Archives de catégorie : Agenda / Evénements

50 năm ngày Bồ tát Thích Quảng Đức vị pháp thiêu thân

[ndlr] A l’occasion du cinquantenaire de l’immolation du vénérable Quang Duc à Saigon, un colloque sur l’histoire du mouvement bouddhiste au Viêt-Nam a été organisé par l’Institut du Bouddhisme Vietnamien d’Ho Chi Minh-Ville et l’Université des sciences humaines et sociales. Le colloque s’est déroulé dans l’Aire touristique de Binh Duong en présence de nombreux historiens et autres chercheurs en sciences sociales. La photo la plus connue de l’immolation du vénérable (ici au centre) a été prise par Malcom W. Browne, journaliste de l’Associated Press, décédé il y a presque un an le  27 août 2012. Cette photo avait été récompensée du prix Pulitzer en 1964.

© Malcolm Browne
© Malcolm Browne

Chiều 11.6, nhân đại lễ kỷ niệm 50 năm ngày Bồ tát Thích Quảng Đức tự thiêu (11.6.1963 – 11.6.2013), hội thảo khoa học 50 năm Phong trào Phật giáo ở miền Nam do Học viện Phật giáo VN tại TP.HCM và Trường ĐH Khoa học xã hội và nhân văn tổ chức tại Khu du lịch Phương Nam (Bình Dương) thu hút đông đảo học giả, các nhà nghiên cứu đến dự.

Đây là một trong nhiều hoạt động kỷ niệm đã diễn ra khắp các đạo tràng trên cả nước như Hà Nội, Huế, TP.HCM. Trong buổi khai mạc đại lễ tại quê hương Bồ tát Thích Quảng Đức ở chùa Long Sơn (TP.Nha Trang), ông Bùi Hữu Dược, Vụ trưởng Vụ Phật giáo – Ban Tôn giáo Chính phủ, đã trân trọng đọc lại câu đối của Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh tôn vinh Bồ tát Thích Quảng Đức: “Vị pháp thiêu thân, vạn cổ hùng uy thiên nhật nguyệt/Lưu danh bất tử, bách niên chính khí địa sơn hà”.

Cũng tại buổi lễ, hòa thượng Thích Trí Quảng, Viện trưởng Viện Nghiên cứu Phật học Việt Nam, một lần nữa khẳng định Thích Quảng Đức là bậc vĩ nhân có năng lượng tâm linh siêu phàm, vị bồ tát thị hiện vào đời để cứu khổ, góp phần cứu nguy cho Phật giáo và dân tộc.

Giao Hưởng

Source : Thanh Niên Online, 12/06/2013.

Julie Osborn: Women, War, Vietnam: The Mobilization of Female Images, 1954-1978 [PhD diss.]

It is a pleasure to announce that Julie Osborn recently defended her dissertation Women, War, Vietnam: The Mobilization of Female Images, 1954-1978 and received her PhD in History at the University of Washington, Seattle, having worked with Profs. William Rorabaugh, Christoph Giebel, Susan Glenn, and Laurie Sears.
Nữ du kích Việt Cộng
Nữ du kích Việt Cộng 

Women, War, Vietnam: The Mobilization of Female Images, 1954-1978 proceeds with two deeply interwoven goals in mind: mapping the experience of women in the Viet Nam War and evaluating the ways that ideas about women and gender influenced the course of American involvement in Viet Nam.  Julie Osborn argues that between 1954 and 1978, ideas about women and femininity were crucially involved in impelling, sustaining, and later restraining American actions and prerogatives in Viet Nam.  The dissertation evaluates literal images such as photographs, film and television footage as well as images evoked by texts in the form of news reports, magazine articles, and fiction, focusing specifically on images that reveal deeply gendered ways of seeing and representing the conflict for Americans.  Some of the images Julie Osborn analyzes include a French nurse known as the « Angel of Dien Bien Phu, » refugees regrouping to southern Viet Nam in 1954, the de facto « first lady » of the Republic of Viet Nam under Ngo Dinh Diem, Tran Le Xuan, a.k.a. « Madame Nhu, » and female members of the National Liberation Front.  Juxtaposing images of American women, Julie Osborn also focuses on the figure of the housewife protesting American atrocities and the use of napalm in Viet Nam, and images wrought by American women intellectuals that shifted focus away from the military and toward the larger social and psychological impact of the war.

Congratulations on this splendid achievement, Dr. Osborn!
C. Giebel
UW-Seattle
Source : VSG (with kind authorization of C. Giebel).
Thanh Nữ Cộng Hòa © 1962 Life
Thanh Nữ Cộng Hòa © 1962 Life 

 

Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen : La mémoire est un autre pays – Femmes de la dia­spora viet­na­mienne

[ndlr] Avis de parution de l’ouvrage de Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen : La mémoire est un autre pays. Femmes de la diaspora vietnamienne (Paris, Riveneuve éditions, 2013).

Il s’agit de la traduction française de l’étude de Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen, Memory is another country: women of the Vietnamese diaspora (Santa Barbara; Denver; Oxford: ABC Clio, 2009).

 

NathalieNguyen_LaMémoireEstUnAutrePays

 

La librai­rie Le Phénix et Riveneuve éditions ont le plai­sir de vous invi­ter à ren­contrer

Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen,

à l’occa­sion de la paru­tion de

La mémoire est un autre pays,

Femmes de la dia­spora viet­na­mienne

Avec la pré­sence des tra­duc­teurs Patricia Fogarty et Alain Guillemin

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mardi 28 mai à 18h

à la librai­rie Le Phénix

72, bou­le­vard de Sébastopol 75003 Paris

Métro : Réaumur-Sébastopol ou Etienne Marcel

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sortie offi­cielle : 16 mai 2013

Claire Edington – “Beyond the Asylum: Colonial Psychiatry in French Indochina, 1880-1940” [PhD diss.]

Munch_thescream[ndlr] Annonce sur le Vietnam Studies Group (VSG) de la récente soutenance de thèse de doctorat (PhD) de Claire Edington en Sciences sociomédicales à l’Université de Columbia. Titre de la thèse : « Beyond the Asylum: Colonial Psychiatry in French Indochina, 1880-1940 », une histoire inédite de la société indochinoise vue sous l’angle de la psychiatrie.

Claire’s dissertation, « Beyond the Asylum: Colonial Psychiatry in French Indochina, 1890-1954 [1880-1940], » is the first book length study of the history of psychiatry in Vietnam. It looks beyond the asylum to consider how psychiatry in French Indochina expanded the reach of the late colonial state while working to redefine the relationship between the state and its subjects. The project examines the movements of patients in and out of psychiatric care as a way to better understand how notions of normality and abnormality were produced in negotiations between experts and families and between colonial bureaucrats and colonial subjects. It aims to reorient the colonial history of medicine and public health away from the focus on expert discourses and medical institutions and towards their entanglements with other kinds of colonial projects and indigenous forms of knowledge.

Source : Sociomedical Sciences PhD – Columbia University

Voir la page de l’auteure : Columbia University

Illustration : « Le Cri » d’Edvard Munch.

Exposition : Indochine-France-Vietnam – 15 mai 2013 — 14 juillet 2014

IndochineFranceVietnam[ndlr] Pierre Brocheux que nous remercions nous informe du programme provisoire de l’importante exposition consacrée au Viêt-Nam à Montreuil à l’occasion du 40ème anniversaire de l’établissement de relations diplomatiques entre la France et le Viêt-Nam.

Indochine-France-Vietnam

Des Français au Vietnam, des Vietnamiens en France, à différentes époques, à différentes périodes de notre histoire commune. Des années 1925-1929 avec les photographies anciennes d’une famille française, celles d’un ingénieur des Ponts-et-Chaussée et celles de Paul Monet, officier de l’armée française, puis les photographies d’un correspondant pour l’Humanité en 1978-1980 et enfin celles toutes récentes d’un père et sa fille partis découvrir le Vietnam : 5 regards portés sur un pays.

Puis en seconde partie, documents et archives montreront la vie et le rôle de Vietnamiens en France, intellectuels, révolutionnaires, soldats dans l’armée française.

Un espace du musée accueillera l’exposition « Les travailleurs indochinois en France 1939-1952 » réalisée par l’association Histoires vietnamiennes et Pierre Daum. Les couvertures des magazines Regards et Paris-Match seront confrontées les unes aux autres sur la guerre d’Indochine, tandis que Paris-Match poursuivra seul sa couverture de la guerre du Vienam (1965-1975). Enfin, un espace sera alloué à une exposition d’affiches françaises, vietnamiennes et chinoises relatives à la guerre du Vietnam.

* * *

Cycles de conférences et tables rondes

 

Programme provisoire

Durée du 15 mai 2013 au 14 juillet 2014

 Samedi 25 mai 2013 : Inauguration de l’exposition à 18h30

au Musée de l’Histoire vivante

 

 

 Samedi 15 juin ou 22 juin (fête de la ville)

  • Conférence : « Les mobilisations contre la guerre du Vietnam, 1965-1975 » par Alain Ruscio et Pierre Rousset.

Samedi en septembre 2013 ou décembre 2013

  • Conférence : « Le Vietnam et la bande dessinée ». Avec Clément Baloup, Marcelino Truong, Maximilien Le Roy. (En partenariat avec la Librairie Folie d’encre et la Bibliothèque Desnos). Au musée ou à la Bibliothèque Desnos.

Samedi en octobre 2013

  • Table ronde « 150ème anniversaire de la naissance de Alexandre Yersin » avec Annick Perrot, Patrick Deville et Alain Tyr. Annick Perrot de l’association Adaly et ancienne directrice de l’Institut Pasteur à Paris. Patrick Deville, romancier auteur de « La peste et le choléra », prix Femina 2012. Alain Tyr, documentariste, auteur du film « A la rencontre du dragon et des nuages », 2004. Au studio Berthelot à Montreuil.

Samedi en novembre 2013

  • Conférences et présentation de l’exposition « Immigrés de force » avec Pierre Daum, Gilles Manceron, Benjamin Stora.

Samedi 18 mai 2014, Nuit des musées

  • « 1954-2014 » 60 ans après Dien Bien Phu avec Eric Deroo, Alain Ruscio, Gilles Manceron. Mémoire et histoire  d’une défaite/d’une victoire. Spectacle de marionnettes (association marionnettiste, 93, à Pantin). Démonstration de Viet-Vo-Dao.

Date à fixer (participation d’intervenants vietnamiens proposés par le musée HCM et/ou les « autorités » vietnamiennes.

  • Table ronde « Ho Chi Minh du nationalisme au communisme » MHV, Musée HCM d’Hanoï et Théâtre Berthelot (Montreuil). Avec Pierre Brocheux, Céline Marangé (sous réserve), Alain Ruscio, François Trieu.

Voir aussi :

 

Séminaire IAO – Pierre van der Eng: All lies? Famines in Sukarno’s Indonesia, 1950s-1960s

[ndlr] Annonce de la séance du séminaire de l’Institut d’Asie Orientale le jeudi 16 mai 2013 à l’ENS de Lyon.

 

All Lies? Famines in Sukarno’s Indonesia, 1950s-1960s

Pierre van der Eng

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

Australian National University

 

Abstract

Regional food shortages occurred in Indonesia during the 1950s and 1960s, but little is known about why they happened and to what extent they caused regional famines. Political turmoil absorbed most public attention during these years, and since 1957 the government of President Sukarno bridled the national press and limited access by the international media to the country’s interior. The disintegration of the public service prevented centralised and systematic data collection. This paper draws on newspaper reports and contemporary secondary literature to analyse the extent of food shortages and famines. While deteriorating general economic circumstances and crop failures are relevant, the paper concludes that the operations of the state-owned food logistics agency in the markets for key food crops immobilised food stocks and exacerbated regional food shortages, in several cases contributing to regional famines.

SeminaireIAO_2013_05_16

Tuan Hoang: Ideology in Urban South Vietnam, 1950-1975 [PhD diss.]

[ndlr] Signalement d’une thèse de doctorat d’histoire soutenue le 26 mars 2013 à l’Université Notre-Dame (Indiana, Etats-Unis). Félicitations à Tuan Hoang pour ce travail qui apporte une pierre supplémentaire au renouveau des études sur la République du Viêt-Nam (Sud).

FDC_Struggle&Development

 Cliquez sur l’image pour l’agrandir (source: Manh Hai Photo Gallery)

Hoang, Tuan: Ideology in Urban South Vietnam, 1950-1975

This dissertation addresses the subject of noncommunist political and cultural ideology in urban South Vietnam during 1954-1975. It contributes to the historiography of the Vietnam War, specifically on the long-neglected Republic of Vietnam (RVN) that has received greater attention in the last decade. The basic argument is that the postcolonial ideological vision of most urban South Vietnamese diverged greatly from that of the Vietnamese communist revolutionaries. This vision explains for the puzzling question on why the communist revolutionaries were far more effective in winning the minds and hearts of Vietnamese in countryside than in cities. At the same time, this vision was complicated by the uneasy relationship with the Americans.

The dissertation examines four aspects in particular. First is the construction of anticommunism: Although influenced by Cold War bipolarity, anticommunism in urban South Vietnam was shaped initially and primarily by earlier differences about modernity and post-colonialism. It was intensified through intra-Vietnamese experiences of the First Indochina War.

The second aspect is the promotion of individualism. Instead of the socialist person as advocated by communist revolutionaries, urban South Vietnamese promoted a bourgeois petit vision of the postcolonial person. Much of the sources for this promotion came from the West, especially France and the U.S. But it was left to urban South Vietnamese writers to interpret and promote what this person ought to be.

The third one concerns the development of nationalism. Urban South Vietnam continued to uphold the views of nationalism developed during late colonialism, such as the elevation of national heroes and the essentialization of Vietnamese civilization. Noncommunist South Vietnamese urbanites were influenced by ethnic nationalism, although they also developed the tendency to look towards other newly independent nations for nationalistic inspiration and ideas about their own postcolonial nation.

The last aspect has to do with the relationship with Americans: The views of urban South Vietnamese on the U.S. were generally positive during the early years of the RVN. But there was also wariness that burst into resentment and anti-Americanism after Washington Americanized the war in 1965. The dissertation looks into two very different urban groups in order to extract the variety of sources about anti-Americanism.

Source : University of Notre-Dame

Table of contents :

  • Acknowledgments – iii
  • Introduction Urban South Vietnam in the American Experience and Historiography – p. 1
  • Chapter One: Vietnamese Communism and Anticommunism Until 1954 – p. 48
  • Chapter Two: The Critique of Communism in Urban South Vietnam – p. 99
  • Chapter Three: Individualism in Urban South Vietnam: Background and Context – p. 168
  • Chapter Four: The Promotion of “Learning To Be Human” – p. 222
  • Chapter Five: The Development and Continuity of Nationalism – p. 334
  • Chapter Six: Perceptions of the U.S. Before the Americanization of the War – p. 408
  • Chapter Seven: The Roots and Growth of Anti-Americanism – p. 464
  • Epilogue – p. 515
  • Bibliography – p. 523

[Conférence] Anthony Reid : Southeast Asia’s ‘Ring of Fire’

Conférence organisée par le groupe Asie Sedet / HSTM et le Centre Asie du Sud Est (Case-CNRS)

 

Anthony Reid

Professeur émérite, Australian National University

 

Writing History in a Dangerous Environment:

Southeast Asia’s ‘Ring of Fire’

 

Mercredi 24 avril de 17h30 à 19h30

Salle 104, 1er étage Bâtiment Olympe de Gouges, rue Albert Einstein, Paris 13e

 

RER/Métro

Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand

Bus : 89, 62, 64, 325

Conf A Reid 24 avril 2013

Anthony Reid est l’auteur de :

Reid_SEA_AgeOfCommerce

Research interests

History of Southeast Asia, with particular interests in Indonesia and Malaysia, early modern history, nationalism, minorities, social, economic and religious history, and Sumatra. He is currently writing a contracted new history of Southeast Asia, while also exploring the interface between history and geology in Indonesia’s natural disaster record.

Biography

Anthony Reid is an emeritus Professor of the College of Asia & the Pacific, and a Visiting Fellow in its Department of Political & Social Change. He was a member of ANU’s former Department of Pacific & Asian History for many years until 1999, before moving offshore as founding Director successively of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at UCLA, Los Angeles, and of the Asia Research Institute of NUS in Singapore.

Professor Anthony Reid  sur le site de l »Australian National University

Les catholiques vietnamiens et la question de la paix au Sud-Vietnam : histoire d’un militantisme (1965-75) – conférence de Claire Tran Thi Lien

Séminaire général
animé par Andrée Feillard et Rémy Madinier


Sociétés d’Asie du Sud-est : permanences et mutations


Jeudi 04 avril 2013 :

Claire TRÂN THI LIÊN, Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7

Les catholiques vietnamiens et la question de la paix au SudVietnam : histoire d’un militantisme (1965-75)

Au coeur de la guerre du Vietnam et alors même que s’engageaient des négociations entre les États-Unis et le Nord-Vietnam, un groupe de catholiques du Sud-Vietnam s’est engagé dans une réflexion sur une nécessaire réconciliation avec le Nord dans la perspective de la fin d’un conflit fratricide. Tandis que l’historiographie présente le plus souvent la minorité catholique comme un bloc homogène composé d’anticommunistes fervents, prêts à défendre le Sud-Vietnam contre le danger communiste à tout prix, notre présentation s’intéresse à ce groupe de militants.

Engagés dans le Phong trào công giáo xây dựng hòa bình (Mouvement des Catholiques pour l’édification de la paix), ils ont défendu leurs idées dans nombre de journaux et revues entre 1965 et 1975 et ce dans un contexte marqué par une interaction forte entre le calendrier militaire et politique (l’escalade de la guerre, l’offensive du Têt et le début des négociations de Paris) et le calendrier religieux (le Concile Vatican II et les déclarations du Pape Paul VI pour la paix au Vietnam). La position de la hiérarchie et le rôle majeur de l’archevêque de Saigon, Mgr Paul Nguyễn Văn Bình lors de la chute de Saigon en avril 1975 seront évoqués. En dépit du décalage entre les aspirations à la réconciliation de ces militants et la « realpolitik » de l’État communiste victorieux, l’Église vietnamienne, par le maintien du dialogue avec l’État, a pu préserver ses liens avec Rome même dans les périodes les plus difficiles. Elle se distingue sur ce point de l’Église catholique de la Chine communiste voisine.

 Le jeudi de 10 heures à 12 heures. Salon du premier étage

Maison de l’Asie, 22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris

M° Iéna ou Trocadéro

Page de TRAN THI LIEN Claire

Communiqué de Mgr Paul Nguyen Van Binh contre la corruption paru dans Dung Day n°62, 27-10-1974.
Communiqué de Mgr Paul Nguyen Van Binh contre la corruption paru dans Dung Day n°62, 27-10-1974.
© collection FG / Mémoires d’Indochine

Avant-première de The Act of Killing, film de Joshua Oppenheimer – lundi 8 avril au Cinéma Publicis à Paris

AOK

[ndlr] Annonce de la sortie prochaine d’un film de Joshua Oppenheimer qui revient sur le massacre de masse connu des historiens mais peu évoqué en Occident des partisans communistes indonésiens du PKI et d’opposants politiques après le renversement du Président Sukarno en 1965. The Act of Killing, l’acte de tuer, interroge la mémoire des acteurs survivants et bourreaux en faisant rejouer par ces derniers « la scène de meurtre ».

Cette approche fait immanquablement penser au documentaire S21 de Rithy Panh sur le Kampuchea Démocratique des Khmers Rouges. Près d’un demi-siècle après les faits, les victimes parlent. En Indonésie même, l’historienne Yenny Narny a mené une partie de ses recherches sur la violence faite aux femmes lors de ce massacre : Violence against women in the Communist Tragedy in West Sumatra 1965/1966.

Nous diffusons ci-après l’annonce officielle reçue de ZED, le distributeur du film en France, suivie de la bande annonce et de la page internet du film.

* * *

Avant-première de The Act of Killing le lundi 8 avril à 20h30 au Cinéma Publicis (8e) en présence du réalisateur, Joshua Oppenheimer.

THE ACT OF KILLING

SORTIE EN SALLES LE 10 AVRIL 2013

Lorsque Joshua Oppenheimer se rend en Indonésie pour réaliser un documentaire sur le massacre de plus d’un million d’opposants politiques en 1965, il n’imagine pas que, 45 ans après les faits, les survivants terrorisés hésiteraient à s’exprimer. Les bourreaux, eux, protégés par un pouvoir corrompu, s’épanchent librement et proposent même de rejouer les scènes d’exactions qu’ils ont commises.

« Je n’ai jamais vu de film si puissant, si effrayant. C?est sans précédent dans l’histoire du cinéma » Werner Herzog

« Un coup de maître«  Première ***

« Courageux, provoquant, innovant, ce documentaire peu orthodoxe fait la lumière sur un crime tombé dans l’oubli. A couper le souffle«  The Hollywood Reporter

« Un film de cinéma qui ne ressemble au final qu’à lui-même, doté d’une puissance inouïe » Film de Culte

Projection suivie d’un débat en présence de Joshua Oppenheimer et d’Amnesty International .

Réservation impérative par mail ou au 01 53 09 98 23 (dans la limite des places disponibles)

Source : ZED

* * *

The Historical Context

THE 1965 – 1966 MASSACRES IN INDONESIA

Edited from observations on the massacres, their aftermath and implications, by Historian John Roosa. Many thanks to him for providing this summary. Additional opening and closing notes by Joshua Oppenheimer.

In 1965, the Indonesian government was overthrown by the military. Sukarno, Indonesia’s first president, founder of the non-aligned movement, and leader of the national revolution against Dutch colonialism, was deposed and replaced by right-wing General Suharto. The Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), which had been a core constituency in the struggle against Dutch colonialism, and which had firmly supported President Sukarno (who was not a communist), was immediately banned.

On the eve of the coup, the PKI was the largest communist party in the world, outside of a communist country. It was officially committed to winning power through elections, and its affiliates included all of Indonesia’s trade unions and cooperatives for landless farmers. Its major campaign issues included land reform, as well as nationalizing foreign-owned mining, oil, and plantation companies. In this, they sought to mobilize Indonesia’s vast natural resources for the benefit of the Indonesian people, who, in the aftermath of three hundred years of colonial exploitation, were, on the whole, extremely poor.

After the 1965 military coup, anybody opposed to the new military dictatorship could be accused of being a communist. This included union members, landless farmers, intellectuals, and the ethnic Chinese, as well as anybody who struggled for a redistribution of wealth in the aftermath of colonialism.

In less than a year, and with the direct aid of western governments, over one million of these “communists” were murdered. In America, the massacre was regarded as a major “victory over communism”, and generally celebrated as good news. Time magazine reported “the West’s best news for years in Asia”, while The New York Times ran the headline, “A Gleam of Light in Asia”, and praised Washington for keeping its hand in the killings well hidden.

(The scapegoating of the ethnic Chinese, who had come to Indonesia in the 18th and 19th centuries, was done at the incitement of the US intelligence services, which sought to drive a wedge between the new Indonesian regime and the People’s Republic of China. The slaughter of village-level members of the PKI and its affiliate unions and cooperatives was also encouraged by the US, who was worried that without a “scorched earth” approach, the new Indonesian regime might eventually accommodate the PKI base.)

In many regions of Indonesia, the army recruited civilians to carry out the killings. They were organized into paramilitary groups, given basic training (and significant military back up). In the province of North Sumatra and elsewhere, the paramilitaries were recruited largely from the ranks of gangsters, or preman. Ever since the massacres, the Indonesian government has celebrated the “extermination of the communists” as a patriotic struggle, and celebrated the paramilitaries and gangsters as its heroes, rewarding them with power and privilege. These men and their protégés have occupied key positions of power – and persecuted their opponents – ever since.

The pretext for the 1965-66 genocide was the assassination of six army generals on the night of 1 October 1965. (above written by Joshua Oppenheimer).

1.10.1965: The Thirtieth of September Movement (Gerakan 30 September, or G30S), made up of disaffected junior Indonesian Armed Forces Officers, assassinated six Indonesian Army Generals in an abortive coup and dumped their bodies down a well south of the city. At the same time, the Movement’s troops took over the national radio station and announced that they intended to protect President Sukarno from a cabal of right-wing army generals plotting a seizure of power. The Movement was defeated before most Indonesians knew it existed. The senior surviving army commander, Major General Suharto, launched a quick counter-attack and drove the Movement’s troops from Jakarta within one day.

Suharto accused the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) of masterminding the Movement and then orchestrated an extermination of persons affiliated with the party. Suharto’s military rounded up over a million and a half people, accusing all of them of being involved in the Movement. In one of the worst bloodbaths of the 20th century, hundreds of thousands of individuals were massacred by the army and its affiliated militias, largely in Central Java, East Java, Bali, and North Sumatra from late 1965 to mid-1966. In a climate of national emergency, Suharto gradually usurped President Sukarno’s authority and established himself as the de facto president (with the power to dismiss and appoint ministers) by March 1966.

The massacres were out of all proportion to their ostensible cause. The Movement was a small-scale conspiratorial action organized by a handful of people. In total, it killed twelve people. Suharto exaggerated its magnitude until it assumed the shape of an ongoing, nation-wide conspiracy to commit mass murder. All the millions of people associated with the PKI, even illiterate peasants in remote villages, were presented as murderers collectively responsible for the Movement.

Indonesian government and military officials, to the very end of the Suharto regime in 1998, invoked the specter of the PKI in response to any disturbance or sign of dissent. The key phrase in the regime’s argument was “the latent danger of communism.” The unfinished eradication of the PKI was, in a very real sense, the raison d’être of the Suharto regime. The original legal act under which the regime ruled Indonesia for over thirty years was Sukarno’s presidential order of 3rd October 1965, authorizing Suharto to “restore order.” That was an emergency order. But for Suharto, the emergency never ended.

In constructing a legitimating ideology for his dictatorship, Suharto presented himself as the saviour of the nation for having defeated the Movement. His regime incessantly drilled the event into the minds of the populace by every method of state propaganda: textbooks, monuments, street names, films, museums, commemorative rituals and national holidays. The Suharto regime justified its existence by placing the Movement at the centre of its historical narrative and depicting the PKI as ineffably evil. Under Suharto, anti-communism became the state religion, complete with sacred sites, rituals, and dates.

It is remarkable that the anti-PKI violence, as such a large-scale event, has been so badly misunderstood. No doubt, the fact that both military personnel and civilians committed the killings has blurred the issue of responsibility. Nonetheless, from what little is already known, it is clear that the military bears the largest share of responsibility and that the killings represented bureaucratic, planned violence more than popular, spontaneous violence. The Suharto clique of officers, by inventing false stories about the Movement and strictly controlling the media, created a sense among civilians that the PKI was on the warpath. If there had not been this deliberate provocation from the military, the populace would not have believed the PKI was a mortal threat since the party was passive in the aftermath of the Movement. (The military worked hard to whip up popular anger against the PKI from early October 1965 onwards; and the US Government actively encouraged the Indonesian military to pursue rank and file communists). It prodded civilian militias into acting, gave them assurances of impunity, and arranged logistical support.

Contrary to common belief, frenzied violence by villagers was virtually unheard of. Suharto’s army usually opted for mysterious disappearances rather than exemplary public executions. The army and its militias tended to commit its large-scale massacres in secret: they took captives out of prison at night, trucked them to remote locations, executed them, and then buried the corpses in unmarked mass graves or threw them into rivers.

The tragedy of modern Indonesian history lies not just in the army-organized mass killings of 1965-66 but also in the rise to power of the killers, of persons who viewed massacres and psychological warfare operations as legitimate and normal modes of governance. A regime that legitimated itself by pointing to a mass grave at the site of the well, vowing “never again,” left countless mass graves from one end of the country to the other, from Aceh on the western edge to Papua on the eastern edge. The occupation of East Timor from 1975 to 1999 similarly left tens, if not hundreds, of thousands dead, many anonymously buried. Each mass grave in the archipelago marks an arbitrary, unavowed, secretive exercise of state power.

The obsession with a relatively minor event (the Movement) and the erasure of a world-historical event (the mass killings of 1965-66) has blocked empathy for the victims, such as the relatives of those men and women who disappeared. While a monument stands next to the well in which the Movement’s troops dumped the bodies of the six army generals on October 1, 1965, there is no monument to be found at the mass graves that hold the hundreds of thousands of persons killed in the name of suppressing the Movement. (above written by John Roosa).

Focus on who killed the army generals on 30th September 1965 has functioned as a fetish, displacing all attention from the murder of over one million alleged communists in the months that followed. Suharto’s regime produced endless propaganda about the “brutal communists” behind the killing of the generals, and still today most discussion of the genocide has been displaced by this focus. And this is true even in most English-language sources. To me, participating in the debate around “who killed the generals” feels grotesque, which is why it does not feature in The Act of Killing.

The Rwandan genocide was triggered when Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana (a Hutu) died after his aeroplane was shot down on its approach to Kigali. To focus on who shot down the plane (was it Tutsi extremists? was it Hutu extremists acting as provocateurs?) rather than the murder of 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates over the next 100 days would be unconscionable. Similarly, who started the Reichstag fire is irrelevant to an understanding of the Holocaust. Whether or not the disgruntled army officers behind the killing of the six generals had the support of the head of the PKI is much more than beside the point: it plays, as John Roosa points out above, the pernicious role of deflecting attention from a mass murder of world-historical importance. Imagine if, in Rwanda, the fundamental question about what happened in 1994 was “who shot down the president’s plane?” This would only be thinkable if the killers remained in power… (above written by Joshua Oppenheimer).

Source : The Act of Killing.com

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