Daniel Halliday
Jun 16 · Last update 23 days ago.

Why are the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-66 largely forgotten?

500,000 to 1 million Indonesian’s were murdered as part of a campaign of mass murder waged by the Indonesian military and government against the country’s communist party. What started as a failed counter-coup to protect President Sukarno ended in him being overthrown, the start of a corrupt 30 year dictatorship of General Suharto and a national anti-communist purge that came to target communist sympathisers, Gerwani women, ethnic Javanese Abangan, ethnic Chinese and any alleged leftist in the country. The official events are still disputed but its clear that at least half a million were killed and over a million imprisoned in this dark period of history, but why is this massacre not remembered both in Indonesia and abroad? Why has the Indonesia’s 1965 Tragedy been forgotten?
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Cold War media failure
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Cold War media failure

During the Cold War western propaganda has been used to generate antipathy toward communism in the west, which has helped smear understanding of what happened in Indonesia in 1965, and this has become a record that has not been corrected. Media coverage of Indonesia had become propaganda by default prior to 1965 as President Sukarno had banned western journalists, meaning that trusted news sources in Indonesia at the time, such as the BBC, were limited to the sole source of western government embassies. International news quickly began to mirror what was advantageous to the West at the time, and Suharto’s rise to power, and indeed the bloodshed surrounding it, was seen a great victory in the US foreign policy establishment, as Indonesian communists represented the third largest communist party in the world at the time. The mass murders therefore went unreported, Indonesia was a complex picture and fell under a fog of Cold War propaganda and was in some ways overshadowed by more direct US involvement in places like Vietnam at the time.

greanvillepost.com/2020/05/23/how-jakarta-became-the-codeword-for-us-backed-mass-killing nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/indonesia/2017-10-17/indonesia-mass-murder-1965-us-embassy-files theguardian.com/books/2018/mar/15/killing-season-geoffrey-robinson-army-indonesian-genocide-jess-melvinreviews books.google.co.jp/books?id=UFNKQcvGNSAC&pg=PA122&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

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Daniel Halliday
Jun 16