The Jakarta Post
Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo visited former president Soeharto's tomb in Astana Giri Bangun, Karanganyar, Central Java, on Tuesday, where he expressed great admiration of the late dictator.
Accompanied by all the military chiefs of staff, Gatot continued his visit after previously visiting the tombs of former presidents Sukarno in Blitar and Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid in Jombang, both in East Java, as part of series of events to commemorate the TNI's anniversary next month.
The visit was to pay respects to the country’s past leaders, and for all soldiers to take example from the leaders’ struggles until they became presidents, Gatot said. He also expressed his compliments to the dictator who held power in the country for more than three decades under an authoritarian regime.
“Soeharto was a soldier who claimed success in all areas, making him a role model for all TNI, personnel,” he said in a press statement on Tuesday.
The visit to Soeharto’s tomb was made amid Gatot’s controversial remarks regarding his order to hold a screening of an old propaganda film called Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (Betrayal of the Communists) on Sept. 30, where Soeharto was portrayed to have a central role in quashing a coup blamed on the now disbanded Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). During the New Order regime, Soeharto made it mandatory for the movie to be played on national television every Sept. 30.
Despite mounting criticism, Gatot claimed the screening was meant for younger generations to know that there was a dark part in the country’s history.