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Truth Will Out: Indonesian Accounts of the 1965 Mass Violence

Pride in being Indonesian

The 1965 tragedy in the eyes of a follower of Javanese mysticism

What you are about to read is an account about the 1965 tragedy as seen by a follower of Javanese mysticism. The speaker is Agung Priyambodo (of course this is not his real name) from Yogyakarta. When the 1965 tragedy took place he was a teenager aged 14, still in junior high school, and a member of GSNI (Gerakan Siswa Nasionalis Indonesia, The Indonesian Nationalist High School Students Movement).

The narrative below is a summary of an interview with Agung, transcribed by Kiswondo, a member of the History Commission at PUSdEP who has been active in the student movement since he started studying at Gadjah Mada University. Kiswondo is interested in carrying out further research and working together with survivors of the 1965 tragedy.

My name is Agung Priyambodo. As far as official choice of religion is concerned, mine is Islam, but in cultural terms I am a follower of traditional Javanese mysticism. I live in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. When the 1 October incident happened, I was 14 and at junior high school at SMP Negeri II Yogyakarta, in the 3rd grade. At the time I was active in the extra curricular organization called the Indonesian Nationalist High School Students Movement or GSNI (Gerakan Siswa Nasionalis Indonesia).

All cultures live

The way I see it, there really were those political categories, the nation­alists, the religious (particularly Islam) and the communists. Even at school they were there. But not particularly acutely. They just competed, and there were no violent clashes. At least at school there weren’t. That’s what I experienced anyway. But outside, for instance in neighbourhoods (kampung), it was very clear. There was competition and clashes. In the kampung there were the youth groups Pemuda Rakyat from the Communist Party, Pemuda Marhaen from the National Party (PNI) and there was also Muslim Youth. This boxing into different categories was really acute in the time leading up to the eruption of the 1965 incident. At that time, the situation felt tense.

As far as the concept of NASAKOM went, the way I understood it at the time was as a formulation to show that in actual fact in Indonesia there were three groups, the nationalists, the religious and the communists. But all three could be united with Pancasila. What was promoted was Pancasila. People could group together in order to move towards Pancasila. At that time, according to Sukarno’s teaching, the nationalists in Indonesia were not like the nationalists of Hitler’s time, meaning very extreme nationalist, who felt that their nation is the best or highest among nations, in other words, very chauvinistic. No. And then religion in Indonesia is not religion that supports extremism, where people become totally righteous. The religious in Indonesia remember that the foundation of their country is Pancasila. That’s how it is. So the groupings were merely groupings based on ideology. They were divided clearly. But even more important, at the time all of the groups adhered to religion. It was only their political ideologies that differed.

So it didn’t mean that the nationalists and the communists did not embrace religion. My friends who were active in Pemuda Rakyat also professed a religion. Maybe there were some who didn’t. But that was their own business. In Indonesia that is how it is. Not like overseas. Here the grouping was based on political views: Nationalism, Religion, Communism. These are political views, not a sense of ‘Godhood’. I think that at that time all people embraced religion, believed in God. Especially because the country is based on Pancasila, particularly the first of those five principles, namely belief in the one and only God. That is what I got at the time, when I was still 14.

In Sukarno’s time, even though society was divided into groups, in the cultural arena the atmosphere was brighter. The PNI had their own ketoprak, so did the Communist Party. Funnily enough, at that time the impression was of closeness and harmony. Culture thrived and we were proud of our own culture. We were really proud of our identity in the cultural field.

Great potential

If you follow all the stories that have flourished in society and in history books from the New Order period and afterwards, it is as though the social situation prior to the 1 October 1965 incident was disastrous. It is as though everyone was ready for war, ready to murder other fellow citizens. That is not true! According to me, the situation at that time was not as tragic as it is now. At that time there was clear leadership. Even though there were differences of opinion here and there, the sense of national pride was strong.

For instance, there was an incident when the Pemuda Marhaen undertook a long march, with all their paraphernalia, from Klaten to Yogyakarta, and they were stopped at Prambanan by the Communist group. There was a bit of fighting for a while, but it was nothing like the street fighting today. Today fights break out between students from different universities. Even between different faculties, as often happens in Jakarta and Makassar. There are often fights between junior and senior high school students in Jakarta. In the past it was not like that. There were just a few troublemakers who liked to goad their opponents so they could get into a fight, and then it was over. It was not scary and prolonged like now.

When the 1965 tragedy happened, actually Indonesia was confused and kept questioning: what exactly was going on? Then suddenly there was the G30S, the 1 October 1965 incident. In his speech, Sukarno did not call it ‘G30S’ but ‘Gestok’, meaning Gerakan Satu Oktober (1st October Movement). It turned out that Sukarno had been whisked away to Halim [the Halim Perdana Kusuma airfield, ed.] and so on and so on. Everyone knows the story.

As far as my memory of the time goes, there was a critical political situation, and there were actually two blocks within the army itself. There was the bloc that was consumed by communist ideology, and then the bloc of the nationalists and religious. They were both competing for influence. This happened because of political party influence within the army. So the army was split and consumed by political parties, which resulted in clashes and conflict.

That’s what I remember of that time of my youth. But back then I could not link one event with others. ‘What on earth is really going on? What is moving this country and breaking it apart? Who is involved?’ At the time, there was General Soeharto, the KOSTRAD commander (Army Strategic Reserve Command) who for the sake of security ordered the arrest of the ‘rebels’. The one who was prominent in the field was Colonel Sarwo Edhi Wibowo. I saw for myself Colonel Sarwo Edhi Wibowo32 arrive on the northern alun-alun (square) in Yogyakarta piloting a helicopter, and being greeted.

But after the incident was over, only then did I become aware that there were elements of national division within the army itself. The army should be the protector of the nation, the protector the Revolution, but in actual fact it was fractured and there was internal competition. But at that time I did not have any developed political view. I only knew what I knew – not much. So those generals’ victims were evidently all faithful Sukarno supporters.

They were all murdered. In Jakarta there were six generals and one high ranking officer killed. In Yogyakarta there were two, namely the Commander and Chief of Staff of the Military Area Command (KOREM). At the time I happened to watch the funeral procession of those two commanders in Yogyakarta. The procession included tanks, and passed by my school at SMPN II Yogyakarta. From the direction of Jalan Malioboro the procession turned left into Jalan Senopati, and then to the Heroes’ Cemetery. I saw all of that. According to the story that went around, the murders had happened in Kentungan, in the north of Yogyakarta.

In Yogyakarta, the army was split. The 403 Battalion that was famous as Yon L, short for Battalion L. Yon C [Battalion C] was stationed at the Vredeburg fort. Yon L, they say - and remember this was gossip and I was still young and didn’t know much - was already infilatrated with communist ideology. Meaning it supported the communist party.

The most imporant thing was that although the situation was confused, the people’s economy went on as usual. For instance, civil servants went to work as usual. There was no chaos or social confusion. My mother worked in the private sector as a tailor. She continued to take sewing orders, embroidery and so on. All of this went on as usual. It was just that there were particularly tense times, there were night curfews, there were blackouts, and we were not allowed to light big lamps. We could only light small lamps.

And then followed the arrests of Communist Party members. I have no idea whether they knew anything about rebellion or not, whether they were part of it or not, whether they knew politics or not, but basically they were all arrested. The term used was ‘ciduk’ or ‘scooping’. People were ‘scooped’. I saw that with my own eyes. One day when I was coming home from school with a group of kids I saw how that scooping worked. I saw the arrest of the husband of the woman who sold gudheg just south of the Mijilan arch (Plengkung Mijilan). But I did not know whether he was sent back home again or not. Maybe he died in custody or he was murdered or something. I forget his name. I witnessed that incident myself. If I go there to buy gudheg today I always remember that the husband of the woman selling gudheg there was arrested. I remember it clearly. The woman is old now, but still spritely. That is one incident that I remember.

With regard to the ‘scoopings’ and kidnappings, I think that the situation at the time was not particularly chaotic. At least in the area where I lived. I lived in the Kraton district in Panembahan, Yogyakarta. The head of Pemuda Rakyat, who I knew, was taken. He was taken along with a painter. There were also people from Lekra [Lembaga Keduayaan Rakyat, the Institute of People’s Culture]. At that time, remember that many artists were adopted by Lekra. They actually had terrific potential. Ketoprak performers, painters, and people involved with gamelan – they were arrested too. Two ketoprak performers from Rotowijayan, Yatin and Kdhariyah were their names, were also arrested. I know that.


In the time leading up to the early morning 1 October 1965 incident, my neighbourhood happened to be in the process of building a community centre. It was called ‘Balai RK’ or Harmonious Kampung Centre, because back then we used the term ‘kampung’ not ‘kelurahan’. As a fundraising effort to build the centre we put on a ketoprak performance titled ‘Kridho Mardi’ at Sasono Hinggil [the large open pavillion on the northern square or alun-alun, trs]. I went to watch because my father happened to be on the organizing committee. The prominent ketoprak figures in Panembahan all happened to be associated with Lekra. I can still remember the ketoprak performances I watched as a kid. The stories were really great. If you compare them with ketoprak stories today there is a big difference. They were much better. Back then the performers could really perform character. That’s about all that I remember.

As for the killings, I didn’t see them. At the time I was still at school, although then school was stopped for a while. In August [1965] I should have had my junior high school examinations. But the examinations were postponed. They were finally held in January 1966. In 1966 I started senior high school. I forget exactly when, but it was the beginning of the year. But what was really going on, people said, was a tragedy. They said that the people who had been ‘scooped up’ by the army were later taken in closed trucks and put into camps like in Hitler’s time. The majority of the ones classified as Group B were detained on the island of Nusa Kambangan, and later moved to Buru Island. Those classified as group C were detained in local prisons.

Another group, they said, were executed by being thown into a well in a ravine in the area of Wonosari, Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta.33 They were lined up, shot, and then thrown into the opening of the ravine. According to the story going around, some were not shot, but were blindfolded, their hands bound, and made to walk even though in front of them was the mouth of that deep ravine. Beneath the ravine was an underground river. So they fell into the ravine. Back then, my parents would not allow me to play very far away, because the situation was critical. So I truly did not know what was going on. I only knew from the stories going around. And it was only after it was all over, I can’t remember the year exactly, that I knew because I was told.

Actually, there was no conflict or fighting. It is strange. The situation at the top [political elite] was explosive, but for school and university students there was nothing. Everything was calm, peaceful and went on as normal. There was no particularly sharp conflict.

At school, for instance, there was no conflict. The atmosphere was normal. For instance, those school students whose parents were in the Communist Party, or who joined the IPPI [Ikatan Pemuda Pelajar Indonesia, League of Indonesian Youth and Students. Trs], were treated as normal by the teachers. They were merely called up and given a warning. Some stayed at school and went on to university. At that time there were even some who entered AKABRI [the armed forces academy. Trs].

Later I also remembered when the CHTH building [Chung Hua Tjung Hwee] was surrounded. It was surrounded by the masses, because there was a rumour going around saying that the Pemuda Rakyat were going to set fire to the Great Mosque [Masjid Agung] or the Kauman Mosque, or somewhere, I don’t exactly know. Then the army came and there was shooting, a kind of battle. I was there but hiding in the central post office building. I slipped through the fence together with my friends, and peeped through the iron grill of the fence. The KONI building to the west of the Post Office used to be the CHTH building. The CHTH was in Chinese characters and I don’t know what it meant. Because there were a lot of Chinese who joined the communists, their position was dangerous. My friend who was head of the Pemuda Rakyat was arrested and taken to Nusa Kambangan island. I forget his name, but I know him. His house was in the Langenastran area. He was a true communist. And his entire family were communist figures.

Then there was tension between students. Particularly after the Indonesian National Party [PNI, Partai Nasional Indonesia] split. At that time there was a rumour that the PNI had been involved, that some of their main figures were involved. So the PNI split into ‘PNI Asu’ and ‘PNI Osa-Usep’.34 And KAPPI emerged, [Kesatuan Aksi Pemuda dan Peladjar Indonesia, the Indonesian Youth and Student Action Union, trs] and also KAMI (Kesatuan Aksi Mahasiswa Indonesia, the Indonesian Student Action Union). The place that was formerly the headquarters of Pemuda Rakyat and IPPI, in the southern square (alun-alun selatan), which is now where Pak Ahmad’s saté stall is, was taken over by KAMI and KAPPI. After the 1965 tragedy, the Islam group were riding high, because the communist group was considered to be atheist.

Do not judge

After the 1965 tragedy, the economic situation was in a mess. As for the socio-political situation, because I was still young at the time, I didn’t really know. After Soeharto took over the government, the economy felt even worse. The offices that had previously got quotas of rice, now got rice that was mouldy, because it had been stored too long in the storehouses. Some only got brown cracked wheat which tasted gluggy. Others got corn that had been milled but was still rough and not yet flour. It was after Soeharto had been governing for a long time, when Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX was vice president, that there was a quota of artificial rice made from cassava, corn and beans called ‘Beras Tekad’.

It was Sri Sultan HB IX who officially launched that program. I myself experienced being sent by my parents to get our quota of rice. I went from Panembahan to the Tax Office in Jalan Senopati. The office was close to my school. I rode my bicycle with the milled corn on the back. These days we only use corn to feed the chickens. Back then people ate corn. That was around the time when Sukarno stepped down, around 1966–1967.

We used to eat rice mixed with cracked wheat (bulgur), then rice mixed with corn. I can still remember this, because it was my job to get our quota of corn-rice. The food supply was worst at the beginning of Pak Harto’s government. During Sukarno’s time, civil servants had rice as their basic foodstuff. But after the change of government, rice was replaced with bulgur and corn-rice. That milled corn really stank. That’s what I found. As for school, everything went on just fine, there were no interruptions.

Once I was adult, and following the teachings I adhere to, I became convinced that no situation happens without cause. Everything that happened above did so as the consequence of the spirituality of someone who transgresses God’s laws. It is because there are these transgressions that eventually suffering occurs. In the Javanese belief system, in this world people merely ‘ngunduh pekerti’ (reap the result of their actions) from previous life. Because of that now we are duty bound to ‘nandur kebecikan’ or to ‘plant good’ so that what will be reaped in the future will be good. Whether or not in the following period people are ‘tumimba lahir’ or ‘born again’, we don’t know. That is God’s business. What we know is that we are duty bound to plant kindness. About the 1965 tragedy, perhaps that was reaping the fruits of what happened before it. It could be that something happened way back in the Majapahit era or Mataram era, and in 1965 we reaped the results of it, couldn’t it? So we reap what was sown in the past.

Now does this mean what happened in 1965 can be called a ‘natural event’ or something ‘legitimate’? Well, I see it like this. Mankind can actually choose to be the go-between of good or the go-between of evil. That is an unavoidable reality. Because of this, in the present we are duty bound, with full consciousness, to sow good, to pay homage to God, to the state, to our parents and elders, and so forth. And we also need to pay homage to teachings of virtue, we must not denigrate other religions and so forth. These things should be done to bring about peace in life, so that one’s national and social life is calm and peaceful. If these things are transgressed there will certainly be chaos. There are two kinds of suffering or redemption of sin, physical and spiritual. For instance, there are people who like to show devotion, whose piety is excellent, yet they are physically sick. This means that this person is reaping the result of his or her former deeds. On the other hand, when we see someone who is physically good, but whose mind is sick, that means that the karma he has got is mental karma. So here we have to see that he must have done something so that he now reaps this mental suffering. That is what the Pangestu teaching that I follow says.

According to the teachings of Javanese mysticism, people must not be involved in murder, arrest or banishing of people for any reason whatsoever. Why? Because that means judging others. That is not allowed. We must show love to everyone. This must be based on the belief that God is the All Forgiving, and therefore people must learn to forgive one another. People must not hate. Only God has the right to judge. In the case of those who are legal judges by profession, they judge, but this is done because their profession is to carry out the law of the state. But even so the judge must decide something in the name of God. That is why judges must adhere to the existing laws and they cannot do whatever they like.

In principle, it is impossible for us to judge other human beings, because we are not God. Because God is All Forgiving, we have to learn to forgive. Because God is All Compassionate, we too must learn to help others who are sad or in misery. If people want to redeem their sins they have to learn much about forgiving, and then must cheer those who are sad. People may not judge their fellows.

Fear of being accused

The effect of political conflict that happened in the mid 1960s was sensed right to the level of family. At that time, there were splits between siblings in one family, or between uncles because of their different political choices. At that time, a political choice was made truly because of ideology, so that people tended to become ideological. These days, people join parties not because of any ideology, but just because of trends. For instance, today they join party A, then tomorrow shift to party B and so on. It used not to be like that. Back then there was the phrase ‘I will follow Sukarno in life and death’. Now, who would dare say something like that? And were there people who said ‘I will follow Soeharto in life and death?’ … no, there weren’t. But back then the slogan was clear: I’m with Sukarno, in life and death.’

During Sukarno’s time, people chose a political party because of its ideology, or ideals, and they had clear programs. For instance, the National Party (PNI) was clearly based on Pancasila, its principles were to work towards an Indonesia that was just and prosperous, and its programs supported Sukarno’s political programs. It was clear that its leader was Sukarno, the party was PNI with the Marhaeanist Front, and its ideas were to attain a Glorious Indonesia based on Pancasila. But nowadays those parties are vague. When I was in junior high school I already knew about politics. I could sense that the politics and love for the motherland and nation was extremely strong. That spirit was really deep. There was fervour. We used to group together and make political organizations. Even though I was still young, still just a junior high school student, I was already fired up with patriotism and nationalism.

Someone who was really good at making speeches back then was not Megawati, but her younger sister, Rahmawati Sukarnoputri. In the 1960s, Rahmawati once took part in a meeting of the Marhaen Youth (Pemuda Marhaen) at the City Hall (Gedung Negara) in Yogyakarta, which is now called the Gedung Agung. There she explained the meaning of Pancasila, raising her left fist and shouting ‘Marhaen menang’, ‘Marhaen victorious!’, and, ‘with Pancasila, the common people will be victorious!’ Back then, PNI’s nationalism was still really pure. Not like the other parties. They did not give priority to nationalism. Back then, Pancasila, love of the motherland, and a sense of nationalism were truly inspiring. It wasn’t just lip service, but really sensed, from our thoughts to our hearts and actions. Basically, their ideals were a glorious Indonesia based on Pancasila. And in our minds the one who was the leader of this was called Sukarno. There was no other. Follow Sukarno in life and in death!

Now, in situations like these, often relations within a family can become estranged. If in one family there are some who become communist, then family relations can become estranged, or some get frozen out. For instance there was someone in my wider family on my grandfather’s side, I can’t remember his name, and many of his children joined the communists, and because of this they were ostracized. Relations became strained, I did not know why. For many years afterwards there was still a kind of trauma. Only much later did I know: oh, I see, they were communist. It is not actually necessarily true whether he was or was not, whether he was wrong or not, because there was no legal process at all, but they were immediately accused of being communist and then ostracized from society.

Back then, something was going on quietly, and that was by the Church. The Church extended a helping hand to victims of the 1965 incident. In particular to those who were ostracized. They then became Christian, along with their families. There are such examples. For instance, many people in … [the informant mentions the name of a place, but it is unclear, ed.]. In this place, there was a family whose parents were involved, and then the Church cared for them. They ended up being given Christian ideology and this has continued right up to now. That’s just some of them, not everyone of course. So at that time Christianity flourished from this. The social sense helped.

In the religious field, children of communists experienced an interesting development. They fervently embraced religion. I don’t know the reason for this, but many became Christians or Buddhists. Perhaps because Islam hated them. To Islam, they were a huge disgrace. And because they were not accepted into the Islamic group, they became Protestant, Catholic or Buddhist.

For example, my grandfather’s older brother later embraced Buddhism. After the situation got safe a few years later we started visiting each other again. I was shocked because he had really changed. The way he talked was different. Now he talked about religion, especially about things to do with God, based on Buddhism. Before the 1965 incident, all the relations used to pay visits to the grandparents at Idul Fitri. But after the 1965 incident we stopped making those visits. The reason was we were afraid of being accused of being linked to them.

No place allowed

According to some experts, the majority of Communist and National Party supporters were ‘Kejawen’ or ‘Abangan’, that is, followers of traditional Javanese beliefs or those who were only nominally Muslim. And for sure there was a group that did not have any formal religion, but followed traditional beliefs because they held the conviction that Javanese also had their own true belief system. According to them, this nation has its own spirital foundations. In their eyes, even though the religions that come from outside of Indonesia are also true, they do not feel the need to embrace them, because we here have our own, original truth. My own religion is Islam, because I come from a Muslim family. But in terms of belief, I am a follower of Pangestu or Paguyuban Ngesti Tunggal. Pangestu is an organization that has existed since 1949.

Because of the accusation going around that the majority of PKI and PNI members who were followers of traditional beliefs were ‘atheist’, the result was that it was as though they were not allowed any place. There was the idea that they had no religion. And this kind of idea arose because people saw that the ‘truest’ religions were those ones officially sanctioned by the state. And the mistake was right there. But in Pak Harto’s time in the Government Decree MPR No IV of 1978 it says ‘Religion/Belief’ (‘Agama/Kepercayaan’).

Being an example

If I have to answer the question ‘what really happened in the 30th September Movement’, or ‘actually what was the issue in the early hours of the morning of 1 October 1965’, I would say that at that time it seemed that the urge of communist ideology to dominate was a real political problem. Even until now anything called ‘politics’ always has the element of the desire to dominate. In campaigns, this is what they do. So the desire to dominate goes on in all political groups. Political competition is normal.

According to me, what happened in 1965 is connected to the tensions between the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc at the time. At that time the Western Bloc, particularly the United States, was afraid of the communist ideology that was flourishing everywhere. Particularly with Sukarno’s politics at the time proclaiming the principle of the Jakarta-Peking-Phnom Penh axis. I think that The United States and the entire Western Block were afraid on all fronts. They were the ones who supported what happened in 1965. The proof is that after the 1965 incident, they colonized the economy here. Their products were traded freely here. After 1965 there was the domination of the Western Bloc politics, especially the United States. That’s a fact.

Now, what if Sukarno had not been deposed and his government programs had been allowed to continue? The question is, if those programs had gone on, could the nation and the people of Indonesia have been able to progress? Answering this question, this is what I think. The measurement is not one of ‘more or less progress’. What is clear is that had Sukarno’s government programs been allowed to operate fully, then, at the very least, Indonesian society would have a sense of national identity. This nation of Indonesia has a colour that is specific to us, and we have our own particular behaviour. Sukarno’s ideals were clear. He showed that Indonesian identity is like this, our culture is like this, and our way of acting is like this. These were the values that Sukarno nationalism clung to. But it was not chauvinistic nationalism. We acknowledged the nationalism of others too, we also fraternized with other nations. It is a pity Sukarno was weak in economics. This is because his basis was not economics. It was also because he was too strong in his ambition to emphasize ‘lighthouse politics’. He wanted to raise his ego to be on the same level as other nations.

I think that Sukarno acted prematurely. His programs were not supported by the economic, social and political conditions. I think they were before their time. But Sukarno was [impatient to appear] at the forefront. What he did was truly extraordinary. Taking his cue from the Olympics, he put on the ‘Ganefo’ or Games of the New Emerging Forces; he held the Asia Africa Conference; he made ‘Conefo’ or the Conference of the New Emerging Forces; he dared to speak at the United Nations; he even dared to say to America, ‘Go to hell with your aid!’. He was aware that the aid given by the Western Bloc, especially the United States, would often become the tool to colonize this nation.

As far as the economy goes, the New Order was advanced, but its economic ideology was weak. Its economic ideology was weak and national identity collapsed. If you have development, it should be thorough development, not just physical development, but also the mental development of the nation. This has still not been achieved. In Sukarno’s terms, this was called ‘nation and character building’. This is important; physical and mental development. Unfortunately now this is still a mess.

Today this nation is still shakey, and infatuated with material bling, worldly bling. Especially money. This is because the character of the nation of Indonesian is not yet shaped. And so it vanishes. Ideally, the leaders at the top should be exemplary. They should act nobly, be of good character. But these days, such ideals of the nobles of old are far from our hopes. So, will the ideals of ‘justice and prosperity’ ever be achieved? According to the elders, it takes 75 years for a nation to organize itself after it becomes independent. If this is the case, maybe it will only be after 100 years that we can approximate the United States in social, economic and political life.

Our own nation

According to humanitarian values, in actual fact violence and humanitarian tragedies should not happen. People should not act like that. A situation of harmony, peace, and love should be built into the life of the nation and the state. And within it there should be love of one nation towards others. As we know, one of the ideals of a nation’s foreign relations is to forward world peace. And domestically, it should be more the striving for peace.

In the ideology of Pancasila it is clear that what is aimed for is just and civilized humanity and social justice for all of the people of Indonesia. The Pancasila reflects this. We must not stray from this. If we stray from this, it means contradicting what has been agreed. So what happened to this nation is not punishment from God, but the result of its own actions, the actions of the nation of Indonesia itself. We have to take this lesson so that no such tragedy will happen again in the future. And in order for such a thing not to happen, as a nation we Indonesians must follow the ideology of Pancasila. That is definitely right. To believe in God in the right way each according to his or her own religion, to live harmoniously with those of other faiths, then there will be peace. If we taunt each other and clash with each other there will definitely be chaos.

In the interests of education about democracy and political ethics in the future, I hope that the present generation will hold to elements of Indonesian identity, and become complete Indonesians. Take the Japanese, for instance, their identity is clear. They wear kimonos and so forth with a sense of pride. And as for us? Are we proud to wear traditional Javanese dress? Probably we’d be laughed at. We prefer to wear suits. Even though this is just a style of dress, which can change. Even so, the more important thing is to strengthen morals and sense of identity. We have to feel proud to be called Indonesia.

But these days we are just the servant of other countries. In Sukarno’s time this sort of thing was really attacked. He said: we are not a nation of coolies, we are not a ‘soya bean cake nation’; here’s my chest, show me yours. During colonial times, this kind of mental attitude was really forged. In these modern times, in this era of economic colonization, our nation has been pulled into the current of capitalist gain. Many of our fellow citizens have become capitalists. Nowadays the Neoklim [Neo-Kolonialis & Neo-Imperialis] or Neo Colonialists and Neo Imperialists are our own people.

32 The commander of the army’s Komando Regiment (RPKAD), a special military force charged with leading the anti-communist purge.

33 A natural well that is linked to an underground current that leads to the sea.

34 PNI Asu was the acronym for PNI under the leadership of Ali Sastroamidjojo and Surachman, while ‘PNI Osa-Usep’ was the name for PNI under the leadership of Osa Maliki and Usep Ranuwidjaja.

Truth Will Out: Indonesian Accounts of the 1965 Mass Violence

   by Dr. Baskara T. Wardaya SJ