Book Burning

Aug 8th, 2007, in News, by

The burning of history books.

In March of 2007 the Attorney General's office banned a number of junior high school history books because the works were perceived to fail to blame the Communist Party of Indonesia for the 1965 coup attempt. Since then many regional attorney generals' offices have seized thousands of the books from schools and in some cases afterwards carried out public burnings.

On 7th July the mayor of Depok, Nurmahmudi Ismail, from the PKS, Justice Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera), presided at the burning of 2,500 of the seized books. antara And on 30th July in Bogor 1,340 books were burned outside the Attorney General's building. tempo

Nur Mahmudi Ismail
Nur Mahmudi Ismail of Depok, cheerful.

On 1st August writer Goenawan Mohamad, at a function at the Utan Kayu Theatre in Jakarta, complained of the book burnings:

Why are we copying the Communists? If the books are no good just don't use them, don't burn them, it's intimidating.

Goenawan Mohamad
Goenawan Mohamad, terrorised.

On 8th August a group calling itself "Book and Democracy Lovers", comprised of various literary types such as Franz Magnis-Suseno and Ayu Utami, and some political figures such as PDI-P Secretary Ganjar Pranowo, as well as Marco Kusumawijaya of the Arts Council, held an anti book burning gathering at the Graha Bahakti Budaya building in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta. Former president Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), and Goenawan Muhammad, signed their declaration but did not attend.

Writer of slightly smutty novels Ayu Utami said book burning was tyrannical and harmful to the mind.

Ayu Utami
Ayu Utami, tyrannised.

Marco Kusumawijaya said: okezone

Burning books, whatever the reason, is a form of terror against our culture.

A spokesman for the Attorney General's office, Agung Thomson Siagian, said burning banned books was standard procedure. korantempo


15 Comments on “Book Burning”

  1. avatar Colson says:

    Here’s a salute to a great Indonesian author:

    Good for you Ayu Utami.

    It’s sad you and the likes of you have to protest the Attorney General’s Office’s disgusting imitation of Nazi-style bookburning.

    However it’s great you and the likes of you got the guts not to give in to the intimidation meant to crush freedom of speech.

  2. avatar anonymous_aloy says:

    “Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.”

    Let it be written in history books that Nur Mahmudi Ismail of PKS participate in this shameful act.

  3. avatar Falcon says:

    Book burning is the marking of authocratic individuals, “I am right your are wrong”. and a sign of a weak and timid minds. Individuals condoning such act are equal to tyrans. They are displaying powerforce to erase freedom of expression. If you dont like the book just banned it. Let the future-pass by and the history unfold but you can not burn a mind.

    “Book burning is standard procedure” what a shamefull remark

  4. avatar Ihaknt says:

    Sigh…like Jakarta needs more polution. Burning = polution, people!!!

  5. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    What’s next?
    – Malam Kaca (Kristallnacht gaya Indonesia)?
    – More pogroms of Chinese businesses?
    – Deportation (wajib transmigrasi) of bule and non-Muslim pribumis?
    – Extermination camp Hutanbuku (Buchenwalt)?

  6. avatar Shorty says:

    A book is the written transcription of the author’s thoughts, burning or destroying the book doesn’t destroy them, or prevent them from being disseminated.

    In fact burning/censoring/banning have the opposite effect – they draw attention to the content and create a market, ”I wonder why?”, ”I must check it out”, ”why are they afraid”.

    A just person/organisation/company/government ALLOWS and WELCOMES all criticisms.

    A secure person/organisation/company/government is not concerned by the criticism.

    Try this for size, I don’t agree with what you say, but I’ll defend your right to say it.

  7. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Ayu Utami is sexy. Very kissable lip.

  8. avatar Serious Man says:

    I agree with Agung Thomson Siagian, spokesman for the Attorney General’s office, it was just standard procedure. I think ayu utami cs was excessive. What GM said “just don’t use them” and let the historian make wrong story isn’t solution. Do they agree with some people there that always try to change our history with communist?

  9. avatar Peter says:

    Hey why don’t they just recycle instead? 🙂

  10. avatar Pena Budaya says:

    This burning book action is a symbol of the destruction of intellectual heritage.
    What a shame!

  11. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Pujian untun Allah Subhana Wata’alah, re

    This burning book action is a symbol of the destruction of intellectual heritage.
    What a shame!

    We have the Quran which contains scientific and mathematics miracles, we do not need any other book.

    Salam.

  12. avatar Pena Budaya says:

    We have the Quran which contains scientific and mathematics miracles, we do not need any other book.

    We don’t need to Quran to be scientific or mathematicians, neither do as a our moral guidance, but we don’t have to burn Quran for that. We just have to be open minded to new ideas.

  13. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Heh Friend – I am the Great Poet ! Why wasn’t I invited to the literary event…??

  14. avatar Bas says:

    So I assume it’s oke if I burn Al Quran and other nonsense stuff like it too?

  15. avatar empressnasigoreng says:

    I quite like this poem by Bertolt Brecht:

    THE BURNING Of THE BOOKS
    When the Regime commanded that books with harmful knowledge
    Should be publicly burned and on all sides
    Oxen were forced to drag cartloads of books
    To the bonfires, a banished
    Writer, one of the best, scanning the list of the Burned, was shocked to find that his
    Books had been passed over. He rushed to his desk
    On wings of wrath, and wrote a letter to those in power ,
    Burn me! he wrote with flying pen, burn me! Haven’t my books
    Always reported the truth ? And here you are
    Treating me like a liar! I command you!
    Burn me!

    It seems that those writers having the writings burnt should take it as a compliment!

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