Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A horror and trauma reveal on the Suharto dictatorship

UPDATE: This morning, Madhav and I attended a Seminar with Documentary Film Presentation that host by the Southeast Asia Research Centre (SEARC) in the City University of Hong Kong. "Terlena - Breaking of a Nation" is a documentary made by Andre Vltchek, the political analyst, writer and filmaker who now station in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The 90-minute documentary that produced in 2004 was selected and screened at the prestigious New York International Independent Film Festival (NYIIFF) in November 2004. Artistic Director of NYIIFF - Anoo Cottoor praised it in the following terms: A truly groundbreaking, informative, impactful and passionate documentary about the silencing of voices in Indonesia during the regime of Suharto, and the impact...on society and culture then and up to today."

Terlena includes some world-famous Asian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Ilham Aidit (son of murdered the Communist leader Aidit), Asvi Warman Adam (head of political studies at LIPI, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences), Djokopekik (leading Indonesian painter) and many others.

Terlena contradicts official Indonesian and American propaganda scenarios concerning the coup in 1965. It also exposes the tremendous violence that followed Suharto's takeover. This violence, in many ways, continue until now.

It's a interesting discussion over the documentary and the situation in the Indonesia. Different views and questions were threw to the speaker, one of those was why the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) that believed to have the overwheming support from the people didn't resist or fight back? As they strongly believed they were going to win the election, they didn't get involve in the military set up. Another reason may be the internal struggle in the PKI that split into Pro-China and Pro-Soviet camps.

However, it really hard to explain such a huge massacre and slaugther couldn't come out with any resistance. Therefore, it will be a good reference for the discussion about the PKI and the Indonesian military influences in the politics. It's a fruitful and inspired discussion.