This is a video about the fall of the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia in 1998.
By John Braddock:
Historian says US backed “efficacious terror” in 1965 Indonesian massacre
7 July 2009
The United States and British governments, supported by Australia, were deeply complicit in the murder of more than half a million alleged communist sympathisers in the wake of the 1965 Indonesian coup, a prominent historian told an international conference in Singapore last month.
Brad Simpson, Assistant Professor of History and International Studies at Princeton University and author of “Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and US-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968”, said the US and British governments did “everything in their power” to ensure that the Indonesian army would carry out the mass killings.
The conference, entitled “The 1965-1966 Indonesian Killings Revisited”, held at the National University of Singapore from June 17-19, was a rare forum on the subject. The event, co-hosted by the university, the Asia Research Institute and the Australian Research Council, involved some 30 scholars from around the world.
Within Indonesia, the history of the political slaughter carried out between October and December 1965 has been suppressed for decades. The massacre of at least 500,000 people, the jailing without trial of about a million others and the widespread use of torture and rape, ranks as one of the great crimes of the twentieth century.
Despite the official secrecy surrounding the events, the consequences still reverberate within the country’s social and political life. The current ruling elite can trace its history back to the 1965 events. President Susil Bambang Yudhoyono, for instance, is a former general while his father-in-law, Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, was an Australian-trained officer who led the killings in Central Java.
No such conference could be held in Indonesia and most of the participants were non-Indonesian. Since the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998, tentative attempts to examine the coup have foundered on opposition from the military. A truth and reconciliation commission set up by parliament never got off the ground and the Constitutional Court has now ruled it unlawful. School textbooks reflect the military propaganda, which maintains that the killings were part of a “patriotic campaign” against communism. Marxism remains officially proscribed.
The Age interviewed two elderly survivors of the massacre, Sumini and Anwar Umar, who maintain a weekly vigil across the road from the president’s offices in Jakarta. Sumini, a former kindergarten teacher was arrested, tortured and imprisoned for ten years for being a member of Gerwani, a women’s movement linked with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). Anwar, who had been secretary-general of a civil servants union, spent 12 years in prison and was also tortured. Even after their eventual release, their identity papers were marked to show they were former political prisoners and they were unable to work.