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Jakarta Post

Questions on witnessing violence

Jakarta   /   Mon, April 4 2011   /  09:34 am

We are witnessing a new age of spectacular violence. When we read stories about people digging up and exposing the dead body of an Ahmadiyah follower in a graveyard, we are encountering the very definition of the spectacular: a “dramatic” or “elaborate display”.

The reform era has brought with it increasing openness, including openness to techniques of violence that transcend our imagination of the grotesque — something primarily influenced by horror movies.

Violence is, of course, neither new nor exotic for us Indonesians. We have been trained to see it, and even live with it, from an early age.

For some of us, watching the film Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI was an initiation to adulthood. We suddenly learned that we had a history built upon eye-gouging women and decomposed, tortured bodies.

This was a form of violence legitimized and endorsed for publi...