Retas Sejarah

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It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of civilians were tortured by members of the security forces in Indonesia throughout the New Order regime (1965-1998). This authoritarian, militarist regime seized power following an attempted coup in Jakarta on 1 October 1965. In the aftermath of that coup, elements of the Indonesian military took the opportunity to eradicate their main political rivals, the Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia, or PKI) and all those associated with it. Between October 1965 and March 1966, it is estimated that half a million PKI members and associates were murdered, while a further million were rounded up and held in political detention. Of those detained, hundreds of thousands are estimated to have been interrogated and tortured between 1965 and 1970.

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Oral history is a technique with its very own history (see Thompson, 1988). It is regularly defined in this era as some variation of, “the recorded reminiscences of a person who has first hand knowledge of any number of experiences.” In reviewing the literature, I have discovered seventy definitions of oral history, many of which are overlapping. For ease of understanding this paper, the notion of recording participants’ memories in some form seems to fit. Early in the last century, oral history focused on interviewing elite persons such as generals, famous artists or scientists, great leaders of nations, or anyone who surfaced as distinctive within a given community. At the same time local individuals who had a strong memory of a town, city, state, or region were sometimes seen as knowledgeable in terms of historical events. Thus, it is helpful to view oral history itself on a continuum. On one end, the most sophisticated individual elite may be interviewed, while on the other end we have the most ordinary everyday citizen. Each has much to tell us as we come to understand society in all its complexity.

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In keeping with the overt symbolism that marked political monuments in Suharto’s New Order, the Department of the Interior on Jakarta’s main square was ornamented with a giant kentongan. A kentongan is an instrument made from a hollowed branch that is struck to give off a sound. Kentongan have been used by neighborhood watches (rondo) in Java’s towns and villages for centuries as devices to keep thieves away, to call forth populations for territorial defense, and to keep people alert and ready toward off threats to community well-being. Hung by a mosque, in a guard house, or in front of the village head’s house, it is the quintessential technology for community policing. The kentongan at the Department of the Interior, by virtue of its size and location, would seem to represent a departure from the strictly local connotations of village kentongan. This grand kentongan was undoubtedly meant to provide the many thousands of kentongan in the nation’s villages and towns with a new center with which to resonate. Through a sort of crude symbolism, the installation of this kentongan signified the subordination of local security apparatuses to the overarching security framework provided by the state.

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The question “What does working through the past mean?” requires explication. It follows from a formulation, a modish slogan that has become highly suspect during the last years. In this usage “working through the past” does not mean seriously working upon the past, that is, through a lucid consciousness breaking its power to fascinate. On the contrary, its intention is to close the books on the past and, if possible, even remove it from memory. The attitude that everything should be forgotten and forgiven, which would be proper for those who suffered injustice, is practiced by those party supporters who committed the injustice. I wrote once in a scholarly dispute: in the house of the hangman one should not speak of the noose, otherwise one might seem to harbor resentment. However, the tendency toward the unconscious and not so unconscious defensiveness against guilt is so absurdly associated with the thought of working through the past that there is sufficient reason to reflect upon a domain from which even now there emanates such a horror that one hesitates to call it by name.

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Bagi para peneliti yang mengkaji sejarah Indonesia saat ini, sejarah lisan menawarkan banyak harapan. Sejarah lisan tampak sebagai sebuah metode untuk menggali pengalaman orang biasa, mengatasi keterbatasan dokumen-dokumen tertulis yang tidak banyak dan sering tidak terawat. Sejarah lisan dapat pula menyoroti beberapa episode sejarah yang gelap dan misterius, seperti pembantaian massal 1965-66. Sejak jatuhnya Soeharto pada Mei 1998, sejumlah individu dan organisasi telah melakukan penelitian sejarah lisan mengenai bermacam-macam topik, dari sejarah komunitas kelas buruh hingga kerusuhan di daerah perkotaan yang terjadi pada saat jatuhnya Soeharto. Tidak diragukan lagi minat baru terhadap kisah-kisah pribadi ini merupakan perkembangan yang sehat bagi penulisan sejarahIndonesia, yang masih dihinggapi obsesi positivis akan obyektivitas dan keterpukauan pada sejarah politik pemerintah pusat (yang bisa disebut sebagai pendekatan istana-sentris). Sekarang sudah semakin biasa kita mendengar peneliti berbicara tentang menemukan kembali suara korban kekerasan, suara kaum miskin, dan suara orang kecil atau mereka yang dipinggirkan (subaltern). Meski wawancara lisan dengan kaum elit politik jelas masih diperlukan untuk memahami lebih baik kejadian-kejadian tertentu yang terjadi setelah kemerdekaan, janji lebih besar yang ditawarkan sejarah lisan di Indonesia dewasa ini adalah rangsangan untuk menulis sejarah sosial.

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It seems to me not unnecessary to keep on reminding students of the far-reaching changes which psycho-analytic technique has undergone since its first beginnings. In its first phase—that of Breuer’s catharsis—it consisted in bringing directly into focus the moment at which the symptom was formed, and in persistently endeavouring to reproduce the mental processes involved in that situation, in order to direct their discharge along the path of conscious activity. Remembering and abreacting, with the help of the hypnotic state, were what was at that time aimed at. Next, when hypnosis had been given up, the task became one of discovering from the patient’s free associations what he failed to remember. The resistance was to be circumvented by the work of interpretation and by making its results known to the patient. The situations which had given rise to the formation of the symptom and the other situations which lay behind the moment at which the illness broke out retained their place as the focus of interest; but the element of abreaction receded into the background and seemed to be replaced by the expenditure of work which the patient had to make in being obliged to overcome his criticism of his free associations, in accordance with the fundamental rule of psycho-analysis.

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