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Jakarta Post

Urban Chat: From 'Kafir' to 'Komunis' The Bogeyman Lives On

  • Lynda Ibrahim

Jakarta   /   Sat, May 14 2016   /  09:19 am

A long while ago I read somewhere that the more diverse a group, the stronger the bond is required to hold them together as a group. Logical. In the case of The Prince and the Pauper, or Beauty and the Beast, it was blind love. In the case of a nation as colorful as Indonesia? Perhaps fear of a common enemy will do.

As a girl who was born and raised in the heyday of Soeharto’s iron-fist rule, I clearly knew who the bogeyman was then. The bloody coup supposedly orchestrated by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in 1965, thwarted ingeniously just in time by then Lt. Gen. Soeharto and loyal troops, was drummed up into historical books, an annually-run TV movie and various other propaganda mediums.

Not until I left the country as an adult and was exposed to the world more that I came to understand the oversimplification of ideologies and history that Soeharto’s New Orde...