Friday, May 30, 2014

Indonesians in Queens, NY Are Beginning to Learn About Film on Genocide

I really urge anyone who has not seen “The Act of Killing” to do so, but I warn you, it is deeply disturbing and surreal on many levels.  The New York Times ran an article in March about Indonesians living in Queens who had been to a group a screening of the recent documentary about Indonesia’s 1965 genocide.

“The film, released last year, features two notorious figures in the mass killings discussing and even re-enacting some of their actions in the anti-Communist purge. The killers’ boastfulness has shocked some viewers, and the film has brought new attention to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of suspected Communists across the archipelago nation in Southeast Asia. . . .

“For Mr. Pratomo [who had seen the film], it awakened him to the brutality of the killers and the scale of the massacre. ‘I was appalled when I found out about the truth,’ he said. . . .”

 ‘How could it come to this — murdering people as if it were a feast?’

“For some among his generation, the film evoked difficult memories about the years leading up to Suharto’s rule. For some younger Indonesians who have come to New York, the film has been an eye-opening window on a period still shrouded by fear and trauma. . . .

“Mr. Pratomo said the film had helped him realize how much his homeland was scarred by the events of 1965, and he hopes it spurs a search for the truth and justice. . . .

‘There should be a tribunal, there should be reconciliation, there should be an apology,’ he said. ‘And the apology should be accepted and everyone can continue to live together side by side.’

I don’t see how there can be a tribunal, an apology, or any type of healing action.  Those same people who freely admitted to participating in the genocide are still revered as heroes, and appear frequently with politicians and leaders of all stripes.  You can bet that whoever gets elected, even if it’s young, “liberal” Jokowi, they’ll be photographed in front of cheering crowds together with members of the Pancasila Youth Death Squads more times than you can vomit.

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