The Jakarta Post
'1965 victims' by Tommy “Thom Dean” T. won the hearts of the judges of the 2017 Adinegoro Journalistic Award. (JP/Tommy “Thom Dean” T. )
A somber drawing of the 1965 genocide won the hearts of the judges of the 2017 Adinegoro Journalistic Award. The drawing, titled 1965 victims, depicts two graves lying silently side by side. The grave on the left is identified with a military boot on top of it, while the one on the right has a nameless wooden tombstone with the year “1965” engraved on it.
The boot whispers “I’m so sorry” and the nameless wooden tombstone replies “I forgive you.” The cartoon seems to offer an imaginary solution to the unresolved cases of the 1965 tragedy, which led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people due to their alleged connection to the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). The drawing was published by The Jakarta Post in its April 24, 2016, edition and the cartoonist behind it, Tommy “Thom Dean” T., said that the idea for his work came from the situation surrounding the 1965 issues.
Tommy “Thom Dean” T. (Thom Dean/File)
“The editorial team wanted me to create a drawing based on the 1965 tragedy. At that time [April 2016], there were a lot of families of the 1965 purge who demanded that the government issue an official apology for what had happened,” Thom told the Post.
“What I thought at that time was that every nation has a bloody past. In Indonesia’s case, it is the 1965 communist purge. It will always be an issue among Indonesians for generations to come.”
“So, when the living might find it difficult to find closure, I believe that the dead — either the alleged communists who were killed or the soldiers who murdered them in 1965 — are able to forgive one another in their graves.”
The year 1965 was a dark period for Indonesia and many still consider it as a taboo topic. During that year, the members of the PKI allegedly tried to topple then president Sukarno’s administration through a coup, but they failed. What followed was the genocide of millions of people who were accused of being communists by the successive government.
One of the judges for the drawing category, Dolorosa Sinaga, said that the reason Thom’s drawing won was because its depiction of the 1965 issue was absolutely accurate.
“We believe the drawing speaks very loudly regarding the condition of the families and descendants of the 1965 victims. It shows how sad the situation is that they can only reach closure with one another in the afterlife,” she said.
Thom is one of six winners in six different categories for this year’s Adinegoro Award. The other five winners are Lewat Samping Memburu Ringgit (Shortcut for Ringit) from the Tempo magazine news team for the indepth reporting category, Di Bawah Ancaman Senjata (Under Siege) from Ella D. Effendi and Raedi Fadli of NET TV for the television feature news category, Tumpang Pitu Digerus (Tumpang Pitu Exploited) from Hermawan of the KBR Banyuwangi.
Radio for the radio feature news category, Serangan Teroris di Jakarta (Terrorist Attack in Jakarta) from Very Sanovri of the Xinhua News Agency for the photo news category and Di Balik Aksi Brutal Jakmania (Behind Jakmania’s Brutal Action) from Larissa Huda of tempo.co news portal for the special online journalism innovation award.
The official awards ceremony for the winners will take place during the 2017 National Press Day commemoration in Ambon, Maluku, on Feb. 9.
“The quality of the journalistic works, including the implementation of the journalistic code of ethics in the process and in creating the works, is the main factor in determining the winners,” award coordinator Uni Z. Lubis said in a written statement.