Lt. Gen. (ret.) Kiki Syahnakri speaks to journalists after a press conference for the national symposium titled “Protecting Pancasila from Threats of PKI and Other Ideologies” in Jakarta on Wednesday. (kompas.com/Lutfy)
In the wake of a public outcry to resolve past human rights abuse cases, retired Army general Kiki Syahnakri has said Indonesians must learn to move on as nothing good comes from opening old wounds.
Kiki compared the 1965 tragedy with the 1948 Madiun affair, a failed armed insurrection by the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party ( PKI ).
“In 1948, the victims were Muslims and Indonesian soldiers. But, we, the current generation of Muslims and the military never discuss the past ferocity of PKI,” he said during the national symposium titled “Protecting Pancasila from Threats of PKI and Other Ideologies” in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Hence, Kiki questioned 1965 survivors and victims’ whom have called on the government to apologize for violating their human rights.
“That is so wrong,” he said, “As what this country needs is to forget the past and look forward to the future”.
“We don’t need to open old wounds”.
The kidnapping and murder of six Army generals on Sept. 30, 1965, led to the purge of PKI members, sympathizers and their families, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands across the country.
The two-day national symposium, held in April, titled “Dissecting the 1965 Tragedy”, brought forth recommendations for the government to resolve the 1965 case. The symposium brought together victims and families of the 1965 communist purge, human rights activists, academics and state officials.
However, several retired Army generals were displeased by the event and organized a counter symposium on Wednesday and Thursday, involving a few hundred retired officers and several mass organizations.
“I have heard that President Joko Widodo will officially say sorry to [1965 survivors] on Independence Day [observed on Aug. 17],” said retired Army general Kivlan Zein during the second day of the symposium in Jakarta on Thursday.
“We can’t let that happen,” he added.
Meanwhile, Haryono, spokesman of Lembaga Perjuangan Rehabilitasi Korban Orde Baru, an NGO working for the rehabilitation of New Order regime victims, said during the April symposium that it was important for the government to apologize.
“We don’t want to re-raise communism in Indonesia. We just ask the President to engage in reconciliation,” said Haryono.
Furthermore, Kiki also said that the latest symposium might recommend the government to gather those two opposing sides in order to find an ideal resolution.
Source: Jakarta Post, June 2