Report from East Java

Mar 28th, 2011, in Featured, IM Posts, by

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164 Comments on “Report from East Java”

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  1. avatar Oigal says:
    April 12th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Yeah you could if you were a half-wit.

    Damn.. I give up.. lanced by the razor wit of the Rose…

    Psst…Its called Indonesia Matters…

  2. avatar Steve says:
    April 12th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    (Just as a matter of interest and a difficult concept I know, just because someone does not subscribe to mass murder does not automatically make him/her a leftist.)

    As a case in point; I do not subscribe to mass murder and are opposed to the far left. I really think you need to look up the numbers murdered by the ideology your so shrill in defending. You will then see how much worse things could have been in Indonesia.

    I doubt that prior to 1965, the Indonesians were a peaceful bunch of vegan rice farmers either. You really need to get a grip. No one is defending the killing and suffering. But some times we are forced to defend ourselves. So that folks like you have the luxury of dissecting those actions after the event.

  3. avatar ET says:
    April 12th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Odinius

    The reasons are complex, and much of it comes down to coercion. In a peaceful situation, few would consider murder. But what about a situation in which not participating signals “disloyalty?” When one’s own life appears to be at stake, or potentially at stake? These are the social psychological mechanisms behind genocide, and unfortunately, it’s not as uncommon or anathema as we might like to think…

    For sure the reasons are complex. That much comes down to coercion I doubt. If coercion was the main factor there would have been more resistance against participation or at least more signs of remorse or blame-shifting afterwards. There must be other important psychosocial elements at play. I’m not saying that I have the answer but if we want to avoid the recurrence of such crimes against humanity our academics should better start to unravel the psychodynamics behind these mass atrocities instead of politicizing the matter and blacksheeping one group or the other.
    But I agree that wounds have to be healed and that in the case of Indonesia a taskforce charged with national reconciliation is long overdue. Unless of course it is true that 98% of its population just don’t give a shit, which after all the years I’ve spent here I rather tend to believe.

  4. avatar Oigal says:
    April 12th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    But I agree that wounds have to be healed and that in the case of Indonesia a taskforce charged with national reconciliation is long overdue.

    ET, Not likely to happen as the majority of those with their dirty hands on the trigger now are very very senior people in the Establishment. Who could forget the lunacy where we nearly (and still may) have President who cannot travel outside of the country for fear of arrest for past deeds.

  5. avatar Odinius says:
    April 12th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    ET said:

    For sure the reasons are complex. That much comes down to coercion I doubt. If coercion was the main factor there would have been more resistance against participation or at least more signs of remorse or blame-shifting afterwards. There must be other important psychosocial elements at play. I’m not saying that I have the answer but if we want to avoid the recurrence of such crimes against humanity our academics should better start to unravel the psychodynamics behind these mass atrocities instead of politicizing the matter and blacksheeping one group or the other.

    There’s actually tons of good literature on genocide and mass murder already. Kiernan, Valentino, Chirot and McCauley have all written great comparative books, plus there’s tons of edited volumes and case studies worth reading.

    Certain things always stand out: genocides are always well-planned and well-organized, and never spontaneous; genocides occur in all parts of the world, and from all sorts of ideologies; genocides are mass participatory, and mass participation takes “preparation” of killers for what is essentially an unnatural act; genocides usually, though not always, involve coercing many who don’t want to participate into committing acts of violence so as many people share the guilt as possible, and have as powerful an incentive as possible to shove it under the rug after it’s over.

  6. avatar Lairedion says:
    April 13th, 2011 at 12:19 am

    timdog

    The issue is still kept toxic today through education.

    They killed some men in Jakarta and threw them down a hole and they were going to kill the president because they didn’t believe in god but then the army had a fight with them because the army does believe in god and now the PKI “is dead…

    Oh yes, exactly the way I remember my “pendidikan moral pancasila” lessons.

    If this is still part of education BB won’t have to worry about his Indonesian children being taught properly.

  7. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 13th, 2011 at 5:12 am

    One would imagine that if the communist world was indeed the hellhole we have always been told it was those who suffered under those regimes would have made sure that communism could not rear its head again for generations. But that is not what seems to have happened:

    the most successful successor Communist party in Central-Eastern Europe is the Hungarian Socialist party (MSZP). The MSZP became the first successful Communist party to transform itself into a post- Communist European center-left party by drawing on the ideological flexibility of the Janos Kadar regime (1956e1989) and the large body of pro-reform intellectuals within the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party. These intellectuals and cadres provided the MSZP with the organizational skills, political expertise and intellectual resources to re-build a center-left successor party. With limited competition on the left the MSZP has dominated Hungary’s political spectrum.

    and:

    While hard-line successor Communist parties are in decline in the former USSR, they remain resilient in the Czech Republic and are in the ascendency in Germany. In addition to the Czech Republic, Germany also has a popular hard-line successor Communist party. Die Linke (The Left), was formed in 2007 through a merger of the Party of Democratic Socialism (the successor party to the Socialist Unity Party that ruled the GDR from 1949 to 1990) and Labor and Social Justice e The Electoral Alternative (WASG), a splinter group from the German Social Democrats (SPD). Die Linke is the third largest political party in Germany in terms of members and the fourth largest party in the Bundestag. With an ideology that lies to the left of the SPD and is hostile to NATO and EU membership, it is a threat to the SPD’s post- war domination of the left-wing of the German political spectrum.

    See:

    http://www.taraskuzio.net/Comparative%20Politics_files/Comparative.pdf

    . While the founding elections of 1990 were by and large electoral disasters for ex-communist parties, the electoral returns of the second round of national elections in post communist states (1992–1995) surprised many analysts: the renamed and “reformed” communist parties staged a dramatic come- back in national and state elections across the former communist world.

    and

    Mangott argues that the rapid return of communist parties to positions of power could result in what he calls a “distorted interpretation of the communist past” (Mangott, 1995, p. 14). In

    Whose interpretation?

    http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~dziblatt/publications2/hungary.pdf

    I will be absent for today.

  8. avatar timdog says:
    April 13th, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Lairedion,

    It was a bleak, bleak moment (and not, you “taste of their own medicine” boys, because of my left-wing shroud-waving sympathies for dead farmers). This is a super-bright kid – sharp, enquiring, imaginative, doing well at school. And not, I should stress, from the stratospheric international-schools-Singaporean-healthcare echelons, but from a sort of traditional lower-to-middle middle class extended family; in short, not a candidate for bubble or brain drain, but someone who will grow up as a working part of Indonesia. Like tens of millions of others. And one who gives you plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
    And then – bang! – you run into that and realise what kids like that are up against: the bluntness, the crudity, the sheer banality of it, handed down from above and destined to foster a doltish abdication of intellect. F*cking misery-making.

    And that’s before you consider the specifics of this particular example: Who were the PKI? They were people who didn’t believe in god.
    You, of course, understand the mountain of problems with that

  9. avatar Stevo says:
    April 13th, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Arie Brand, whats the bet if I was to so much as question the Jewish holocaust you would be among the first to start foaming and frothing in indignation? Yet here you are dismissing the deaths of over a 100 million people.

    I am well aware that the great democratic, capitalist dream has evaded many people and they are actually worse off now. However the destruction wrought by communist regimes will take more than a generation to repair, both psychologically and economically. I consider the people who lived in those places to be victims of the communists, as opposed to being “the communists” themselves.

    But of course facts do not hold much sway in issues of faith or ideology, so I am probably wasting my breath.

  10. avatar Berlian Biru says:
    April 13th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I see that the myth of the communists all being poor, illiterate farmers simply won’t die on this forum.

    I also note no one can address why Vietnam and China are never held to the same account for their slaughter and genocide compared to Indonesia. Why travel guides to Vietnam never feel the need to mention Ho Chi Minh’s atrocities or why breathless reports in the BBC about the rise of China never harp on about the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward and the concommitant slaughters of those events in the same way that 1965 will always be brought up ad nauseum when discussing Indonesia.

    Presumably because mass murder is ok when communists do it and let’s face it mass murder and communism is synonymous.

  11. avatar Berlian Biru says:
    April 13th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    One other thing timdog, in your emoting about the alleged lack of knowledge of the 9 year old (and one wonders precisely what level of understanding about complex political events of half a century ago little girls in the UK or the US are expected to have), you failed to answer the question.

    The girl described communists as godless men who indulge in mass murder.

    What part of that is factually inaccurate?

  12. avatar Oigal says:
    April 13th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I see that the myth of the communists all being poor, illiterate farmers simply won’t die on this forum.

    No because the sarcastic nonsense that 50,000 – 500,000 (pick a number that makes you feel comfortable as a suitable dose of medicine) rural Indonesians were having tea and crumpets on a daily basis with Mao Tse Tung and Kim Il Sung just doesn’t fly.
    Yes the PKI were very organized and have a lot of support in various factions of the government and yup in the Air Force as you pointed out. However, how that translates justification into the mass murder of village whereyoukickadog at is beyond most rational people. To make the period sound like a simple purge of a few thousand government officials is simply revisionist history of the worst kind or is perhaps yet again the inability to see beyond Jakarta.

    The girl described communists as godless men who indulge in mass murder.

    What part of that is factually inaccurate?

    What part is not simplistic jingoism nonsense?

    Lastly, “Indonesia Matters” tends to drive the comment focus for most

  13. avatar Oigal says:
    April 13th, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Presumably because mass murder is ok when communists do it and let’s face it mass murder and communism is synonymous.

    As matter of instead just to help out here, if defence of the godless hordes what level of mass murder is ok then?

    why one side is called mass murder and the other other is justifiable defence, from here I don’t see any difference hundreds of thousands of people are slaughtered

  14. avatar timdog says:
    April 13th, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I heard an interesting BBC programme the other day about the rise, not of China, but of Indonesia (it’ll still be there on Radio 4 Listen Again on the website, I think, if you’re interested).

    It didn’t mention:

    a) Human rights issues in Indonesia’s peripheries and past
    b) The geographical challenges of fostering a genuine “rise”
    c) The potential challenge of political and social Islamism
    d) The great, thorny, unmentionable issue of – ahem – “ethnicity” in business in Indonesia.
    e) And it sure as sh*t didn’t mention the mass slaughter of 65-66

    I just had a quick glance in the Rough Guide to Vietnam. The “history” chapters of these books are always a little on the “lite” side, but there’s a bunch of stuff about the “re-education camps”, and a big boxed text about the “boat people” and precisely why they wanted to leave.

    And to suggest that the horrors of the “cultural revolution” are somehow ignored, unknown, apologised for and forgotten (especially by bed-wetting “Free Tibet” campaigners), while everyone is always harping on about what happened in Indonesia (where??) in 1965-66 (when??) is monumentally absurd.

    You feebly talk of “double standards”, claiming an alleged apathy to horrors committed by comunists as a defence of your active apologia for the mass slaughter of poor, uneducated rural people in Indonesia in 65-66 (and that’s not a defence, by the way; it’s not even a straw man; it’s a nothing, a puff of air), but your own fixation, your own predelictions seem to be warping your view of things to the point of paranoia.

    As I said before, your interventions on this forum are usually great, sharp and cutting, and often require no follow up. But the very fact that you’ve been flailing ever deeper into shrillness here, suggests that you’re not doing so well this time, not least seeing as one of your principal props now seems to be “You lot don’t care about the horrible things the Chinese did in the cultural revolution! You hypocrites!”
    To which the response would be, “Um … I think you need to go and have a little lie down BB…”

    Oigal’s already said it on your thing about just who the majority of people killed in 65-66 were.
    And if you think that “what happened in 65-66 was this: the PKI were people who didn’t believe in god. So the army – who do believe in god – killed them. Yay! Indonesiaaaaaa!” is an unproblematic way to indoctrinate your children (try disregarding the specific issue in this case), then good luck to you.

  15. avatar Stevo says:
    April 13th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Wow the closet commies are invading and displaying the usual high handed mentality common to the breed.

    Is it really that hard to grasp the very simple concept that the events of the 60′s, whilst tragic, were a lesser evil than what a communist regime would have inflicted?

    Clearly this simple point is lost on some and I am unsure how to dumb it down further.

    AB has demonstrated a great ability at cut and pasting out of context content from selected sources (Your Mum must be proud). How about cut and pasting some stuff about the holocaust from such respected sources as Stormfront and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

    It appears to me that both sides actually give a shit what happens to people. I am not convinced any of the posters here are about to run around mass shooting rice farmers because they wanted a better life.

  16. avatar Oigal says:
    April 13th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Rossy, sorry Steve..

    A couple of quick questions

    Is it really that hard to grasp the very simple concept that the events of the 60?s, whilst tragic, were a lesser evil than what a communist regime would have inflicted?

    How does being against mass murder by anyone make someone a communist? Only in your curious world could that ring true.

    A what number does the lessor evil(e.g 50,000 – 500,000) become an equal evil?

    What would it take for someone like you to acknowledge what happened in 65 had lot more to it that knocking off 1/2 dozen reds?

    At what cost to Indonesia was the rise to power of the military and their robber baron friends?

    pasting out of context content from selected sources (Your Mum must be proud). How about cut and pasting some stuff about the holocaust from such respected sources as Stormfront and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadineja

    Ok, Ross you are falling off the planet again, Out of Context???? Are you honestly for real? We are talking communism and Indonesia 1965, somehow on the magical mystery wagon of righteous rants we are now in Iran. Oh well, I guess we had to slip in them pesky Muslims in some place. Curious, if you wanted to stay in context, why didn’t you mention the religious aspect to the slaughters. Oh wait, you did, all them villagers hated God so we kills em. Deep very deep…

    Now if we can just get those homosexuals, and what was the term? Ah, that’s right

    filthy wetbacks

    and a black president into the conversation then we can have ourselves a right royal lynching in the name of freedom and democracy because no price is too much to pay as long as it’s someone else doing the paying.

    Oh and we have discussed this before numpty. East Timor for instance, lost 20% of its population saving it from communism (sic), your lessor evil sounds pretty dodgy to me.

  17. avatar madrotter says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 1:46 am

    speaking about poor farmers by the way:

    http://kulonprogotolaktambangbesi.wordpress.com/english-text/

    jakarta post and jakarta globe are NOT reporting about this….

  18. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Arie Brand, whats the bet if I was to so much as question the Jewish holocaust you would be among the first to start foaming and frothing in indignation? Yet here you are dismissing the deaths of over a 100 million people.

    Steve, how can pointing to the electoral success in some countries of successor communist parties lead to that conclusion? I wouldn’t dream of denying those millions of deaths, just as I wouldn’t dream of denying the holocaust (though protesting against the political use that is made of it today in some quarters) or the Indonesian massacre.

    I thought it useful however to point out that ‘communism’ was apparently differently experienced in different countries, an appropriate point to make to all you crystal ball gazers who apparently know exactly what would have happened to Indonesia if the PKI had not been wiped out.

  19. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:35 am

    We don’t know how Indonesia would have fared if the massacre had not taken place. But we are well informed about the intimidation and terror with which the Suharto regime managed to establish itself. Apart from those murdered and imprisoned the main victims of this were the relatives of these people.

    They were robbed of their homes and their land if they had any.They couldn’t get a job. Their children were not allowed to attend schools. They were forced to a wandering and begging existence.

    A much larger group was victimised by the introduction of the “surat bersih” testifying that one wasn’t involved in the ‘communist coup’ (the intra-army side of it was never mentioned).The onus on proving this was put on the accused rather than on the accusers. People needed this document to get a job, to travel, to get married, to attend a university or send their kids to school. The ‘suspects’ were made social pariahs because the intimidation and terror was such that people avoided all contact with them from fear to be drawn into this group themselves.Thus millions of people were condemned to a life of misery.

    The bloodletting didn’t stop either. In the years 1967-68 the Dayak population of West Borneo was incited by the regional soldiery to turn on the Chinese who were suspected of colluding with ex-military guerilla fighters in the jungle who had turned against the regime.

    Then there was a purge in East Java, in Blitar, where PKI sympathisers had an underground network.The number of victims here is estimated to have been 2,000.

    The most well known bloodbath (most well known because also protestant and catholic priests were among the victims) was that in Purwodadi in Middle Java were between 2,000 and 3,000 people were killed. Apparently ammunition was spared here by the use of iron bars.

    The Indonesian record in East Timor and Papua is better known, though not well known enough.

  20. avatar Stevo says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Oigal, you have reminded us all a number of times that this is about Indonesia matters. Then proceed to variously introduce themes such as Holocaust denial, Wet Backs [sic], Homosexuals, something about a black president and so on.

    I see that you to have the arcane skill of cut-and-paste. Perhaps you can use it to show your evidence for the following comment: “How does being against mass murder by anyone make someone a communist? Only in your curious world could that ring true.”

    I seem to recall having made a number of comments to the contrary. Its certainly far removed from my actual thinking.

    Ab you say: “I thought it useful however to point out that ‘communism’ was apparently differently experienced in different countries, an appropriate point to make to all you crystal ball gazers who apparently know exactly what would have happened to Indonesia if the PKI had not been wiped out.”

    I accept your point. However I think we have enough real world examples to draw upon and can conclude it would not have been good. It also sits uncomfortably with Indonesians religious beliefs. In that respect it was an easy sell convincing people it was a bad thing. Communist dictators are notoriously jealous and prone to fits of mass murder should they feel they are not worshiped as deities.

  21. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Not well known enough so here is a recent article on Kopassus activities in Papua where civilians are put on death lists because they insist on speaking out against the murderous activities of this gang. The head of the Baptist Synod in Papua tops the list.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/nairn11102010.html

    Incidentally, I presume it is well known that the former Kopassus leader, Sarwo Edhie, claimed not long before his death that three million people had been killed in the massacre of 1965/66. This was allegedly approximately the number of PKI members so this gentleman presumably made this claim to draw attention to a job well done.

    Well, recently he was rewarded for it by inclusion in the pantheon of “pahlawan2 nasional”.

  22. avatar Oigal says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Nice…any attempt at any of the questions?

  23. avatar Berlian Biru says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    “Yay! Indonesiaaaaaa!” is an unproblematic way to indoctrinate your children (try disregarding the specific issue in this case), then good luck to you.”

    Still avoiding the issue about why exactly the little girl’s rather perceptive analysis of communists bothered you so much I see.

  24. avatar Lairedion says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Communist dictators are notoriously jealous and prone to fits of mass murder should they feel they are not worshiped as deities.

    Now where did we hear that before? So communist dictators are only replicating god’s mannerism in the old testament.

    One should stay away from ideologies in general, but especially those created far away in the West and Middle East like Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Christianity and Islam.

  25. avatar Stevo says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I agree Lairedion and pointed out early on my belief that only in very recent times have we found an ideology more destructive than religion. Fortunately no intelligent person still believes communism actually works. So its back to religion.

    I am interested to hear some suggestions as to how Indonesia could have protected its self from the tyranny of a communist regime?

    I have heard allot of critical comment directed towards those who did something about it at the time. Mostly on the basis that many undeserving died and those who did the killing may have had other motives. Fair enough, but what should they have done?

    Should we have all sat back and (peacefully) submitted when the Nazis rose to power, on the basis that resistance may have resulted in some deaths of the innocent?

    Or maybe (Oigal pay attention) in the grown up world we sometimes have to fight for what we believe. We are imperfect beings and sometimes get it wrong. But that is not much of a basis to never try. If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything. Some Indonesians back in 65 made the choice to protect their religion and way of life. Good on them.

  26. avatar Stevo says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Oigal I would love to answer your questions. You just need to ask one that relates, even obliquely, to something I actually said.

    Tell you what; how about starting a thread on filthy wet back nazi Homosexuals?

    That will save you having to hijack other threads and directing them towards things of more personal interest to yourself. Just a thought……..

  27. avatar timdog says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Still avoiding the issue about why exactly the little girl’s rather perceptive analysis of communists bothered you so much I see.

    Rather perceptive analysis???

    The PKI were people who didn’t believe in god. So we killed them. Yay!

    I sincerely hope you are using the word “perceptive” ironically, or in an attempt to wind me up.

    And if, once again, you were able to disengage your paranoia about this issue you would have noted that – as I thought I made abundantly clear – that the reason it so depressed me was not actually anything to do with the slaughter of 65-66; it was because it was a manifestation of something much bigger about education and ideas in Indonesia.

    (Checked out the history chapters in the guidebooks to Vietnam and Cambodia yet, have you? Pondered the absurdity of suggesting that the events of 65-66 are a notorious outrage that every semi-informed undergraduate the world over has heard of and that is cited endlessly by everyone from politicians to… um… guidebook writers, while “the cultural revolution” and the rampages of the Khymer Rouge constitute an unknown horror, hidden behind a conspiracy of silence, which no one has ever heard of?
    I think you might still need to go and have that little lie down BB…)

  28. avatar ET says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Fair enough, but what should they have done?

    Definitely not genocide of the masses which makes them no better than what they opposed. Beheading of the top might have been enough to discourage the sheep from following the leaders, certainly in a country like Indonesia where illiteracy was rampant and independent thinking still is. A little help from outside (CIA) might have been welcome. They’ve done it in Chili with Salvador Allende, even though he was democratically elected, but also couldn’t prevent – or was it tacit approval – Pinochet’s subsequent purges, although these weren’t in the same league of what happened in Indonesia.

  29. avatar Stevo says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    ET, in an ideal world maybe. The idea of the CIA being welcome to covertly operate in Indonesia is certainly novel!

    There again, in an ideal world it would not be necessary in the first place. I am not suggesting that the opposing side was even better, merely that their actions may have helped prevent an even worse occurrence.

    My mate Oigal cant get that.

  30. avatar Oigal says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Or maybe (Oigal pay attention) in the grown up world we sometimes have to fight for what we believe.

    Well unlike most of the armchair warriors so ready to dismiss others acceptable collateral damage I have for some considerable period of my life thanks very much. Having a fairly proud family tradition in uniform, tends make one very contemptuous of those dismissing the blood of others as merely a means to an end and to gives one a much better perspective on what “sorry you were an acceptable casualty in the wider picture” really means. s.

    We are imperfect beings and sometimes get it wrong. But that is not much of a basis to never try. If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.
    Some Indonesians back in 65 made the choice to protect their religion and way of life. Good on them

    Oh Please spare us the John Wayne Cliche’ The fact of the matter is vast majority of those both victim and others had little idea what was going on other than some simplistic nonsense as we have already heard here time and again.

    Oigal I would love to answer your questions. You just need to ask one that relates, even obliquely, to something I actually said

    Well Rossy (do give away the pretense, it just plan sad) lets try again..

    How does being against mass murder by anyone make someone a communist?

    A what number does the lessor evil(e.g 50,000 – 500,000) become an equal evil if ever?

    What would it take for someone like you to acknowledge what happened in 65 had lot more to it that knocking off 1/2 dozen reds?

    At what cost to Indonesia was the rise to power of the military and their robber baron friends?

    Now even the most amongst us could see those questions having everything to do with the discussion although granted bit harder to answer than a transposed green beret script.

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