RESPONDING to solve the mystery of 1965 tragedy, the government for the first time in history organized an official event to openly discuss the 1965 massacre, involving the survivors, the government, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), academics, and human rights groups.
The symposium, spearheaded by Komnas HAM and the Presidential Advisory Board (Wantimpres), will discuss rehabilitation and compensation for the victims of the tragedy, which took place more than 50 years ago and remains a deeply sensitive topic in Indonesia. The event will occur ahead of a May 2 deadline for settling serious past human rights violations, as declared by Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan last month.
The two-day event, entitled “Dissecting the 1965 tragedy”, comprised discussions among stakeholders and aimed to provide recommendations for the government on the efforts to settle the past atrocities. The organizers invited three sides to the symposium: members or relatives of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), ex-military personnel who were involved in operations against members of the PKI, and those who were accused of being PKI members and communist academics.
The two-day symposium on the 1965 tragedy ended on Monday (18/4/2016), but historians could not reach any conclusions about this dark episode in Indonesian history, although the organizers tried to invite all related parties to participate in the discussion.
Quoting from The Jakarta Post, the kidnapping and murder of six Army generals on Sept. 30, 1965, led to a purge of communists and alleged communist sympathizers by the military under the leadership of Soeharto. In the purge, countless thousands were murdered, tortured and arrested without trial. It is estimated that between five hundred thousan to one million people were killed during the cleansing of people with any leftist connections, regardless of their age or level of connection.
Meanwhile, former Army Special Forces (Kopassus) member Lt. Gen. (Ret) Sintong Pandjaitan was a regiment commander of the Army Para Commando Regiment (RPKAD), which led the anti-PKI campaign in areas across Indonesia. At the symposium, Sintong denied that the number of victims killed after the G30S/PKI incident amounted to hundreds of thousands. “It’s a lie,” the retired military general said as quoted by Tempo. “Such a lie has tainted our honor as RPKAD members,” he went on.
Sintong was referring to the results of an investigation by a fact-finding commission formed by President Soekarno in December 1965 and led by then-Home Minister Maj. Gen. Soemarno. The team concluded that the number of victims was 80,000. President Soekarno was not sure about the investigation results and confided that to a team member, Oei Tjoe Tat. “It is around five to six times higher [than the 80.000 figure],” said Oei, as quoted by Julius Pour in his book Gerakan 30 September.
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Islamic outfit in Indonesia, has called on the government to uncover the truth behind the violence and repression that wracked the nation in 1965-1966. According to NU executive Imam Aziz, the government needs to continue to promote dialogue and shed light on the tragedy.
“The most important thing is to reveal all the facts, and then determine how to continue,” said Imam, adding that revealing the truth would put an end to the “glorification” of the perpetrators, who regarded themselves as victors and heroes.
According to Imam, NU has yet to decide on a firm position in regard to the latest government efforts to settle past human rights abuses and reconcile with the victims, but the ulemas are expected to decide one soon. “I hope NU will take a positive position,” Imam said.
Survivors of the 1965 tragedy have called for reconciliation through the revelation of the truth behind the mass killing of members and sympathizers of PKI and their families. The government of Indonesia stance is a clear. Indonesia’s government doesn’t to apologize to PKI because the botched of PKI efforts to change state ideology, Pancasila to be communism ideology.
Crucially, the mystery of 1965 tragedy has still been blurred because many of vested interest group which come from Indonesia and abroad were politized these issue which could be had “hidden agenda” to raise communist ideology in Indonesia. However, we must alert on the rise of the communist group in Indonesia, because now they are moving under the ground and on all fronts. We must defend our national ideology, Pancasila whatever any risks will be taken.
*) The writer is a historic observer at Galesong Institute and LSISI Jakarta.