Retas Sejarah

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Index / Remembering

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.

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Who knows what the army did with them there – what was clear was that the trucks went off fully loaded and came back empty (Pipit Rochijat, “Am I PKI or Non-PKI”, 1985).

In his wonderful, now classic essay “The Death of Luigi Trastulli,” Alessandro Portelli compares newspaper accounts of the police firing upon a crowd of street demonstrators in a small town in Italy in 1949 with the social memory of that killing. He finds the memories of the town’s working class community, which has eulogized the victim of that shooting in songs and stories, to be in error. Instead of using oral history to figure out “what really happened,” Portelli uses it to think about why people have misremembered the past. Portelli’s later book, The Order Has Been Carried Out, follows a similar procedure. It relies on written records to establish the facticity of an event: German troops occupying Rome in 1944 massacred 355 people as a collective punishment for an attack by the resistance that claimed 32 soldiers.

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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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