maandag 27 april 2015

Baskara between Sukarno and Soeharto

Baskara T. Wardaya is an Indonesian Jesuit priest, a doctor of history from Marquette University, Wisconsin. His doctoral dissertation was about the relations between USA and Indonesia, 1955-1965. He has published several books on the Tragedy of 1965, the need to give honest and detailed accounts of what happened in the period 1965-1980 with the great number of victims of the so-called anti-Communist killings (estaimated between half and one million).
Last week I read three of his publications. In 2007 he published Menguak Misteri Kekuasaan Soeharto (Yogyakarta: Galang Press, 2007) is a critical study of many aspects of the Soeharto government. The elections of 1955 were quite fair, but under Soeharto (after 1965) there was only manipulation and oppression. The Tragedy of 1965 must be cleard and accepted as part of Indonesia's Past, but in a critical way. Until now no open research had been possible. Baskara concentrates here on the injustice as to East Timor.
In 2012 Baskara published Luka Bangsa Luka Kita. Pelanggaran HAM Masa Lalu dan Tawaran Rekonsiliasi (Yogyakarta: Galang), where most of the book as a reprint of the official report by the National Committee of Human Rights about 'The Event of 1965-1966' (Peristiwa 1965-1966, to use a more neutral terminology.
In 2006 Baskara already published a book about modern Indonesian history, beginning with Sukarno attacking colonialism. The second chapter is about the involvement of the USA in several episodes of the Sukarno Period, especially the revolts of PRRI and Permesta. Third chapter is about the Tragedy of 1965, while the fourth a last chapter is a reappraisal of Sukarno as the Guru of the Indonesian Country and a comparison with Soeharto, which is more positive for Sukarno, although both leaders are blamed for authoritarian rule.
As to the tragedy of 1965 Baskara divided the reality in three issues: 1) what happened in Jakarta between 28 September-5 October 1965? He states again and again that the 'leaders' of G30S were member of the army, Angkatan Darat, like Soeharto, not of the navy or the air force, as is often mentioned. Soeharto knew some of them in person and met them just a few days previous to 30 September; 2) what happened between mid October and late December 1965? In Mid-October the kilings began in Semarang (Chinese) and Boyolali (Javanese farmers) and concentrated on Central Java. In Novembers this moved to East Java and in December it was in Bali that these atrocities took place in Bali with probably more than 100,000 dead. Who was the orgestrator, the dalang. It was definitely not Sukarno. The names of Soeharto and Sarwo Edhie (father in law of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, until 2014 President of Indonesia) are not mentioned. The ambassador of the USA is mentioned as someone who supported the killoings. But who was/were active in the field? 3) the long process of putting people in prison and out of society.
Baskara is not the only one to write about these issues. Many sections of the book 2006 were already published in the newspaper kompas and read at seminars. But he is open and outspoken. It is not the final study. I missed one element of the process here: who were the demonstrators against Sukarno in 1966? KAMI came together in the house of the Catholic students. Cosmas Batubara, a Catholic Batak, was an important drive behind the student protests against Communism and Sukarno. Fellow Jesuit Father Joop Beek, was also important in his influence on students. This could have been elaborated further!

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