1965 marked a turning point in Indonesian history. A failed putsch on 1 October was followed swiftly by a violent backlash against the Left. About half a million were killed, perhaps another million and a half detained without trial. The violence paved the way for the military regime of General Suharto, the New Order. Millions of survivors and their relatives lost their civil rights. The nation was changed forever.
For half a century, serious discussion of this shocking violence has been taboo within Indonesia. However, the taboo has begun to lift in recent years. This symposium organized by the NIOD, KITLV and UCLA is held for the first time on October 1 and 2, exactly fifty years after the putsch. Specialist from Europe, America, Australia and Indonesia speak about this period of violence and the implications for Indonesian society. Western perceptions of the violent events are also topic of the symposium.
The Year of Living Dangerously
During this event at cinema Het Ketelhuis we will screen two contemporary films with expressing a western view of the events in Indonesia, among which The Year of Living Dangerously (1982). Two films will be screened that in different ways show how the political events were represented and received outside Indonesia. Expert Ariel Heryanto will deliver the keynote lecture: Beyond the 1965 Bloodbath Questions: ‘Why have contemporary youths not been more engaged?’ More information: here
Specialists will further explore this period on the second day at the IISH. The American researcher Geoffrey Robinson, for example, will in his lecture cover Indonesia’s anti-leftist violence from a comparative perspective, and Indonesian expert Abdul Wahid will talk about the ‘Cleansing of Leftist Elements’ in Indonesian Public universities after the 1965 coup. More information: here
From 1 to 9 October, 2015, the International Institute of Social History (IISH) will display a small exhibition about the mass violence which occurred in Indonesia in 1965 and 1966. The exhibition will comprise reports, books and memoirs from the IISH collection.