1965 Today : Living with the Indonesian Massacres

The year 1965 marked a dramatic turning point in Indonesian history. On 1 October, a shadowy group of left-wing military officers calling itself the 30 September Movement kidnapped and killed several right-wing generals. Surviving generals led by Suharto quickly suppressed the poorly organized group. Reading the movement’s actions as a communist party (PKI) coup attempt, they then undertook a violent backlash against the entire political left. Civilian allies mainly belonging to anti-communist religious groups actively collaborated in the violence. Between 1965 and 1968, about half a million Indonesians were killed, perhaps another million detained without trial. The violence destroyed the social base of Sukarno’s presidency and paved the way for the military regime of General Suharto, the New Order. Millions of survivors and their relatives lost their civil rights, whereas Indonesia reoriented itself towards the (pro-)western world. The nation was changed forever.

Martijn Eickhoff, Gerry van Klinken & Geoffrey Robinson | 2017
In: Journal of Genocide Research, ISSN 1462-3528 ; eISSN 1469-9494 | 19 | 4 | 449-464
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