by: Martin Aleida
Love comes through the eyes and flows down to the heart. Asking for forgiveness comes from a clean heart and also flows back to the heart. Except when stubbornness seeps into that heart or when a political viewpoint denies the existence of hundreds of victims on purpose. It also does not happen when the Attorney General of the Republik of Indonesia, HM Prasetyo, uses political manipulations by stating that it is impossible to try the crimes against humanity of post-30 September movements (G30S)-1965 through lack of evidence.
One wonders what was felt in the hearts of the investigators of these crimes when they read of the discovery of mass graves in several areas recently. Have they buried their conscience and curiosity so deeply that they, as legal retainers, no longer feel the need to ask whom it is that are buried under mounds of earth with no gravestones in this country? Those with a pure heart will ask themselves why the key to opening up evidence of past crimes against humanity in 1965—which they surrendered to a national body called National Commission of Human Rights (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia) or Komnas HAM—has been ignored, while those reports were a product of years of work costing billions of rupiah.
Through books written by researchers, within months the world has come to know that, G30S was demolished in just a couple of hours. The Indonesian Army pointed their fingers at the Indonesian Communist Party as the puppeteers of that movement.
At least 500.000 people were accused as communists. People Their assumed as their supporters were killed in various ways. None of them were tried in a court of law. Some of them were paraded in military trucks, taken to holes which they dug themselves and were shot, pushed and buried in those holes.
The Army shut down newspapers they accused of being involved, leaving only media that they could control. Through these media, they sowed unfounded hatred. They spread stories that the generals had been murdered and thrown into Lubang Buaya—the Crocodile Hole—while members of the Gerwani, the communist women’s organization, sang and danced. They told of the generals’ eyes gouged out, their genitals mutilated with razor blades and other stories that angered the public.
In several regions, youth groups that were influenced joined in hunting down the red people. Victims were led to bridges, shot, mauled and their bodies thrown into the river. In areas without bridges, victims were killed and thrown in the water to be carried away by the river.
Only the hearts of those that have sacrificed their conscience to justify their political aim does not bleed at the sight of these atrocities. Power, that leaves a legacy of stubborness among its leaders, is alike to ostriches, burying their heads in the sand. And, an attempt to form a fact-finding commission has been rejected.
However, justice does not have to shine from the center of power. In a country dogged by international accusations of crimes against humanity—all unacknowledged by its leaders, the light of justice can come from unexpected corners.
Nurlela A.K Lamasitudju is a female human rights activist from Palu, the capitol city of a province in Sulawesi. Three years ago, she organized a meeting to pay respects to the victims of G30S in that city.
Seated among those invited was Rusdy Mastura, the city’s mayor. Nurlela requested the Mayor to say something to the families of the victims. Rusdy Mastura wasn’t expecting to be asked to say something. He stood up, went to the front of the room and expressed his regret at the killings that had happened in that region half a century ago. He expressed his sorrow that it had caused an unending misery of the families left behind.
“as a human being, as a responsible Mayor, I ask your forgiveness,” he said, as quoted recently by the New York Times.