Next Monday and Tuesday, the Indonesian Government is set to hold a symposium on the mass killings that took place in 1965-66. The government has recently been reluctant to allow open discussions about the killings, but this symposium, which will feature one of the first formal meetings between members of the Indonesian military and survivors of the horrific atrocities, has given hope to many that the country is ready to face its dark past in order to find truth and reconciliation.
But it is clear that that hope will not be easily attained. There are still many elements within the government and Indonesian civil society that want to destroy those seeking the truth about the mass killings, and they continue to be able to harass and assault anybody considered to be a “leftist” with near total impunity.
Last night, a meeting of a group called The Foundation for the Research of the 1965-1965 Killing Victims (YPKP) from across Indonesia were meeting in Bogor to prepare for next week’s symposium. Most of the group’s members are over 65 years old.
According to a Facebook post by activist and political cartoonist Toni Malakian, the YPKP meeting was raided and disbanded by members of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) as well as members of the police and the Satpol PP (Civil Service Police).
In the post, Toni says the 60 members of YPKP felt they had to leave Bogor because of the raid so they decided to go to the offices of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) for housing and protection. The post asks that anybody who could donate supplies such as fans, pillows, blankets, food and medicine, to please deliver them to the LBH office.
It is absolutely disgusting that the thugs of the FPI would threaten a group of elderly people who have already experienced so much pain and tragedy in their lives. It is even more disgusting that they were apparently assisted by the police and will likely face no repercussions for it whatsoever.
The below video features Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth and KontraS Coordinator Haris Azhar discussing the imperative need for the Indonesian government to establish a meaningful truth and reconciliation process for the 1965-66 massacres. But if groups like FPI are allowed to keep attacking those who would seek the truth, and the police and other elements of the government allow them to get away with it, we have serious doubts that reconciliation will ever be achieved.