Indonesia Breaks Silence on 1965 Killings

By Patrick Falk,
International News Writer

Last week, Indonesia began meetings to discuss the killing of over 500,000 communist supporter 50 years ago.

While government officials took an unprecedented measure in opening up talks on the events that led to the killing of 500,000 Indonesian citizens, the Indonesian Security Minister, Luhut Panjaitan, insisted that no formal apology will be issued. According to BBC, he has also said that no government apology is needed for the events of 1965.

Rather, the purpose of the talks are an attempt to bring closure and unity to the country on an issue that has divided Indonesian citizens for decades.

The Security Minister has often expressed his wishes to abolish division among Indonesian citizens and hopes these talks will allow for that to happen.

The events that brought a need for these government talks took place in 1965.

In early 1965, rivalry between Indonesian military forces and the country’s communist party came to a violent head as an attempted coup was blamed on the communist party.

After these accusations military forces hunted down suspected communist party members and supporters throughout the country. It was at this the Indonesian president transferred power to Gen Suharto, a man who ruled the country for the next 31 years.

By the end of the military’s violence, 500,000 communist supporters were killed.

These aftermath of these killings are still a prominent part of the Indonesian conscience. They play such a large role in Indonesian society that fifty years later is still of the utmost importance to Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan to address the effects these 1965 acts have on the country.

The primary organizer of the meetings Agus Widjojo, whose father’s assassination was blamed on communist party leaders in 1965, encouraged the discussion on these horrible events stated that these killings had torn the country apart and there was a need for both justice and reconciliation, according to BBC.

It is clear that the Indonesian people are demanding a more transparent government.
With the retired General Widjojo at the helm of the meetings, a man who was directly affected by events that led to the 1965 massacre, there is hope for reconciliation and unity because of these talks.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 26th print edition.

Contact Patrick at


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