Retas Sejarah

Index / Official Historiography

The personal trauma associated with the intense violence that engulfed Indonesia between October and December 1965 is not enough to explain how an open and documented history of the killings was silenced for over 33 years. Likewise, the New Order government’s political and military power to suppress competing historical accounts cannot fully elucidate this enduring silence. History is a story about who controls the means of historical consciousness as well as the production of narratives. Therefore, part of the answer of what enabled the forgetting of the Indonesian killings can be found in an examination of the Suharto regime’s propaganda project. This established communism as a social evil and New Order military authoritarianism as the antidote. An assessment of this narrative demonstrates how officially generated anti-communist ideology created silences in the process of historical production, and how forgetting the violence became a powerful determinant of local historical consciousness.

Read More