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(INDONESIA and the GREAT SLAUGHTER – continued)

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INDONESIA and the GREAT SLAUGHTER (3 of 3)

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Sukarno Loses Power

On October 10, according to the New York Times, the Johnson administration expressed belief “that a dramatic new opportunity has developed both for anti-Communist Indonesians and for United States policies following the 10 days of turmoil in Indonesia.” By October 12, according to the Times, “Anti-Communist military leaders supported by Moslem groups were increasing their efforts today to convince President Sukarno that he must ban the Communist party.” And a Times report dated October 13 wrote of Sukarno intending “to create a new Communist party in Indonesia, one that would be exclusively Indonesian and not influenced by Communist China.” On October 14 an anti-Communist Jakarta newspaper accused Chinese intelligence agents of having plotted and financed Untung's putsch. Ethnic Chinese came under attack in Indonesia. And on the 15th more than 5,000 members of Moslem organizations demonstrated, shouting "crush the PKI" and "hang Aidit.”

In Indonesia, a murderous campaign against Communists had begun. A report coming out of Singapore on October 23 described Sukarno as threatening to order the army to "shoot to kill" to stop further demonstrations or violence against the Communists. And a report on October 24 described Sukarno as having “accused non-Communist political factions of making some left-wing organizations the "victims of false slander." But Sukarno's opinions were having little impact. A force had been unleashed against which Sukarno had little power.

Through November a slaughter took place across much of Indonesia, including the capture and execution of the Communist leader, Aidit. Army officers in league with Untung were executed. Bands of Muslim young men roamed about killing people, sometimes by beheading. Landlords moved to get lands back that had been taken from them in Communist led land-reforms. Old feuds were revived and murderously resolved on the pretext of rooting out Communists. In some instances, anti-Communists arrived in communities, assembled local men and ordered women and children to stay home. Names were read from lists, and they were described as Communists, atheists and people not certified as members of any religion. The named were roped together. Those not roped-off were told that those within the ropes were their enemies. They were given machetes or other crude weapons and told to fight for their religion. Hindus and Buddhists among them were exempted because of prohibitions by their religions against taking life. In other places, people were transported in military vehicles a short distance from their village and shot down with automatic weapons. In places victims were ordered to dig their own mass graves.

Often Chinese-Indonesians were targeted, attended by the rumor that the Chinese were the core of Communist leadership. Some of Indonesia’s Chinese began leaving their country. Some others began converting to Christianity to ward off accusations of atheism.

In early 1966, the US ambassador to Indonesia, Andrew Gilchrist, put the slaughter total at 400,000. A Swedish colleague described this as a “very serious under-estimate.” Those killed have been estimated at more than one million, with some others imprisoned.

On April 21, 1966, President Sukarno admonished his ministers not to view him “as a puppet."

On March 12, 1967, Indonesia’s provincial parliament took away Sukarno’s presidential title. Sukarno was put under house arrest, where he would remained until his death in 1970. General Suharto, on 12 March 1967, was named Acting President. He would be sworn in as president on 27 March 1968. Suharto described his regime as a "New Order." He built a political party, Golkar, that won elections beginning in 1973. The military has been described as "ruthlessly" maintaining domestic security. By 1969, 70 percent of Indonesia's provincial governors and more than half of its district chiefs were active military officers. note83

A part of his new order was taking care of "the Chinese problem." The Suharto government passed a law that allowed only one Chinese language publication, and it was controlled by the army. All public expressions of Chinese culture, including display of Chinese characters, were made illegal. The government phased out Chinese schools and it encouraged Chinese to take Indonesian-sounding names.

An award winning 1982 documentary-movie about the end of President Sukarno's regime was not allowed into the country while Suharto remained in power. The film was The Year of Living Dangerously, starring Mel Gibson and Linda Hunt and directed by Peter Weir.

Sources

"Indonesian killings of 1965_1966," Wikipedia

Gangsters and Revolutionaries: The Jakarta People's Militia and the Indonesian Revolution 1945-1949, by Robert Cribb, 2008

Legacy of Ashes – The History of the CIA, by Tim Weinter, 2007

End of Sukarno: A Coup That Misfired: A Purge That Ran Wild, by John Huges, 2003

Copyright © 2006-2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.