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Jakarta Post

The eternal secret from the 1965 genocide

  • Soe Tjen Marching


London   /   Tue, September 29 2020   /  01:00 am
At play: Agung Kurniawan and 65 visitors perform a show dedicated to survivors of the 1965 tragedy at Museum MACAN in Jakarta.(JP/A. Kurniawan Ulung)

 “I will tell you as much as I can about myself, but please do not publish it,” said the woman with gray hair I met about six years ago. She had been accused of being a member of Gerwani (the women’s wing of the Indonesian Communist Party/PKI) at the end of 1965 and as a result, was imprisoned, tortured and raped repeatedly. She was not the only one. Many women still conceal their pain because of the shame and stigma, the risk of being labeled a liar, and the possible repercussions for not only themselves, but also their families. It was no wonder that during the International People’s Tribunal on the 1965 genocide in The Hague, the female witnesses all decided to speak from behind a curtain, hiding their faces, and using pseudonyms. But not all female survivors of the 1965 genocide are secretive about their personal experience. Some have revealed th...