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Jakarta Post

Remembering the 1975 Balibo incident: An opportunity to correct past wrongs?

  • Aboeprijadi Santoso

Jakarta   /   Tue, December 8 2009   /  09:38 am

Balibo is just one shameful chapter in our Indonesia’s past, but it could be viewed as a symbol for so many human wrongs, for so many shameful things, that have befallen our nation. When the commander of the East Timor invasion, gen. Benny Moerdani, learned of the presence of five foreign journalists in Balibo he quickly dispatched the order through the chain of command that there were to be no witnesses to Indonesia’s flouting of international law. The order trickled
down through col. Dading Kalbuadi who instructed capt. Yunus Yosfiah to order his unit, the Susi Team, to “silence” all five newsmen on Oct. 16, 1975.What else were the soldiers and militia to do when their commanders relayed the direct order that “there are to be no witnesses”? At work was the political-military logic, which was built on the fundamentals of Soeharto’s New Order state. Dading’s reply to ...