Whether there was a genocide in 1965 and what happened to the survivors.
Wednesday's Jakarta Post saw yet another effusion of pinko propaganda from their comely but carping columnist Julia Suryakusuma.
She has long been a source of tiresome lefty whines, which is a pity because she is not without intellect and occasional humour, but this week she has climbed aboard the seemingly imminent Suharto hearse to bang on again about the Reds who got whacked back in 1965.
Suharto's deathbed, a nightly feature of tv at the moment, has induced me to revisit my books, and I note that claims of the death-toll in the post-Gestapu killing vary from Sukarno's 87,000 to the London Economist magazine's 1 million. Everybody else seems to have settled for about 500,000, many of them anti-communists murdered by Reds. But let's stick to the ones Julia and her sort care about.
Since the PKI Communist Party claimed 3 million members, plus assorted affiliates totalling at least another seven million plus, that would leave a huge number of Reds in pretty good shape to carry on their evil work. The interesting question is :- where did they go, and what are they up to these days, the ones who were young men and women in 1965? (Even if we exclude the peasants and labourers misled by lying propaganda, the PKI's actual membership should be supplemented by nasty off-shoots like the intellectuals' LEKRA and the Gerwani harpies. We're talking of millions of traitors - not all of them retired to write books or gone to meet their presumably displeased Maker).
Some of course fled to lands noted for true people's democracy, such as Red China (which naturally howled about the terrible "genocide" in Indonesia, oblivious to Mao's Marxist massacres (by deliberate famine as well as more conventional means) of 30 million, at the very least, innocent Chinese). Others did time, and emerged, a lot of them, still ranting and unrepentant (including one famous writer, who maintained a Pontius Pilate stance on his own collaboration with marxist treason).
But what about the vast majority?
From way back before 1965, it was standard Red practice to infiltrate other parties, and all areas of public life, including the Armed Forces. (Early examples of this include the notorious Syariffudin, who actually headed the national government briefly before being exposed and getting his just deserts before a firing squad, and the infiltration by Reds like Setiadjit and Tan Ling Djie of - respectively- the Labour Party and the Socialists).
So there would be quite a few sleepers already in place, all the better to facilitate lesser-known adherents when they needed a place to doss down for a few years. It defies all reason and logic that they would not do their utmost to burrow into positions of influence wherever they happened to be. That's what Communists do - it's their duty.
How many journalists from Harian Rakyat, the PKI rag, somehow got taken on by respectable media? Anyone who thinks Marxists should be allowed to work on honest papers should recall Sukirman, the PKI apparatchik who got his hands on Djakarta Radio. He declared early on that its role under his stewardship would be that of an instrument serving the cause of "Indonesian Socialism". About as objective as the recent Jakarta post "news" item on the Falkland Islands, an almost straight reprint from the Argentine Embassy hand-out.
How many politicians, indeed, how many in the military, kept their heads down on orders from the Politburo, hanging in there, grooming their successors carefully? Marxist attachment to the "iron law of history" surely leads them to take a long view. Forty years is a drop in the bucket.
This may well explain the constant harping of certain sections of the media and some politicians on the same themes that the inimitable Julia raised in her article, a long tirade in which she shamefully linked the real crimes of Suharto's regime (those poor students at Semanggi, for example) with the retribution earned by the Communists' vicious and arrogant lust for power (even Sukarno, a willing collaborator with the PKI's totalitarians, acknowledged that communists were like
rats which have eaten a part of a big cake and tried to eat the pillar of our house.
The Semanggi students were innocent, for pity's sakes! Aidit and his comrades wanted to wring democracy's neck.
What's the big deal that the PKI was outlawed? Canada banned the Communist Party for some time, as did the Federal Republic of Germany and Greece. Why? Because Parliament in Ottawa recognised that the C.P. would sell out their own country in time of war, if Stalin so ordered. Because the West Germans saw a third of their country enslaved behind barbed wire and machine-gun posts. Because the Greeks had seen at first hand the atrocities of Greek Communists in a bloody attempted seizure of power.
Indonesians are not fools. They were aware of what would befall their fragile freedoms if the Reds took power. It was the people who did most of the killing, not the Army, which actually reined in the onslaught, notably in Bali. Julia has a go at the N.U.'s role, but it was hardly a Muslim monopoly that exacted vengeance for Communist misdeeds. The Balinese are Hindu and in Sulawesi Christians played a part in curbing the menace.
Of course, Julia puts "Communists" in inverted commas, as if to say that the victims were not really Marxist at all. Aidit would turn in his grave, since he and his pals were dedicated lifelong Stalinist hacks. The PKI stabbed Indonesia in the back at Madiun in 1948, rising in armed revolt to set up a local soviet while decent folk were out fighting the Dutch.
But Julia would maybe excuse such treason. She has not written much about the pre-1965 PKI's constant apologia's for subversion and dictatorship. She hasn't published much in the JP on her views on Communist concentration camps, like Belene in Bulgaria, or the ones in Germany which the Soviet Union's puppets took over from the Nazis and put to much the same use. But of course the PKI weren't a violent lot, were they?
In 1965 the 100,000 guns that Air Marshal Dhani was busily preparing to bring in from Red China were perhaps on order for hunting wild animals, in Julia's fevered mind, and the Gerwani vixens and Pemuda Rakyat thugs training under military instruction out by Halim were just enjoying some calisthenics. Sure, Julia, cover up the evil as you please.
After all, as you say, one of your concerns is whether "the left" will achieve a resurgence in Indonesia. So are you calling for a new social democrat party or a Communist revival? If the former, would they be honest labour democrats, like Saragat's Social Democrats in post-war Italy, or folk like Mandelson in Britain, who have yet to publicly recant the obnoxious creed they adhered to until electability became prominent in their minds? As for a revived PKI, it would be an insult to the millions worldwide who died at the hands of Communism. That is a genocide worth remembering.