Balibo Movie & Gatot Purwanto

Dec 9th, 2009, in News, by

The banning of "Balibo" the movie, screenings of it in Jakarta, and talkative Colonel Gatot Purwanto.

Last week the Film Censorship Board/Lembaga Sensor Film (LSF) banned the release in Indonesia of the Australian made movie Balibo, which purports to recount the story of the killings of five western journalists (Gary Cunningham, Malcolm Rennie, Greg Shackleton, Tony Stewart, and Brian Peters) in East Timor in October 1975, during the early stages of the Indonesian invasion.

baliboWhile the organisers of the Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFFest) agreed at the last moment not to show the film, in accordance with the ban, the liberals and rebels at Utan Kayu in Jakarta on 3rd December screened 'Balibo' in two packed to the house sessions, the screening being put on by the Independent Journalists' Alliance/Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI).

Ezki Suyanto of the AJI said the showing of Balibo was intended for journalists only, and that they accounted for 80% of the audience. The AJI could not forbid non-journalists from viewing the film however.

Of the Utan Kayu screening Tourism and Culture minister Jero Wacik responded:

The police should deal with them, the LSF already banned the film.

Jero WacikJero said the film insulted the Indonesian nation and the military, because it claimed that the TNI deliberately murdered the five journalists. Indonesia and the government of now independent East Timor had agreed to put the past behind them, he said. vivanews

Gatot PurwantoMeanwhile, not helping Jero's cause, eyewitness to the killings 62 year old retired Colonel Gatot Purwanto, a former Kopassus officer and intelligence commander in East Timor, told Tempo magazine in a rambling and self-contradictory interview recently that the journalists were intentionally killed, and their bodies later burnt, to hide from the international community the evidence and nature of the Indonesian infiltration of the abandoned Portugese colony.

In his own words theage

If they were not executed, they could be witnesses to the fact that the Indonesian army had invaded Timor.

The bodies were covered with rice husks and then burnt … they needed to be totally disintegrated. That took two days.

We were in a bind … We had to make sure that the involvement of Indonesian troops was not known.

Of the film Balibo the Colonel is not impressed

From the start until the middle, it's quite balanced. But the main incidents surrounding the shooting of the five journalists were over-dramatised. No one was tortured.

Colonel Gatot Purwanto has a history of being talkative, and supposedly once told US journalist Allan Nairn that by 1990 roughly a third of the East Timorese population had died since the "integration". questia


43 Comments on “Balibo Movie & Gatot Purwanto”

  1. avatar andy says:

    http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,26456497-912,00.html

    Nice to see at least one officer now fessing up after all the years of lies and cover ups. But (and I can understand he doesn’t want to be next) he can’t go as far as to implicate the pollies in Jakarta who ordered the execution. But time will surely catch up with all of them too and it will be nice to see these once mighty men doing time in an Aussie prison.

  2. avatar diego says:

    What an annoying little shitty puppet country, this timor leste. It’s been a troublemaker before we integrated them into our country, while, and after, for nothing. I agree that we should just ignore it altogether. I personally have no interest in timor leste. Where is it? Remember, layered cappuccino society, from bottom to top: black coffee, creamy brown mix, and white cream, paying catholic’s version of jizya to vatican… (maybe one day it can beat mexico out on the amount of money sent to vatican).

  3. avatar Oigal says:

    it will be nice to see these once mighty men doing time in an Aussie prison.

    That will never happen and nor should it, the nationalists would run amok and defeat the whole point of what needs to occur. It’s an Indonesian issue and the only way for any good to come of it, is for Indonesia to act on these issues as part of a total reform of the TNI and as someone said the “Deep State”.

  4. avatar andy says:

    It’s an Indonesian issue and the only way for any good to come of it, is for Indonesia to act on these issues as part of a total reform of the TNI and as someone said the “Deep State”

    More likely those who are guilty will be given cabinet postings or run for President in five years. It seems to be the case that serial abusers of human rights get rewarded by their government. Screw the nationalists, they have no credibility whatsoever. To sit in judgement of other countries while turning a blind eye or supporting human rights abuses means their argument is not valid at all. How about an International war crimes tribunal ala the Nazis, Khmer Rouge or Bosnia / Serbia?

  5. avatar Oigal says:

    Screw the nationalists, they have no credibility whatsoever.

    Actually they have a hell of a lot of credibility within Indonesia and are instrumental in preventing Indonesia from turning into yet another failed Islamic State with all the mayhem and bloodshed that would involve. Its a bit more complicated than you suggest.

    The would be nothing whatsever to be gained from what you suggest except consolidating the positions of those who deserve to face justice. It can only be done from within Indonesia and slowly the wheel is turning against these people.

    How about an International war crimes tribunal ala the Nazis, Khmer Rouge or Bosnia / Serbia?

    Ignoring the hyerbole, who would enforce any ruling?

  6. avatar andy says:

    Jero said the film insulted the Indonesian nation and the military, because it claimed that the TNI deliberately murdered the five journalists. Indonesia and the government of now independent East Timor had agreed to put the past behind them, he said.

    Oigal, this is pretty much what most Indonesians i’ve spoken to on the issue seem to believe. They say ‘well it happened a long time ago’. Unfortunately for them the families of the victims are still alive and kicking and want justice. I agree it would be great if this issue could be solved by the Indonesians themselves and the whole system could be shaken to the core. Not that the rakyat realise but it would benefit them too. How many of their people were killed under Suharto’s leadership? My problem is looking at what’s happened previously nothing will happen as nobody wishes for the truth to be told. That’s why this movie is a breath of fresh air.

    As for the nationalists helping to stop Indonesia being a failed muslim state, of course any normal thinking and sane person wouldn’t want their country to be a muslim state. But how do we define a muslim state? Malaysia is more islamic than Indonesia but vastly superior in most ways. UAE’s are light years ahead of Indonesia in many ways too. They have their good and bad also. In Indonesia’s case unfortunately being ruled by nationalists or islamists is like being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Maybe a third way would be a better option.

    On a side note Anthony LaPaglia was told by the Indos how they felt about his movie and why they didn’t like it to which he replied ‘well go out and make your own movie and tell any damn story you want!’

  7. avatar diego says:

    On a side note Anthony LaPaglia was told by the Indos how they felt about his movie and why they didn’t like it to which he replied ‘well go out and make your own movie and tell any damn story you want!’

    Ok, here’s a possible plot for that “damn story”:

    All of a sudden, the timtim boyz and galz woke up wanting to have fairer skin. But they already joined the brownies. They regretted it (because they’re brown, nothing else). So they decided to revolt. They asked for help from some australian hippies. Long story short, they managed to disect from the brownies (they paid heavy price for that), only to be disappointed. Instead of getting a tint of white in their pigment, they got enslaved by those people by whom they want to be shagged (in hope of “mejorando la raza”). Ok, enslaved maybe a bit too harsh a word. Being treated as second class citizen (or third class) maybe describes better the fate they end up with.

    Moral of the story: they should have thought about trying Pond’s whitening lotion before anything else. It’s cheaper (and smells fine).

    Oh ya, what’s up with that gal Carascalao something (I remember she played in some soap operas in indonesia, is she still doing that?).

  8. avatar berlian biru says:

    Being a 1970’s war correspondent was indeed a glamorous lifestyle.

    You could grow your hair fashionably long, wear khaki waistcoats with lots of pockets and you got to crouch down with a microphone recording your piece to camera as strange and exotic looking men shot at each other around you. You then got to return to the cool air conditioned bar of the local “international” hotel where you could drink yourself stupid, bore everyone else around you rigid with your tales of derring do and then shag strange and exotic women (very probably the wives and sisters of the men you filmed doing all the shooting earlier) and all on expenses, meanwhile your poor underpaid local driver tried to get his way home through darkened streets to, hopefully, bring whatever money he had earned back to his family.

    Later you could trade your youthful heroics to get a prestigious anchor position on the main evening news programme where you could read the news under quizzical eyebrows and with a suitably stentorian voice. You could shag the interns and assistants who worked for the TV station and entertain them in the finest bijou restaurants in the the city, all on expenses.

    Finally you got to print your “memoirs” where you got to rehash all the boring war stories you’ve been droning on to your colleagues about for the previous forty years and cash in on the Christmas book market.

    The only drawback was that occasionally you might find yourself being shot by one of those aforementioned strange and exotic soldiers. It happened extremely rarely and was a risk well worth taking considering the upside and also considering that, let’s face it, you were taking an extraordinary stupid risk by voluntarily choosing to enter a war zone so you understood shit very well could happen.

    But choosing to rake up some routine workplace fatalities almost four decades after they happened as a form of shroud waving and insulting your neighbours does seem to be particularly bad form.

  9. avatar diego says:

    berlian biru hits the nail on the head (e.g.: kills).

  10. avatar David says:

    Yep, best thing I’ve read here in a while.

  11. avatar Burung Koel says:

    Tim Page managed to get a whole book out of the same idea in ‘Derailed in Uncle Ho’s Victory Garden’. I’ve never read such self serving macho bullshit.

  12. avatar Burung Koel says:

    ‘Balibo’, on the other hand, is quite a good film, despite the historical inaccuracies. The ABC journo does warn them to stay away from the border and to stop being dickheads (I’m paraphrasing), which happened in reality, and is covered in Jill Jolliffe’s book and other accounts.

    Also worth seeing to play ‘spot the location’. I noticed my old room at the Turismo in one extended scene.

  13. avatar Cukurungan says:

    Oigal, this is pretty much what most Indonesians i’ve spoken to on the issue seem to believe. They say ‘well it happened a long time ago’. Unfortunately for them the families of the victims are still alive and kicking and want justice.

    Dear Andy,

    Believe does not meant we will surrender our people to your custody because
    We are also still alive and want justice for our aboriginal brother and compensation of global warming caused by farts of the obese people who live too close to south pole.

    regards.

  14. avatar sighjay says:

    compensation of global warming caused by farts of the obese people who live too close to south pole

    Because the air and water quality in Indonesia is so damned good, right?

  15. avatar andy says:

    Believe does not meant we will surrender our people to your custody

    Oh really? Do you think your military and politicians are above the law? Last time I checked Indonesia was part of the international community.

    Berlian Biru, i’m not really sure what point you’re trying to make. I hope you’re not suggesting these and other stories should never be told because if we left it up to the Indonesian press it would have been pro Suharto propaganda not different to what you see in North Korea and other places. If not for the brave British journo who filmed the Dili massacre, Timor Leste would most likely still be part of Indonesia. That was the beginning of the end for the Indonesian regime. Make no mistake, in my lifetime Papua will be next.

  16. avatar Cukurungan says:

    If not for the brave British journo who filmed the Dili massacre, Timor Leste would most likely still be part of Indonesia. That was the beginning of the end for the Indonesian regime. Make no mistake, in my lifetime Papua will be next.

    We thank you for the hard work of your people for removing Timor Leste from us because it was like a stick on our assh.

  17. avatar diego says:

    I was just told by a friend in Bali that some of the university students from Timor Leste, under scholarship from Australia, are so “ajum” (or “belog ajum” to be exact). They only speak in portuguese (eventhough, I’m pretty sure that they know indonesian. I don’t know about Tetun, though. Bet they want to forget it…. No way lah yaw, that’s so indigenous, yucks, low class; that’s what must be running in their head).

    It really proves my thesis, layered cappuccino society. They really want to be considered like the “whiteys” that used to be their masters (who then abandoned them, leaving them some catholic churchs and stupid stories about some local version of virgin mary I believe, and her “appearances”. Wow). Aspirings. That’s the word.

    Why nobody believe what I said: the real reason they wanted the separation was “to have fairer skin”? That’s sounds like a freudian theory, that must be true.

    —-
    * ajum: belagu
    * belog: goblog
    * belog ajum: goblog tapi belagu

  18. avatar ET says:

    We are also still alive and want justice for our aboriginal brother

    We thank you for the hard work of your people for removing Timor Leste from us because it was like a stick on our assh.

    The aborigines are Cukurungan’s brothers but the people of Timor Leste are a stick in his arse.

    I wonder why.

  19. avatar Ketut says:

    Although the corrupt government rent takers have banned this film, every dvd vendor in Indonesia sells it.

    Hopefully the people of Indonesia will watch it and feel the shame of what the TNI cowards did.

    This film will shame many people and open the way for an international war crimes trial of the cowards. Although all journos are a pain in the ass, we still dont kill innocent people.

  20. avatar andy says:

    We thank you for the hard work of your people for removing Timor Leste from us because it was like a stick on our assh.

    Is this why Indonesia worked so hard to get it and then acted like spoilt children when finally justice came and the will of the people came to the fore. I watched the dvd yesterday, awesome movie but very touching. Anyone with a hint of humanity would have felt sadness for the poor people who suffered there. Every Indonesian should watch it and then get asked how they felt about the Suharto administration.

  21. avatar diego says:

    What is wrong with these mal-intentioned indonesia bashers like andy? Consumed.

  22. avatar Cukurungan says:

    Every Indonesian should watch it and then get asked how they felt about the Suharto administration.

    We may watch the movie but it is just for information only and we will not waste our effort to deliver justice to the people who seek their own death because there are more important the human cause issue need to be solved and addressed such plight of Aboriginal people and global warming caused the exceed carbon dioxide produced by dung and fart of bunch obese people who live too close to South Pole

    The aborigines are Cukurungan’s brothers but the people of Timor Leste are a stick in his arse.

    Every oppressed a native people is our brother and once we finished with this world enjoyment we will let them freed.

    What is wrong with these mal-intentioned indonesia bashers like andy? Consumed.

    Nothing wrong boy.. be wise we should understand the reason of Mr Andy anger toward Indonesian, in the past when he came to Indonesia, he was expecting that Indonesian will treat him like God but he faced harsh reality that Indonesian can differentiate which the useful bule should be welcomed and which the bule sampah shall be expelled.

    That was the beginning of the end for the Indonesian regime. Make no mistake, in my lifetime Papua will be next.

    What is your plan for Papua? Do you want to create another failed state like PNG, please tell us why PNG became fail state even they have been for prolonged time fully under supervision of your guys.

  23. avatar Browser says:

    But time will surely catch up with all of them too and it will be nice to see these once mighty men doing time in an Aussie prison.

    Actually Andy, time did catch up with one of “these once mighty men” and the Aussie government had the chance to make him doing time in an Aussie prison

    http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2007/05/31/sutiyoso-harassment-down-under.html?1

    but this happened next


    http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2007/06/02/sutiyoso-accepts-australian-apologies.html?1

    I wonder why..

    More likely those who are guilty will be given cabinet postings or run for President in five years. It seems to be the case that serial abusers of human rights get rewarded by their government. Screw the nationalists, they have no credibility whatsoever.

    Maybe you wont believe in Indonesians standards for their leader, or what our governments policies (same here, sometimes I can’t believe their actions) Will you take international, in this case, United Nations’ standards?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Commission_on_Human_Rights

    I’ll quote some parts of that page:

    ” The Commission would meet each year in regular session for six weeks during March and April in Geneva, Switzerland. In January 2004, Australia was elected as chair of the 60th Session. In January 2005, Indonesia was elected chair of the 61st Session. Peru was elected chair of the 62nd Session in January 2006. The Commission held its final meeting in Geneva on March 27, 2006. ”

    Judging by statements / sentences above, the UN view Indonesia as capable as Australia (and Peru 😉 ) in human rights field.

    I wonder why..

    I am not a president, military or political leaders, whatever, but in my opinion, to run a country, you can’t always use human rights as your guidance.

    Here’s a scenario: Let say the police caught a terrorist suspect and they got a “warning” that a bombing will take place in 2 hours. They know that this suspect they have caught have some infos about that bombing to be.

    What should they do? Offering him cigarettes, meal, and ask him politely about the bomb?

    TL was a war zone. Have you ever heard the phrase “all is fair in love and war”? Let’s do another scenario plays.

    Indonesia didn’t invaded TL. Fretelin ruled and TL became a communist state. I wonder how long before USA or (and) Australia do the invasion “needed”. Before or after Sovyet Union make a nuclear rocket base there. And no, I don’t think I am exaggerating here the cold war was at it’s height, and they (USSR) did the same thing in Cuba.

    And when (if) USA or (and) Aussie invade, surely the same thing will happened, fretelin use the guerrilla warfare, start using civilians as their shield, can you guarantee that there will be no civilian casualties?

    How about an International war crimes tribunal ala the Nazis, Khmer Rouge or Bosnia / Serbia?

    lol.. I actually laughed when I read this.. Do you know what the Nazi, Khmer Rouge, Bosnia / Serbia (also some countries in Africa, if I might add), have in common? They all lost the war. So, read what Oigal said, who would impose the ruling.

    Or are you actually suggesting that USA / Aussie / international community starts a war with Indonesia to make us hands out these generals to an international court?

    War is expensive you know. Yes, Indonesia’s armed forces is not that great. With one attacks, costs about I dunno.. 5-10 billion dollars ..? (in case you didn’t know, the missiles are expensive) you probably can bring down all of our Sukhoi, some F 16 and sink all of our ships. Guess how long before Indonesia go to Russia / China, offering them like a hundred years concession right or resources export in return of new jets and ships?

    You know, my evil side is really like to see this, a poll in your country (where ever it is) saying:

    “We are gonna spend xxx billions of your tax money to make Indonesia gives us those generals who were responsible for the deaths in TL. Do you agree or not? And if you agree, how much do you think we should spend?”

    Yeah, I’d really like to see how much do you think those people’s lives worth for you.
    Call me cruel, but this is the reality, money rules. Sucks isn’t it?

    International sanction? Oh it has been done before. Military sanction. You know what happened next? Bush’s administration decided that they’ve punished us enough and lift the sanction.

    Want to make a new one? Do you know what will happened if Indonesia starts to act like a bitch?

    A scenario: We got an information that there will be shipments of explosives smuggled to Indonesia. These will be use by a terrorist group to bomb our cities. So, we have to search every single ship that passes our territory. But, we are lack of resources, and some of our officers are called in sick. Please be patience while we hold all the ships from various countries in our harbors. This is for the country’s security, please cooperate.

    Can you imagine what will happen? I can think of so many other scenarios.

    What are you gonna do? Start a war? Over TL? Read my previous war scenario.

    Okay, I wrote too much. Let’s get to conclusion.

    – I am NOT saying that our government is an angel and perfect, but giving out our soldiers to an international courts? Not gonna happen. It’s a bad precedence, no soldier will obey their leaders later, probably no one will be interested to be an Indonesian soldier. Leave that to the lost countries. While we still independence the military will take care it’s own business, as usual.

    (to be fair, if the military court decided that a soldier is guilty, the punishment is swift and sometimes brutal, the military police knows they are not dealing with a civilians)

    – The international community has too many interests in Indonesia.
    – What happened in TL simply cannot outweigh those interests.
    – In the end, money talks. TL can’t gives you enough money.

  24. avatar diego says:

    Browser’s da killa dude! Me like it. Ya got that andrea, my little lovely naive mal-intentioned champagne “human-right defender”?

  25. avatar ET says:

    Every oppressed a native people is our brother and once we finished with this world enjoyment we will let them freed.

    Unless they are oppressed by javanese muslims, of course. And when these people, like the Timorese or the Papuans, try to get rid of their muslim oppressors then they become a pain in the arse, isn’t it Cukurungan?

    But don’t think too much about it. We know that your brain, or what’s left of it, is indeed differently wired.

  26. avatar Burung Koel says:

    I was just told by a friend in Bali

    Brilliant. From now on that’s all I’m going to use to justify everything I say or post.

  27. avatar andy says:

    Every oppressed a native people is our brother and once we finished with this world enjoyment we will let them freed.

    Are you including the parts of the world in which you have oppressed. Meaning most of Indonesia outside of Java? Ask the Ambonese, Papuans, Acehnese and of course the Timorese if they are your ‘brothers’. Gees if you people had the means to branch out further no doubt you would be oppressing a lot more than those I just mentioned. If you were a superpower you probably would be oppressing our aborigines. And to call them brothers, I can tell you close to the ground they have no time whatsoever for your country or your people.

    Indonesia didn’t invaded TL. Fretelin ruled and TL became a communist state. I wonder how long before USA or (and) Australia do the invasion “needed”. Before or after Sovyet Union make a nuclear rocket base there. And no, I don’t think I am exaggerating here the cold war was at it’s height, and they (USSR) did the same thing in Cuba.

    Firstly browser, I want to congratulate you on at least making an effort to debate the issue rather than do as some of your ‘brothers’ here have and abuse and throw mud which will never stick. Now browser, it is common knowledge that Fretelin were accused and feared as a communist party but (and it is proven now as they have ruled for nearly 10 years) they are not and never have been communists. Now if the Soviet Union did build a base there (again a big if) I would not have supported any invasion of this small sovereign state. Now as a thinking ‘bule’ I don’t always agree with decisions made by my government. Many here think the same so why do Indonesians always feel the need to defend the indefensible? Can’t they think for themselves? Blind patriotism is as evil as blind religious fanaticism. I know you are talking about Cuba and the 1962 missile crisis. Yes they came perilously close to war but it never happened thankfully and Cuba has continued to exist, never as friends, but peacefully to their south. Vietnam was fought before Timor was invaded so I seriously doubt it would have happened. hey were only a danger to themselves rather than the outside world. The domino theory by that time was pretty well proven to be a massive scare campaign for nothing. It would have got little to no support from the majority of people. Can I simply ask one question..Why did Indonesians support the invasion of Timor and why do they continue today to support what the government did for 24 years there?

  28. avatar diego says:

    @tbelfield,

    I’m just making fun of the fact they elected a portuguese (their former esclavizador) as their leader. If that’s not racist (on their part), then what is it? And I’m just writing down what I think I see happening in former spanish / portuguese colonies (that cappuccino thingy).

  29. avatar ET says:

    Every oppressed a native people is our brother and once we finished with this world enjoyment we will let them freed.

    We will let them freed? I wonder how he will do that. By throwing coconuts? 🙂

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