Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

The State of Knowledge about an Open Secret: Indonesia's Mass Disappearances of 1965–66

  • John Roosa
Extract

In a scene in the genre-bending documentary film The Act of Killing (2012), a journalist, Soaduon Siregar, claims to have a sudden insight while standing in a film studio. Having just watched two executioners reenact their deeds of 1965–66 before a camera, he realizes why he had never known that they had garroted hundreds of detainees when he was working with them in the same building. His old friends had been so “smooth” (he used the English word) that he had not noticed them running a human abattoir upstairs. One of the executioners standing in the studio with crude makeup plastered on his face, Adi Zulkardy, is incredulous and insists Siregar must have known since even the neighbors heard the screams of the victims: “It was an open secret (rahasia umum).” When the director of the film, Joshua Oppenheimer, interjects, noting that Siregar's longtime boss at the local newspaper had already admitted to being an interrogator who decided which detainees were to die, Siregar becomes only more adamant in denying any knowledge of the killing.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The State of Knowledge about an Open Secret: Indonesia's Mass Disappearances of 1965–66
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The State of Knowledge about an Open Secret: Indonesia's Mass Disappearances of 1965–66
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The State of Knowledge about an Open Secret: Indonesia's Mass Disappearances of 1965–66
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
References
Hide All
Abdullah, Taufik, Abdurrachman, Sukri, and Gunawan, Restu, eds. 2012. Malam bencana 1965 dalam belitan krisis nasional, bagian II: Konflik lokal [The disastrous night of 1965 in the coils of the national crisis, part II: Local conflicts]. Jakarta: Obor.
Beatty, Andrew. 2009. A Shadow Falls in the Heart of Java. London: Faber and Faber.
Bowen, John. 1991. Sumatran Politics and Poetics: Gayo History, 1900–1989. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.
Budiawan. 2004. Mematahkan pewarisan ingatan: Wacana anti-komunis dan politik rekonsiliasi pasca-Suharto [Breaking the inheritance of memory: Anti-communist discourse and politics of reconciliation after Suharto]. Jakarta: Elsam.
Conboy, Ken. 2003. Kopassus: Inside Indonesia's Special Forces. Jakarta: Equinox Publishing.
Cribb, Robert. 2001. “Genocide in Indonesia, 1965–66.Journal of Genocide Research 3(2):219–39.
Cribb, Robert. 2009. “The Indonesian Massacres.” In Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts, eds. Totten, Samuel and Parsons, William, 193217. New York: Routledge.
Cribb, Robert. 2010. “Political Genocides in Postcolonial Asia.” In The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies, eds. Bloxham, Donald and Moses, A. Dirk, 445–64. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Crouch, Harold. [1978] 1988. The Army and Politics in Indonesia. Rev. ed. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Elsam. 2012. Pulangkan mereka! Merangkai ingatan penghilangan paksa di Indonesia [Bring them home! Connecting the memories of disappearances in Indonesia]. Jakarta: Elsam.
Elsam. 2013. Jembatan Bacem [Bacem Bridge]. Jakarta: Elsam. Film on DVD.
Fealy, Greg, and McGregor, Katherine. 2012. “East Java and the Role of the Nahdlatul Ulama in the 1965–66 Anti-Communist Violence.” In The Contours of Mass Violence in Indonesia, 1965–68, eds. Kammen, Douglas and McGregor, Katherine, 104–30. Singapore: NUS Press.
Gerlach, Christian. 2010. Extremely Violent Societies: Mass Violence in the Twentieth-Century World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Green, Marshall. 1965. Telegram from US Embassy in Jakarta to Secretary of State, “Joint Sitep no. 70,” December 29. National Security Archive, Indonesia and East Timor Documentation Project, File 16, p. 16.
Hefner, Robert. 1990. The Political Economy of Mountain Java: An Interpretative History. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Herlina, Nina. 2012. “‘Tatar Sunda’ digoncang konflik sosial politik” [The “Sunda realm” shaken by social-political conflict]. In Malam bencana 1965 dalam belitan krisis nasional, bagian II: Konflik lokal [The disastrous night of 1965 in the coils of the national crisis, part II: Local conflicts], eds. Abdullah, Taufik, Abdurrachman, Sukri, and Gunawan, Restu, 5178. Jakarta: Obor.
Hidayat, Mansur. 1999. Biografi politik I Gusti Putu Merta (1913–1992) [A political biography of I Gusti Putu Merta (1913–1992)]. BA thesis, Udayana University, Faculty of Arts.
Hughes, John. [1967] 2002. The End of Sukarno: A Coup that Misfired: A Purge that Ran Wild. Singapore: Archipelago Press. First published as Indonesian Upheaval.
Indonesia. 1986. “Report from East Java.” Translated by Benedict Anderson. 41.
Kammen, Douglas, and Jenkins, David. 2012. “The Army Para-commando Regiment and the Reign of Terror in Central Java and Bali.” In The Contours of Mass Violence in Indonesia, 1965–68, eds. Kammen, Douglas and McGregor, Katherine, 75103. Singapore: NUS Press.
Komnas HAM [National Human Rights Commission]. 2012. Pernyataan Komnas HAM tentang hasil penyelidikan pelanggaran HAM yang berat peristiwa 1965–1966 [Statement by the National Human Rights Commission on the results of the investigation into gross human rights violations during the 1965–1966 event]. Jakarta: Komnas HAM.
Komnas Perempuan [National Commission on Violence Against Women]. 2007. Mendengarkan suara korban perempuan peristiwa 1965 [Listening to the voices of the women victimized in the 1965 event]. Jakarta: Komnas Perempuan.
Kompas. 2015. “Kalla: Pemerintah tidak akan minta maaf untuk kasus HAM 1965” [Kalla: The government will not apologize for human rights cases in 1965]. November 11. http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2015/11/11/19201271/Kalla.Pemerintah.Tidak.Akan.Minta.Maaf.untuk.Kasus.HAM.1965 (accessed March 12, 2016).
Leksana, Grace. 2009. “Reconciliation through History Education: Reconstructing the Social Memory of the 1965–66 Violence in Indonesia.” In Reconciling Indonesia: Grassroots Agency for Peace, ed. Bräuchler, Birgit, 175–91. New York: Routledge.
Lubis, Firman. 2008. Jakarta 1960an: Kenangan semasa mahasiswa [Jakarta in the 1960s: Reminiscences of my student days]. Jakarta: Musup Jakarta.
Magnis-Suseno, Franz. 2015. “Membersihkan dosa kolektif G30S” [Cleansing the collective sin of the September 30th Movement]. Kompas. September 29. http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2015/09/29/16000001/Membersihkan.Dosa.Kolektif.G30S?page=all (accessed March 12, 2016).
McGregor, Kate. 2012. “Mass Graves and the Memories of the 1965 Indonesian Killings.” In The Contours of Mass Violence in Indonesia, 1965–68, eds. Kammen, Douglas and McGregor, Katherine, 234–62. Singapore: NUS Press.
Melvin, Jessica. 2013. “Interview with Joshua Oppenheimer.” Inside Indonesia 112. http://www.insideindonesia.org/an-interview-with-joshua-oppenheimer (accessed March 13, 2016).
Melvin, Jessica. 2015. “Documenting Genocide.” Inside Indonesia 122. http://www.insideindonesia.org/documenting-genocide (accessed March 13, 2016).
Melvin, Jessica. Forthcoming. Mechanics of Mass Murder: How the Indonesian Military Initiated and Implemented the Indonesian Genocide, the Case of Aceh. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.
Mun'im DZ, H. Abdul. 2013. Benturan NU-PKI, 1948–1965 [The NU-PKI clash: 1948–1965]. Depok: Langgar swadaya nusantara.
New York Times. 1966. “Sukarno Reports Killing of 87,000.” January 16.
Oei Tjoe Tat. 1995. Memoar Oei Tjoe Tat: Pembantu Presiden Soekarno [The memoir of Oei Tjoe Tat: President Soekarno's assistant]. Jakarta: Hasta mitra.
Oppenheimer, Joshua, and Uwemedimo, Michael. 2009. “Show of Force: A Cinema-Séance of Power and Violence in Sumatra's Plantation Belt.Critical Quarterly 51(1):84110.
Poesponegoro, Marwati Djoened, and Notosusanto, Nugroho. 1990. Sejarah nasional Indonesia [The national history of Indonesia]. 6 vols. 6th ed.Jakarta: Balai Pustaka.
Prior, John Mansford. 2011. “The Silent Scream of a Silenced History: Part One: The Maumere Massacre of 1966.Exchange 40:117–43.
Ricklefs, Merle. 1993. A History of Modern Indonesia since c. 1300. 2nd ed.Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Robben, Antonius C. G. M. 2005. Political Violence and Trauma in Argentina. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Robinson, Geoffrey. 1995. The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Roosa, John. 2006. Pretext for Mass Murder: The September 30th Movement and Suharto's Coup d’État in Indonesia. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Roosa, John. 2012. “The September 30th Movement: The Aporias of the Official Narratives.” In The Contours of Mass Violence in Indonesia, 1965–68, eds. Kammen, Douglas and McGregor, Katherine, 2549. Singapore: NUS Press.
Roosa, John. 2013. “Who Knows? Oral History Methods in the Study of the Massacres of 1965–66 in Indonesia.Oral History Forum d'histoire orale 33:129.
Schaefer, Bernd, and Wardaya, Baskara T., eds. 2013. 1965: Indonesia and the World. Jakarta: Gramedia.
Setiyono, Budi, and Triyana, Bonnie, eds. 2003. Revolusi belum selesai: Kumpulan pidato Presiden Soekarno 30 September 1965—Pelengkap Nawaksara [The revolution is not yet finished: A collection of the speeches of President Sukarno from September 30, 1965 to the supplement to the Nawaksara speech]. Semarang: Mesiass.
Simpson, Bradley. 2008. Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960–1968. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Stern, Steve. 2006. Battling for Hearts and Minds: Memory Struggles in Pinochet's Chile, 1973–1988. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.
Strassler, Karen. 2005. “Material Witnesses: Photographs and the Making of Reformasi Memory.” In Beginning to Remember: The Past in the Indonesian Present, ed. Zurbuchen, Mary, 278311. Singapore: NUS Press.
Suara Indonesia. 1965. “Badan Koordinasi Kesatuan Aksi Pengganjangan Kontrev Gestapu” [Unified Coordinating Body of Actions for the Destruction of the Counterrevolutionary September 30th Movement]. December 10.
Sukarno. 1966. Djangan sekali-kali meninggalkan sedjarah [Never abandon history]. Jakarta: Prapantja.
Sunyoto, Agus. 1996. Banser berjihad: Menumpas PKI [Banser's holy war: Crushing the PKI]. Tulungagung: Pesulukan thoriqoh agung.
Tempo. 2012. “Liputan khusus: Pengakuan algojo” [Special report: The confessions of the executioners]. October 1–7, 50–125.
Tempo. 2015. “Kisah Tom Iljas, diusir dari Indonesia karena ziarah ke makam orang tua” [The story of Tom Ilyas, expelled from Indonesia for making the pilgrimage to the grave of his father]. October 18. http://nasional.tempo.co/read/news/2015/10/18/078710584/kisah-tom-iljas-diusir-dari-indonesia-karena-ziarah-ke-makam-orang-tua (accessed March 13,2016).
Tri Hasworo, Rinto. 2004. “Penangkapan dan pembunuhan di Jawa tengah setelah G-30-S” [Arrests and murders in Central Java after the September 30th Movement]. In Tahun yang tak pernah berakhir: Memahami pengalaman korban '65: Esai-esai sejarah lisan [The year that never ended: Understanding the experience of the victims of '65: Oral history essays], eds. Roosa, John, Ratih, Ayu, and Farid, Hilmar, 2560. Jakarta: Elsam.
van Klinken, Gerry. 2013. Murder in Maumere: Postcolonial Citizenship. Inaugural lecture 477. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam.
Vickers, Adrian. 2005. A History of Modern Indonesia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wiludiharto, Yayan. 2004. “Penantian panjang di jalan penuh batas” [A long wait on a road full of obstacles]. In Tahun yang tak pernah berakhir: Memahami pengalaman korban '65: Esai-esai sejarah lisan [The year that never ended: Understanding the experience of the victims of '65: Oral history essays], eds. Roosa, John, Ratih, Ayu, and Farid, Hilmar, 6186. Jakarta: Elsam.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0021-9118
  • EISSN: 1752-0401
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-asian-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed