New Internationalist

Voices Against The New Order

Issue 116

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INDONESIA [image, unknown] International solidarity

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Voices against the New Order
It is not just radical students, embittered former political prisoners and artists with utopian dreams who criticise the New Order government in Jakarta. More and more, people in positions of authority and members of the 'establishment' are voicing their concern that Suhartoism is not the way for Indonesia.

Hariman Siregar,
chairman of the Students Council
of the University of Indonesia.
And so development activities and the government itself have become something alien to the people. And, more than that, within the people's hearts, development has come to mean expulsion from their land, forced sales of their rice to the government (at artificially low prices) and an increasingly difficult life in the villages. But, on the other hand, for those ciose to power. development has provided the opportunity to store up riches and satisfy their lust for all kinds of luxury goods. This group is willing to use any means and any weapon to maintain the present situation. So the rakiar (people) will always be kept just an object of suffering forced to be silent and without power. And for us. the young generation, this is a dangerous threat to the future. Because, by forbidding all activities that smell of making an issue of social development. it might make make us Citizens insensitive to the situation about us.

(Address to a student rally in 1973.)


Ibrahim Zakir,student leader
In the second five year plan the government went for economic self-sufficiency in rice but we now import 2.6 millions tonnes, one-third of all rice exported in the world. I think this makes us the largest rice importer in the world.

During his trial in 1979. Ibrahim was referring to 1978 rice Imports.

Lieut-General Ali Sadikin, former governor of Jakarta.
While everything seems to have been tried. progress towards a just and prosperous society’ seems very dismal... It is a pity that it (the state ideology - Panca Sila) is more being talked about instead of being implemented. . . If I have to voice criticism II name the undemocratic way of arriving at decisions as the main counter-productive force against efforts to substantiate the ideals of independence. That brings us to the appreciation that the alternatixe to today’s systems is not simply “back to the old days” (Sukamo’s), but rather to the democratisation of the decision-making process...

In an address to heads of diplomatic missions in Jakarta in September 1980. The dean of the diplomatic corps was later asked by the government to invite Ali Sadikin to speak again.

Syahrir, an economist at the University of Indonesia
Since I took my first step into the precincts of the university and even now — I continue to side with moral force. But the evil and tyranny I witness around me attacks and burns and destroys the dreams of my student days. And, yes, more than that, the facts tell me a different truth: moral force has failed to touch the hearts of those in power. . . It is a great pity that now, and maybe for a long time to come, those without power will not be able to talk about the problems of their society.

April 1975, during his trial on charges of subversion. On June 13, 1975, Syahrir was sentenced to 6 1/2 years.


Pramoedya Ananta Toer, author
Wherever they burn books, they will eventually also be burning humans.

Pramoedva, 1981 quoting Heinrich Hejuc in his own work Pramoedya Ananta Toer: Mens en Schrijver. Pramoedya’s comment, was made when he was questioned on the Indonesian government’s order that all copies of his novels This World of Mankind and Child of All Nations should be destroyed.


Eye-witness account from East Timor in 1981
Indonesian soldiers took hold of the legs of small children and threw them around in the air a number of times and smashed their heads against a rock. There was a woman who asked that one of the children be given to her after the mother had been killed. At that time, a soldier permitted the woman to take the small child, but a few minutes later he grabbed the child and killed him...

From evidence to an Australian Senate inquiry this year into an Indonesian search and destroy operation in East Timor in 1981.


T. Mulya Lubis, leader of the Legal Aid Institute in Jakarta
In principle, the implementation of the death sentence is a step backwards in our efforts to uphold law and basic human rights.

In a cable to President Suharto appealing to him to spare the lives of prisoners condemned to death for political activities.


Nicolaas Jouwe,
West Irianese living in exile in Holland and a member of the OPM
(Free Papua Movement)
In the 20 years that lie behind us. the Indonesian army of occupation has killed more than 200,000 Melanesian men. women and children. Vafuabic possessions belonging to the Melanesian people.. have been confiscated by the Indonesian military and transferred to the possession of Indonesian immigrants... We are born fighters. This is our country and we are fighting for it now. Now and tomorrow. Our fight will never end till we win.’

From an article in the Times of Papua New Guinea.


Adnan Buyung Nasution was a Suhartoappointed member of parliament until he was sacked because be began to campaign for restoration of constitutional government
When I was released from prison in 1976 I went to see Sudomo. The chief of Kopkamtib (security command) and asked him to get rid of all the people who used to interrogate, torture and beat those prisoners because in my eyes they are not human beings. They are like animals, they have no conscience.

From an interview, 1982, with Carmel Budiardjo of Tapol, the British Campaign for the defence of Political Prisoners and Human Rights in Indonesia. Buyung, a lawyer, is now Indonesia's best known human rights worker.

Intellectuals and men of the arts

A. B. Nasution, lawyer; Rendra, poet and playwright Ikranagara, playwright; Mochtar Lubis, Indonesia’s best known journalist; Mely G. Tan, sociologist:
Sjuman Djaya, film director; Taufik Abdullab, historian; Satyagraha Hoerip, cultural affairs editor of the daily Sinar Harapan newspaper; H.J.C. Princen, chairman of the Institute for the Defence of Human Rights; Abrul Rabman Saleh, lawyer; Ismail Suny, professor of law; Thee Klan Wie, economist: Dawam Raharjo, of Prisma, a social science monthly:

We. intellectuals and men of the arts of Indonesia, having observed the latest situation in our country, such as arrests, detentions and persecutions of’ the student leaders, the banning of the newspapers Kompas, Sinar Harapan, Merdeka, Pelita, The Indonesian Times, Sinar Pagi, and Pos Sore, do hereby issue the following statement:

1. That according to the 1945 Constitution. this country is a state based on the rule of law and not a state based on power. Therefore determination of truth is not solely the monopoly of the authorities in power.

2. We believe that the freezing of the students’ Councils... is wrong...

3. We believe that the arrests, detentions and persecutions against some of the student leaders, simply because they have a difference of opinion with the authorities and expressed it in the fashion of the young, in an unwise and uneducative action: it has given rise to uneasiness, fear and a feeling of being in the dark on what is prevailing in the state and society in which we live.

From a Statement of intellectuals and Men of the Arts of Indonesia' released on January 24, 1978. Taufik Abdullah lost his position as head of the National Institute for Economic and Cultural Research for signing the statement. Rendra and Suny were later arrested Moehtar Lubis's newspaper Indonesia Raya was closed down. Mely Tan and Thee Kian Wie who held positions in the same institute as Taufik Abdullah, were demoted.


Dweller in the wind
Indonesians hang on every word that spills from Rendra's Ups. Willibordus Surendra Rendra, poet, playwright, producer, actor, sees himself as a 'dweller in the wind', guardian of the 'spirit in society'; he is in seach of 'justice in social balance in the universe'.

For years he has been harassed by Indonesian authorities. His works are baniwd. In 1978 he was jailed without trial after a spectacular poetry-reading in Jakarta. In 1980 his government would not allow him to visit Australia.

These are extracts from some of his poems:

From CIGARS, 1977
We must stop buying the analysis of the foreigners
Texts may only give method
But we ourselves must analyse our condition.
We must go out into the streets. Into the villages.
Take note of all the symptoms,
And consciously live the problems that are real.


From A BEER BOTTLE; 1977

The metropolitan cities have not grown from industry,
But have grown out of the need by foreign
industrial states for markets and sources
of natural resources.
Here, metropolitan cities are the infrastructure for accumulation, By Europe, Japan, China, Amenca, Australia and other industrial states...
Must all countries that wish to advance become industnal Countries?

In the land of our own ancestors, Villagers’ eyes, bewildered, chase dreams,
And come enslaving themselves to Jakarta. Jakartans’ eyes bewildered, chase dreams,
And enslave themselves to Japan, Europe or America.


From SPIES, 1978
‘How can lt’e possibly know;
If the papers are pressured by the censors,
And free forums have been contralled?

The papers are die extensions of our eyes. Now they’re repliwed by official eves. We no longer see a varied reality
We’re only given a picture of a ,model reality.

Which has been tailored by official tailors.
The eves of the people have been extracted.

The people grope amongst the rumours and plots.
The government’s eves
The gol’ernment’s eves wear black sun-glasses.
Alienated behind tables of authority.
The gol’ernlnent’s true eves have been replaced with spies…

Everyone is angry.
The people are angry, the government is angry
All are angry as they have no eyes.
All eves have been sabotaged.
Only spying eves are free to circulate.


From POOR PEOPLE, 1978
Do not say this country is rich, Because poor people increase in numbers in towns and villages.
Do not say you yourself are rich. When your neighbour eats the corpse of his cat.
The symbol of this country should be clogs and calico.
And it should be proposed.
That when meeting the president there’s no need to wear a tie like a Dutch man.
And soldiers in the street must be given advice:
Don’t feel so free to beat up students.

Poor people in the streets...

Their numbers cannot mystically be made zero.
They will become questions
Which will cut off your ideology. Their yellow teeth
Will snarl in the face of your religion. Syphilis and TB bacteria from the dark lanes

Will ride in the curtains of the presidential residence
And in the programmes of the
arts centres


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