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‘Propaganda and the Genocide’: The national wound weeps still

Duncan Graham

The Jakarta Post

Malang, East Java  /  Fri, September 27, 2019  /  05:27 pm
‘Propaganda and the Genocide’: The national wound weeps still

"Propaganda and the Genocide in Indonesia: Imagined Evil" is the latest in overseas publications in English focusing on the events of Sept. 30, 1965. (Routledge/-)

Shakespeare knew what he was doing when he opened Macbeth with three witches on a blasted heath chanting enigmatic predictions. So did the script-writer for the Lubang Buaya (Crocodile’s pit) fantasy when he set the ghoulish scene for the 1965 Indonesian coup, casting an orgy of dancing nudes castrating six murdered generals. It’s the primeval male terror: sibylline women de-sexing potent men and destroying masculine power. The only fightback is demonization. Fed to a prudish public, the images are repulsive and compelling – even more so in Java, where the supernatural lurks in every dark nook and cranny. Published post mortems revealed no violation of the generals’ genitals. Lubang Buaya was a disused well used to dump the bodies, not the lair of leviathans. But the lurid tale is too deeply buried in the nation’s psyche to be exhumed by fact...