For over half a century, Indonesians have been taught in schools about the killing of six Army generals on Sept. 30, 1965, a one-sided version of history that depicts the cruelty of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and mythologizes the women of Gerwani as a bunch of blood-thirsty sadists.
What they are never taught about is the torture and mass killings of hundreds thousands of people that followed the aborted coup on September 30 that year. For years survivors, activists, researchers, authors, artists and filmmakers have been trying to shine a light on the hidden truth, but the government has not only turned a blind’s eye, it continously shows its unwillingness to look back.
A recent initiative called Ingat65 wants to remind people about this dark period in the country’s history by collecting digital narratives and providing a medium for stories that were left untold and mysteries unresolved to make way for whitewashed and simplified version of the history.
It recalls and retell stories and experiences, and share reflections in writing and audiovisual forms. The aim is to inspire post-1965 generations to talk about the impact of impunity from the perspective of what happened during that period, and to provide a forum for young people to question about the way history has been presented.
One writer tells the story of traveling to Buru Island where her father used to be imprisoned. Another recalls how the disappearance of his grandfather has provided no closure to the family. An unexpected encounter brought this writer to hear the stories of two men who survived after being captured and tortured in 1965.
There are also useful resources and facts about 1965, including this compelling reading list recommended by the website initiator and chief editor Prodita K. Sabarini.
So, do you have something to say about 1965? Check out the guidelines and submit your piece. Spread the unheard version of history.
Read Ayunda’s review of the movie The Lobster.