Colloquium with Prof. Baskara T. Wardaya, S.J., Sanata Dharma University and Gadjah Mada University
For more than three decades Indonesians were not allowed to freely discuss the massive anti-communist purge of 1965 by President Suharto’s New Order government. With the fall of the government in 1998, there was a great hope that people would be allowed to have open discourse on the event, known as the 1965 Tragedy (Tragedi ’65), which claimed at least 500,000 lives. In reality, even after the New Order government was gone, successive governments continued to ban people from discussing the topic in public.
Despite the ban, the post-New Order period saw many initiatives promoting more open and critical discourse on the issue. Against the will of the government, people produced books, documentary films, academic forums, and artworks, all dealing with the topic. Their works seem to have an impact. In April 2012 there was unconfirmed news that the current Indonesian president will apologize to the victims of past human rights abuses, including the victims of the 1965 Tragedy.
The question is, will the president really apologize? If he does, how will it influence academic research and discourse on the issue? What benefit will it bring to the victims and survivors of the 1965 Tragedy? Moreover, what effect will it have on the Indonesia society in general?
Prof. Baskara T. Wardaya, S.J. received Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in History from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He teaches at Sanata Dharma University and Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He also works as the Director of PUSdEP (Center for History and Political Ethics). His publications include: Bung Karno Menggugat! [Sukarno Accuses, 2006]; Cold War Shadow: United States Policy toward Indonesia 1953-1963 (2007); and Membongkar Supersemar [Dismantling “Supersemar”, 2007]. Currently he is a visiting Fulbright Scholar in Residence in the Department of History at the University of California, Riverside. Most recently he was a featured speaker at the 2011 UCLA Indonesian Studies Conference.
Cost: Free and open to the public.