, I am bored witless with Ogletski’s ranting fury, and until there is a new and more interesting thread, I propose to bow out, leaving the minerals satpam/commissar to froth about delusions whilst he swallows red propaganda whole. Of course the Soviet Secret Services never smeared anybody, Ogski, they were just nice guys who enjoyed chess and torture. Bleat on, Og, or read the Venona Papers, or at least something other than the Jakarta Post’s poster-child authors.

  30. Oigal Says:
    October 24th, 2007 at 7:13 pm
    laugh, lots of abuse but nothing of interest Mr Hoover, don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out. However, I do apologise for using crock of pus to describe your sad version of history, it was way too kind.

Pages: [1] 2 »


1 Comment

  1. Tim said,

    Nice article… thanks for sharing.. keep it up ^^

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