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 Cukurungan says:

    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.

    In the past we already a superpower but we was only asking other people to supply us a beautiful woman and we never made effort to exterminate other people like the white people done around the globe as we can see today that the white people were creating a new country (a nest) for breeding their own upon the stolen land and the grave yard of the land owner.
    And for sure we have no interest to move from our paradise island to the most driest continent on earth, but we do care to the fate of our aboriginal brother who have been so long enslaved and slaughtered in their very own land. Do not worry some day we will make a movie how the peaceful Australian continent become the biggest killing field of native people in history of mankind.

  2. avatar Browser says:

    @ Andi: Right back at ya. Honestly, when I opened this page I was surprised (and glad) when I saw you replied to me with a good questions / arguments.

    I’ll answer your simple question later.

    About the fretelin and their “communism”. Ask this question to CIA, BAKIN / BIA (Indonesia’s intelligence service at that time) and of course, Australia’s (sorry, I don’t know the name, seriously, no offense 🙂 ). What do the CIA and Aussie has something to do with this, you might ask? Well, you probably know that Indonesia was (is) pro western, and to be honest, I am quite sure that these “fretelin is communist” info was provided by CIA. At least some parts of it, you know, exchanging infos kind of thing.

    Let’s ignore all of these theories, the invasion had happened. Why did Indonesia do that? Why America keep supplying weapons? Why Australia ignored these 5 lives (and also thousands others during all those years)?

    I don’t know for sure.
    Because of their fear of communism? This is my opinion / theory.
    Is there anything else beside that? I don’t know.

    Now to answer your question.

    To be honest, when I start noticing the news (as in my first memory, that kind of thing) TL, or Timor Timur, was already Indonesia’s 27th province.
    I don’t speak for my older generation here, but if you ask me, here’s my theory as to why they were agree:

    Anti-communist propaganda.

    You may not believe this, but it was a different time. If you want bigger examples, ask the Americans why they fought in Vietnam, Korean War, and of course, countless CIA operations around the world. I am NOT saying that all Americans are (were) agree with their government, but there are those who agree, enough to make America went to wars, and CIA keeps getting the fund they needed.

    Again, you may not believe and as a thinking “bule” you think that this is silly, but, I just thought that you probably can understand if I can show you that there are other “bules” out there got provoked by this propaganda.

    Why we continue to support what the government did?

    Well, I’m just one people, surely I can’t speak for the whole population. But here is my side of story.

    Many Indonesians regret our invasion and later, shall we say involvement (keep reading my story, you may realize why I used the word “involvement”) in TL.

    Do you know what Portuguese colonial government built in TL? They built barracks for their soldiers (not many), housing for their government officers, hospital and school, both hospital and school are limited edition, Portuguese and some elite TL only.

    Oh, and 7 ( S E V E N ) kilometers of asphalt road.

    That’s it. Nothing more.

    So, who built the rest of TL as we can see today? Indonesia did. Of course except those were built under the *cough* UN “government”.
    You know what Ramos Horta’s (or whoever the president of TL is) palacio used to be? It used to be Carascalao’s office. Carascalao was the last TL governor under Indonesia. Guess who built it.

    Please allow me to be greed and counting what we got and what we lost.

    We got = Nothing. Seriously, besides of Timor gap, developed after TL’s independence, what else do they have?

    We lost = Lives of our soldiers, civilians that Fretelin caught (they’re not bunch of boy scouts you know), our integrity in international community, and money, lots of money, financing the military operation, and building this so called Timor Timur, in effort to win their hearts and minds.

    So, if you ask me, I have the same opinion as Cukurungan’s, TL was a stick in our arse.

    Sorry for answering your simple question with all these blabbering.

    TL invasion happened under Suharto’s regime, if it happens now, I highly doubt that the president will get elected for the second term.

    I think you got the wrong impression there (seeing on how you put your question)
    We (I) DO NOT support what the government did. But I said this now, in 2009. To be honest, I probably have different answer if you ask me this on 197something (see above, the propaganda thing)

    BUT we (I, an Indonesian) believe that we should never take the “blame” ourself. We (I, an Indonesian) believe that invading TL was a collective decision, made by Indonesia, America, and to some extent, Australia. See my reasoning above, and check the fact during those years (do you know that Australia was the first and at that time, only, country that acknowledged TL was an integral part of Indonesia? )

    We (I) also believe that our soldiers (in this case, generals) should never put into trial, because it was a war, and those “judges” to be (should there will be a trial) are basically comes from the very same government that encourage us (these generals) to went to war in the first place.

    Talk about hypocrisy..

    And, read my previous post, about why handing out our soldiers just because international community (actually, to be honest, it’s just you and some other people, America, Australia, UN never ask for it, or at least never asking serious enough) ask us is a bad policy.

    Here’s an easier example:

    Imagine what the Americans will saying if some Iraqis (or other nationality) say their governments should be hold responsible for what happened in Iraq.

    Can you see the different? It’s okay for an American to criticize their government, but it is different if other people saying it. Call it blind patriotism or anything you want, but it happened. You can find the likes of me around the world. Do you believe that the Americans will ever accept Iraqis judges and juries for their soldiers in Abu Ghraib’s trial?

    Let me ask you this question: Do you actually think that *we* are wrong?

    We know that our government did something wrong, we just don’t like it if someone else said “Hey, they are wrong, now give them to us so we can judge them by our moral standard.”

    Nope, we’d rather judge them ourself, by using our standard. And in this TL’s case, it is case closed for us. See above for explanation as to why this case is closed for us.

    You (or other readers) here may got the impression of me as “bule” haters, believe me, I am not, far from it.

  3. avatar diego says:

    Oh my god, browser kills again. Andrea, are you alright?

  4. avatar andy says:

    Hi browser, the difference between you and the other cretins on this page is that you can debate things in a calm and reasoned way without resorting to insults and abuse. You try to look at the issues rather than me. Great!!

    BUT we (I, an Indonesian) believe that we should never take the “blame” ourself. We (I, an Indonesian) believe that invading TL was a collective decision, made by Indonesia, America, and to some extent, Australia. See my reasoning above, and check the fact during those years (do you know that Australia was the first and at that time, only, country that acknowledged TL was an integral part of Indonesia? )

    Yes this is true. Now as a new reader and poster on these pages, if you have a bit of time, try and go back to previous stories about Timor. One was a favourite of Purba Negoro’s, a fellow patriot of yours who has been accused of being a bule trying to make you all look bad with his racist slurs. More than once I mentioned how appalled I was with my government’s decisions that time. This is all I want to hear from your people really. I was actively campaigning for Timor in the 1990s in my country for us to recognize their people and their plight. While not a supporter of John Howard’s government I applaud the way he fasttracked the process towards peace in Timor back in 1999. This was the time people were told Indonesia was unsafe for us as your people were burning our flags and sweeping our people (can anyone imagine what would happen if we reacted the same way towards Indonesia over here??).

    As for the Timor gap, please try to tell me if that wasn’t there and there really was nothing you still would have been so keen. This is as silly as the bules I know who tell me Iraq wasn’t about oil. Oh yes, I would be happy to see those responsible for the Iraq war face war crimes tribunals. I’m reading now with some interest the inquest in the UK where Blair is answering questions now. As for Fretelin and communism, I may think very differently to many of my peers and certainly yours but I would have been happy to see Indonesia themselves become communist way back in 1965. Can you see JI operating the way they have if communism had won? Radical islam would be treated with the same contempt that it is in China. Looking back in hindsight which we know is a wonderful thing, probably most people here now would choose communism over fanatical islamics and radical fascist nationalists as we see now. Indonesia is still after all the country who is most likely to invade us isn’t it?

    dora, yes i’m fine…he is welcome to his opinion. I’m not fine with you who is just a smartass prick. with nothing to add to the debate. Do you even have a primary school education? As a balinese, can I trust that you won’t try to sell me a dodgy watch while i’m feasting on seafood and bintangs by the pool?

    As for you Cukky, honestly I don’t know who’s worse out of these two, i’m sure the indigenous population (aborigine is so 1950s) would chase you out of their land if you dared to suggest they were your ‘brothers’. They would also greet you with shotguns if you tried to invade us (read up on WW2 history and see how they greeted the Japanese) the way you did Timor Leste. I am yet to meet any indigenous Australian who has anything good to say about Indonesia.

  5. avatar andy says:

    oh browser, the name you are looking for is ASIO. cheers!

  6. avatar Burung Koel says:

    but we do care to the fate of our aboriginal brother who have been so long enslaved and slaughtered in their very own land. Do not worry some day we will make a movie how the peaceful Australian continent become the biggest killing field of native people in history of mankind

    Bit late. If you haven’t already seen these, try and get a DVD copy:

    Samson and Delilah
    Beneath Clouds
    Rabbit Proof Fence
    The Tracker
    Dead Heart

    and look out for Bran Nue Dae shortly.

    You could also try reading some great fiction and non-fiction:

    The Other Side of the Frontier (Henry Reynolds)
    The Secret River and The Lieutenant (Kate Grenville)
    Remembering Babylon (David Malouf)

    and anything by Kim Scott, Alexis Wright and Melissa Lucashenko.

    I’m happy to use any forum to promote the work of these great Australian film makers and writers, both black and white.

  7. avatar andy says:

    Burung Koel, good point. Unfortunately Cukurungan has no idea and these movies are way too subtle and deep for someone of his low intelligence. I mean this clown believes his country is a world superpower. Believes their own hype and probably never travels abroad. This is why he can make such unintelligent comments about countries he knows absolutely nothing about.

  8. avatar Browser says:

    Sorry, took me long before I can write a reply, I was busy in the past few days.

    Thanks, I learn something new today (ASIO).

    This was the time people were told Indonesia was unsafe for us as your people were burning our flags and sweeping our people (can anyone imagine what would happen if we reacted the same way towards Indonesia over here??).

    Yup, surely it wasn’t the bestest time in Aussie – Indo relationship. To be honest, I believe the police or TNI will protected any Australian if they (the mob) managed to catch one. I think both Indonesia and Australia had this unspoken agreement not to start an open war.

    As for the Timor gap, please try to tell me if that wasn’t there and there really was nothing you still would have been so keen. This is as silly as the bules I know who tell me Iraq wasn’t about oil.

    I also believe the second Iraq war was (is) about oil.

    I have tried to google about when “they” first discovered oil in Timor gap. But I found this, I quoted some parts from the page:

    The 1997 Asian Economic Crisis led to the fall of Suharto, creating the space for Timor-Leste to vote for independence. As a result, Indonesia forfeited its never-valid claim to Timor-Leste’s petroleum riches. The occupation of Timor-Leste had been costly to Indonesia; the oil money was just starting to come in when Indonesia left Timor-Leste in 1999. In October 1999, as the smoke was still rising from the destroyed buildings of Timor-Leste and most of its population were refugees, the oil companies decided their development plans for Bayu-Undan. Laminaria-Corallina started production a month later

    —-

    Let’s not start to talk about the war. Looks like the writer hated both Indonesia and Australia. I didn’t read the entire page (was just trying to find a date), so the writer can be right or wrong. He was wrong when he said “creating the space for Timor-Leste to vote for independence”. What space? The shooting in the cemetary “shocked” the world and Habibie (was forced ?) gave the options (poll) to be independent.

    There is this “funny” fact about oil discovering industry. Even now, with the latest technology, you can’t be sure whether the oil is there or not, until the well actually start pumping oil instead of worthless mud and gas. Here, I quoted:

    Although modern oil-exploration methods are better than previous ones, they still may have only a 10-percent success rate for finding new oil fields

    —-

    Suharto may or may not knew about the oil, but it is just impossible for him to be sure that there are oil traps there. America surely knew about already-on-production-stage Iraq’s wells. Can you see the difference? We also were enjoying oil boom on early 80s without a single drop of Timor’s oil.

    I would have been happy to see Indonesia themselves become communist way back in 1965. Can you see JI operating the way they have if communism had won? Radical islam would be treated with the same contempt that it is in China. Looking back in hindsight which we know is a wonderful thing, probably most people here now would choose communism over fanatical islamics and radical fascist nationalists as we see now.

    Actually JI was formed in Malaysia when Baasyir and Sungkar chased away by Suharto’s regime. I don’t think Suharto was a communist.

    I can tell you many things as to why communism won’t works, but I believe you have heard them all. Here is one scenario when it is possible for communism to works: When all of us believe we should be a communist. When I say “all of us” I mean all human in planet earth.

    Why, you probably ask. Let’s say Indonesia is a communist country. The hard working, intelligent citizens will start emigrating overseas, as they know they can make better living there. It had happened in USSR and Eastern bloc countries when their scientists and athletes defected everytime the got a chance. So, communism has to expand, it’s either that or die.

    Indonesia is still after all the country who is most likely to invade us isn’t it?

    If we are a communist state, I can assure you this will happen very soon, as you keep “stealing” our brightest brain and worker.

    But now, don’t worry mate, your country is safe. Also Malaysia and Singapore are safe. Read this. The big guys up there are not stupid. Well, at least they know they’re gonna lose their jobs (and heads) if they started a war they can’t win.

    fanatical islamics and radical fascist nationalists as we see now

    LOL.. What makes you say that? Despite of what happening in politics in every country, the military is always a major power. If we are “fanatical islamics” then why is this possible?

    Army chief Gen. George Toisutta >> An Ambonese, a Christian.
    Brig. Gen. Lodewijk Freidrich Paulus >> A Manadonese, I guess his name already tells you what his religion is. You should see him, scary looking guy.

    Fascist? With our interpretation of democracy, there is no single power now. If you see the news or go to Bundaran HI, everyday you can see some people disagree with the government about something.

    Well, to each their own opinion, but I can’t see why it is wrong for one to loves his country.

    =====

    I’ll be very busy the next days until new year, so I guess I can’t reply to you soon. Will be happy to do it later though (yeah, I like a good debate)

    Anyway, to all of you who celebrate Christmas, merry Christmas, and to those who don’t, have a happy holiday!

  9. avatar Browser says:

    Found a photo about that new Kopassus commander. Edhie Wibowo is SBY’s brother in law.

    Don’t know how to load it though, hope this is successful

  10. avatar Zorobabel says:

    In truth, reform is not possible without a functioning legal system, and we all know that Indonesia’s laws are not worth the paper they’re written on. That’s why you’ll never, ever see anymore Indonesians brought to trial for the crimes against humanity committed during the occupation of Timor Leste. Look at the post-military career of Wiranto, a man who, from what I have heard, used to do things like drop shipping containers filled with suspected Timorese rebels into the sea. To most Indonesians, it’s simply ancient history.

    But I do think think reform will happen, albeit at a very slow pace. I don’t know if the rule of law will exist in Indonesia within the next thirty years, though I certainly hope so. We are seeing those small steps being taken, and the Indonesian people are slowly becoming more educated. There will eventually come a time, as in all feudal cultures, when the people are educated enough that they simply won’t accept what passes for government in Indonesia today. Another big factor is now that all registered workers are paying taxes, people are going to have much higher expectations for the government.

    As for Timor Leste, I think the Timorese people want to move on as well. They’ve got the fastest growing economy in Asia. Their petroleum fund now amounts to $5.3 billion, it’s growing by more than $100 million a month, and there is potential for more oil and gas revenues in the coming years. Coffee production is increasing and living standards are improving. What they need to do is prove how incompetent the Indonesian government is by making Timor Leste a shining success. Show the Papuans what they could be doing if they had control real control over their resources (don’t talk to me about otonomi, we know most of those funds are going to support the Indonesian state apparatus in West Papua). That’s how you get even.

  11. avatar Odinius says:

    Oigal said:

    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”.

    Agree completely.

  12. avatar diego says:

    Brig. Gen. Lodewijk Freidrich Paulus: A Manadonese, I guess his name already tells you what his religion is. You should see him, scary looking guy.

    Is this him?

    null

    Holy cripes, you’re right.

  13. avatar yanto101 says:

    No, that’s the former (he looks friendlier) the new one is on the left

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