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The Indonesian Massacre of 1965 and Reconciliation Efforts in Indonesia
Conflict, Memory, and Reconciliation: Bridging past, present, and future
  • Wayan Ariati, SIT Study Abroad
Start Date
11-1-2012 9:30 AM
End Date
11-1-2012 11:00 AM
Indonesia declared its independence in August 17, 1945 after more than three centuries of colonization by the Dutch, and a short period of Japanese occupation (1942-1945), with Soekarno as the first president and Mohammad Hatta as his vice president. However, as an independent country, Indonesia encountered many problems economically, socially and politically. Under the Soekarno regime known as the Old Order, there were two powers; the Armed Forces (ABRI) and the Communist Party (PKI), both vying for the attention of Soeharto and intent on influencing his economic and political policies. The PKI was the largest communist party outside Russia and China at that time, and as such was perceived as a threat to American security in Asia. Soekarno’s ideology, known as Nasakom (Nationalism, Religion and Communism), was designed to embrace the interests of the nationalists, religious organizations and laypersons and the Communist Party; however, the idea of combining three widely divergent ideologies and approaches to social work triggered endless conflicts that pitted the military and religious organizations against the members of the Communist Part. This conflict came to a head on September 30, 1965, when six generals and a lieutenant were killed in a bungled attempt to head off a coup against Soekarno. Major General Soeharto stepped in at this point, seeing a golden opportunity to pin the blame for the murder of the generals on the Communist Party, and their supposed allies, the Indonesian Women’s Movement (Gerwani), who were falsely accused of having murdered the generals The Massacre of 1965 and its reconciliation efforts in Indonesia in a blood orgy at the Lubang Buaya field in Jakarta. In time Indonesia’s first president was forced to hand over power to Soeharto and during the same period a genocidal campaign was unleashed that brought death to somewhere between 300,000 and a million “communist sympathizers”. While former President Abdurachman Wahid initiated a process of rehabilitation of survivors of the genocide of 1965, to this day Indonesia has yet to work out a program of reconciliation that takes account of the needs of both the victims and perpetrators. This paper is aimed at addressing this issue.
Citation Information
Wayan Ariati. "The Indonesian Massacre of 1965 and Reconciliation Efforts in Indonesia" (2012)
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