Archive for the ‘sejarah’ Category


One million – two million – maybe even three million people died in the aftermath of a 1965 military coup led by the general Suharto and supported by the West. Nobody knows the exact number; there were no records kept and no serious investigations made. Storytellers were murdered too; thrown in jail, forced to exile. Manuscripts and books were burned. Film studios were closed down. Thinkers were tortured, murdered, forced to exile.

That’s what happened in Indonesia after the coup that was full-heartedly supported by the West.

Until now, Indonesia remains the most “undocumented” major country on earth. Almost no great books and studies were ever written about it. The few documentary films which were produced rely heavily on eyewitnesses from the West. One reason for this is, of course, that famous “culture of silence”.

In Indonesia itself, after long decades of political and religious brainwashing, it is hard – almost impossible – to find a man or a woman capable of making coherent analyses of the situation. While other large and complex countries like China, India and Brazil are producing great and highly critical books, films and important historical studies pointed at their societies – nothing worth noticing is coming from Indonesia.

There is a shocking uniformity in what Indonesians think: they all have religion, and almost all of them are practicing a conservative branch of it; they almost all believe that PKI – The Communist Party of Indonesia – was responsible for the coup and should remain banned; that East Timor was not a place of horrific massacres but only an insignificant area where “they were killing us and we were killing them”. Until now, the great majority sees nothing wrong with the brutal occupation and oppression of people in Papua, Malukas and Aceh. And above all, almost everybody considers capitalism to be a perfectly suitable economic system for Indonesia.

At closer look, all this is not surprising. Almost immediately after it performed the coup in 1965, the military government, backed by the business elites, began a massive propaganda campaign, reversing the truth by 180 degrees: accusing Communists of staging the coup, murdering seven high ranking army officials and attempting to plunge Indonesia into chaos.

Communists became the first to be destroyed, closely followed by ethnic Chinese, progressives and atheists.

Suharto then launched his “Order Baru” (New Order), a vaguely identifiable brand of fascism based on cheap nationalism, obligatory religious indoctrination and subordination of the individual to authority – something often described as “Javanism”.

Eventually the military, government, big business, religious leaders and servile teachers and “educators” (only half of teachers survived 1965/66 massacres and those who remained in the system, without exceptions, had to collaborate with the regime) united their efforts and fully destroyed all critical thought and free thinking in this fourth most populous nation on earth.

Before the coup, Indonesia was undeniably a very progressive country, leading the world’s non-aligned movement. President Sukarno often described himself as: “anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist and anti-capitalist”. PKI – the Indonesian Communist Party – was the third largest Communist party on the planet. PKI was at that time working very closely with Sukarno and it had no need to perform any sort of coup – it was getting millions of votes, democratically. Indonesia was moderate, truly secular and a multi-cultural nation. Almost no woman was covered by a headscarf; no religion would dare to impose its rules of conduct on the citizens.

But American political elites – from Eisenhower to Nixon – had enough of progressiveness coming from the leader of one of the largest countries on earth. They never hid their determination to overthrow Sukarno’s government and to reverse the progressive course on which his country embarked. Indonesia had been bombed by the US air force from its bases in Philippines, while American politicians were making open threats.

The US was indisputably helping the Indonesian army with the planning of the 1965 coup. Many Indonesian top ranking military officers were paid and/or trained by the American government, while the embassy supplied leaders of the planned coup with the detailed list of names of those people who were later to be systematically liquidated.

After the coup Indonesia almost immediately degenerated into one of the most oppressive, corrupt, intellectually dull and compassionless societies on earth. Sukarno’s Indonesia was built on enthusiasm; Suharto’s on compliance and fear. The speed of change was shocking. But then, in what other society would 2 or 3 million people vanish in less than one year? One of the main reasons for compliance of those who survived was, of course, fear.

The new government served Western political and business interests perfectly well. Almost all public services had been privatized, including drinking water and transportation. Privatization had been accompanied by cronyism from top to bottom. Suharto and his family managed to amass unimaginable fortunes, taking big parts of them out of the country while the whole system was evolving into some sort of complex, institutionalized cleptocracy. But for the West that was all fine, as long as workers at the new multi-national assembly lines continued to be cheap and unorganized, as long as a scared and uneducated majority of Indonesians was not questioning the legitimacy of the system.

For outside “investors” – mining companies, for instance – it was possible to arrange almost any necessary permits to plunder natural resources all over the Indonesian archipelago, as long as the correct person had been bribed, as long as the right price had been paid. National interests were suddenly of no importance. Tremendous fortunes were made by the few, while a majority of Indonesians was descending into hopelessness, living in a lawless, corrupt, dirt-poor and brutal society.

Trade unions were broken and those that survived were forced to represent companies instead of their employees. Opposition had been banned and not only that: even some words like “class” or expressions like “class struggle” were forbidden. Chinese language (Mandarin) and Chinese culture were forbidden, too, including cakes and dragons.

Atheism and agnosticism were banned from the very beginning – even the words themselves. In the present day Indonesia, all mosques broadcast — at scandalously high volume and from the loudspeakers — entire sermons 5 times a day (some lasting well over one hour, basically waking up everybody who lives nearby as early as 4AM). There is no escape from this religious, clearly Orwellian indoctrination that served the dictatorship (by demanding obedience and uniformity) for almost 40 years. There can also be hardly any doubt that there is nothing “secular” left in today’s Indonesia, anymore.

Indonesian cities were fully surrendered to the private developers, became monstrously ugly (especially enormous Jakarta, which can be easily voted the most depressing and unfit-to-live-in capital of Pacific Asia), polluted, lacking green public spaces and even sidewalks.

The countryside, where most of the people still live, has been frozen in time or is simply returning to the middle ages; village chiefs, landowners and religious leaders are again presiding over the fate of the silent and obedient majority.

While hypocritical rulers were passing idiotic religion-inspired laws like the one against cohabitation (since last year a man and a woman cannot live together under one roof, unless they are close family members or are married), and against kissing in public (this proposed law will probably pass next year, again without any public outcry or protests) Indonesia quietly became one of the top exporters of child prostitutes. It has also one of the highest rates of sexual abuse of children anywhere in the world. Not to mention the fact that child beggars are on every major corner of big and small cities, many of them stoned on glue and other chemicals.

The film…

Indifference, hypocrisy, corruption (real and moral) is everywhere. Suharto’s design was to feed this country with pop and rubbish news, magazines, newspapers, music, films and books – feed it to everybody; to the rich and to the poor alike – and he succeeded in creating a nation almost without artists, intellectuals, scientists, without real opposition – a culture of emptiness.

. History was never seriously taught. There were lies about the past, lies about the present, false nationalism, religious fundamentalism, market fundamentalism, fear, hunger, lack of hygiene, of drinking water, of hospitals, schools, roads, security, lack of basic human decency and dignity – all this shocked me so much that I decided that I could not have continued to be just a bystander; I had to address the problems.

The truth had to be told; someone had to do it and since nobody seemed to be interested in the task, it simply had to be done by me. And I had to hurry up, because elections were approaching and there were great chances that the military will return to power, making this entire project virtually impossible.

I knew Indonesia extremely well, writing for 10 years about its conflicts, crisscrossing it in all possible directions. But this was different – I had to revisit its entire culture, reverse its past; tell the truth that had not been pronounced for 40 years, expose Suharto’s lies. I had to create a philosophical concept on which to base the film, but there was not much time for thinking.

There was no time for fund-rising, either, and I decided to dump all my savings into the project instead of waiting and risking that I may lose the only chance to make this film. Other team members invested their time and efforts, even money, too.

Thanks to our brilliant production manager, “the best of Indonesia” got involved in our project; those few people who survived indoctrination, prisons, concentration camps, isolation, even scorn. We managed to work with those Indonesians who never surrendered; those who fought, those who never lost their pride.

We worked with Pramoedya Ananta Toer – one of the greatest living Asian novelists – former prisoner at Buru concentration camp; with Asvi Warman Adam who ridiculed the entire state sponsored propaganda theory, arguing that there was no Communist conspiracy in 1965; with the son of the former First Secretary of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) – Ilham Aidit.

We worked with Djokopekik, arguably the greatest Indonesian painter and former prisoner of the New Order. We also worked with progressive Muslim cleric and former President of Indonesia – Abdurrahman Wahid – who repeatedly apologizes to the victims, calling for the history to be re-written and for Islam to be reformed. And we worked with many other people, famous and anonymous – but almost all of them victims, although most of them not even aware of the fact that they were.

And in the end, after the final editing in Hanoi, we dedicated this film to those very few people who fought Suharto’s New Order and to those millions who lost their lives during its reign.

Terlena is a 90 minutes long documentary. It was shot in 2004, before the Presidential election, on several locations in Indonesia: in the capital Jakarta, in Bandung and Depok, in the ancient capital of Java – Jogyakarta and in Bali.

It was written, produced and directed by the American writer, political analyst and filmmaker Andre Vltchek and co-directed, edited and filmed by Finnish filmmaker Linda Puroaho. Production manager, translator and advisor was Rossie Indira, Indonesian architect and writer, daughter of a former prisoner of conscience.

Until now, the film had not been shown in Indonesia itself – all local television stations, refused to take the risk and offer it to the public. It goes without saying that almost all of Indonesian media is still owned and controlled by those who were directly involved in Suharto’s “New Order”.

“Terlena – Breaking of a Nation” will be opening on November 18th, at 12:10PM at Village East Cinemas (screen No.6), 181 2nd Avenue at 12th Street, in New York. Admission is free.

Filmmakers are warmly inviting distributors, critics and filmmakers to attend this event. Invitation is also extended to general public.

ANDRE VLTCHEK can be contacted at: andre-wcn@usa.net


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ke sumba


minggu ini kami akan ke sumba. ada data permukiman tradisional yang perlu dimutakhirkan dengan pengamatan lapangan. kami harap akan ada banyak informasi baru bagi kami mengenai permukiman peninggalan masa megalitikum ini.

secara khusus kami akan meninjau aspek tektonikanya, aspek peri bagaimana perkampungan dan rumah mereka diletakkan di atas tanah pilihan mereka, ditegakkan di tempat yang semestinya dan dirangkai semua unsur bangunannya hingga bisa dihuni dan ditinggali.

pulau sumba sumba dan savu
kami berangkat berdua: anto dan gregorius. direncanakan berangkat dari yogya selasa malam menggunakan pesawat LION AIR nomor penerbangan WI 8926 pukul 20.45 menuju denpasar. di sana akan nebeng di rumah gede. rabu siang kami terbang menuju waingapu, sumba, dengan pesawat MERPATI, nomor penerbangan M 6710, pukul 12.55. di sana kami berdua akan [kembali] nebeng di rumah rudolf umbu selama seminggu [!]

direncanakan, kami berdua akan ditemani rudolf umbu dan heribertus yang keduanya alumni arsitektur duta wacana.
kami akan kembali lagi melaporkan setelah sampai di sana [semoga saja ada koneksi internet!].

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order of things

buku ini aku dapatkan sebagai hadiah atau oleh-oleh dari adikku nunung, sepulangnya dia dari sekolah di USA. karenanya buku ini aku hormati. sudah lama sekali, mungkin 10 tahunan lewat.

buku ini baru sungguh-sungguh berguna ketika aku mengerjakan tesis mengenai representasi dalam historiografi arsitektur kolonial. buku ini aku baca dengan susah payah. aku harus mengerahkan bantuan dari berbagai pihak untuk memahaminya. mula-mula, aku memang membacanya lewat orang lain dulu. baru sekarang-sekarang ini aku menghampirinya sendiri. langsung aku baca dia.

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kampung naga

kampung adat naga di tasikmalaya menyatakan tertutup untuk rombongan maupun untuk penelitian. hal ini sudah menjadi keputusan para sesepuh mereka yang tersinggung atas protes masyarakat yang mengeluhkan biaya parkir yang dipungut oleh PEMDA setempat. sementara, masyarakat NAGA sendiri sama sekali tidak pernah menerima sepeser pun dari pungutan PEMDA itu.

lebih lengkapnya silakan klik berita dari harian pikiran rakyat, senin, 06 februari 2006 ini.

inilah bila masyarakat sudah “sadar diri” dan mampu menyuarakan suaranya. kita merindukan hal seperti ini, di antara kekerasan yang dilakukan negara atas warganya sendiri!

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walter benjamin

benjamin-illumination benjamin-arcade
saya tertarik padanya ketika sedang mendiskusikan masalah otentisitas, aura karya seni dan ‘nasib’ karya sendi di masa reproduksi mekanik seperti sekarang ini. diskusi ini sudah lama digeluti oleh para seniman, dan karena saya baru saja masuk ke dalam kalangan mereka [misalnya, yang berlangsung di kedai kebun forum, yayasan seni cemeti dan rumah seni cemeti], maka masuk pulalah wacana mengenai hal-hal di atas ke dalam benak saya.

benjamin lahir tahun 1892 dalam sebuah keluarga yahudi kaya di berlin. ia sudah mencoba untuk bisa menghidupi dirinya sendiri dengan menulis, tapi gaya penulisannya yang khas dan keterlibatannya dalam tema-tema marxis membuat hanya sebagian kecil dari karyanya yang bisa beredar di jurnal sastra, dan hingga pada wafatnya ia masih tergantung dari topangan keuangan dari ayahnya. bantuan keuangan dari sang ayah sengaja dibuat terbatas dengan harapan agar anaknya ini terdorong untuk mendapat pekerjaan yang lebih tetap. namun hal ini tidak pernah terjadi, dan ia menjalani hidup dengan kekecewaan yang semakin menumpuk, yang membawanya pada bunuh diri di tahun 1940 di Port-Bau, perbatasan prancis — spanyol, ketika ia merasa tidak bisa menghindar dari nazi.

hal lain yang mendorong saya ingin tahu tentang pemikiran benjamin adalah fakta bahwa ternyata sumber-sumber mengenai kehidupan urban kota paris abad ke-19 banyak dilaporkannya. ada sebuah esai yang ia tulis [kemudian dibukukan dan menjadi salah satu bab dari buku itu: ILLUMINATION, yang diberi kata pengantar oleh orang hebat hannah arendt!] mengenai kota paris sebagai ibu kota dunia di abad ke-19. juga, tulisan-tulisannya mulai dibaca oleh banyak rekan arsitek.

saya sendiri merasa perlu punya bukunya yang berjudul THE ARCADE PROJECT. suatu buku yang diterbitkan secara anumerta dan lebih berupa kumpulan kliping mengenai kehidupan kota -khususnya arcade, suatu lorong teduh mirip di malioboro yogya yang sering dipakai orang kota untuk nongkrong- yang diambil dari koran, iklan dsb.

buku ini luar biasa tebal. dan bagi pembaca yang ingin mencari koherensi pemikirannya, buku ini sulit dibaca karena sedemikian beragam yang ia masukkan ke sana. namun demikian, menarik juga proyek macam ini dikerjakan. proyek macam ini merekam peristiwa-peristiwa sejaman yang berlangsung di lokasi yang spesifik: kota paris tapi dengan sumber yang berasal dari berbagai sudut pandang dan kepentingan.

saya membeli buku ini karena dikompori oleh rekan saya, undi gunawan, yang berencana membuat perbandingan proyek benjamin ini dengan tulisan-tulisan tentang kota bandung yang dikerjakan secara serial oleh almarhum haryoto kunto. beliau mengisi secara rutin kolom di harian lokal bandung PIKIRAN RAKYAT dan kemudian membukukannya dalam dua buah buku yang selalu dicari orang bila mereka ingin tahu tentang bandung masa dulu maupun kini.
entah sudah sampai di mana perkembangan proyek rekan saya yang cerdas ini. terus terang saya tertarik pada usahanya.

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saya tertarik pada riwayat atau sejarah dari tulisan-tulisan sejarah.

orang mengatakan itu [sejarahnya tulisan-tulisan sejarah] sebagai historiografi. demikianlah saya bersetuju dengan pengertian yang disajikan oleh wikipedia.

bila sejarah adalah tulisan mengenai peristiwa di masa lalu, maka tindakan menulis peristiwa di masa lalu itu sendiri juga punya sejarah. saya ingin mengenang sebentar tesis saya yang memasuki perkara itu: Henri Maclaine Pont, Historiografi dalam Arsitektur Kolonial di Indonesia.
henri maclaine pont [HMP] adalah tokoh yang pada masa sekarang dikenang dengan harum sebagai arsitek kolonial belanda yang menghargai arsitektur lokal di hindia-belanda. karya-karyanya menggunakan langgam yang distilisasi dari ornamen yang banyak ditemui di jawa. dia muncul karena dimunculkan oleh semangat jaman yang membutuhkan contoh arsitek yang semacam itu, yakni arsitek yang memadukan produk masa lalu dengan masa kini [modern].
sebagai peristiwa historis, hidup dan matinya HMP sudah banyak yang menuliskan sejarahnya, riwayatnya. artinya, riwayat penulisan tentang HMP sendiri punya sejarah, punya kisah. kisah itulah yang saya teliti dalam tesis saya tadi.

rupanya, tiap jaman, tiap lingkungan, menyiptakan gambaran yang berbeda-beda tentang HMP. ada yang memahlawankan dia, ada pula yang menganggapnya sebagai pecundang. dan lihatlah bahwa ternyata dengan membuat historiografi ini kita bisa mengenali berkembang dan surutnya minat terhadap HMP. suatu konstruksi tekstual atas tokoh historis yang pernah ada di masa lalu.

historiografi tunduk pada kaidah-kaidah sastra. ia membangun suatu catatan kritis atas tulisan-tulisan sejarah HMP. yang saya lakukan tidak menambah satu item dari koleksi tulisan tentang HMP tapi mengkritisi segala tulisan tentangnya.

semoga berguna, meskipun saya sendirian dalam urusan ini di indonesia!

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tempe dan identitas

tempehampir semua orang jawa suka tempe.

paduan serasi dengan tahu yang sama-sama dibuat dari kacang kedele.

di masa penggunaan tahu yang semakin jarang karena isu mengenai digunakannya formalin dalam proses pembuatannya, maka tempe menjadi pilihan pengganti bagi tahu itu.

mungkin ini sejenis pemasok protein nabati bagi masyarakat jawa yang diwarnai oleh warisan ajaran budha yang melarang konsumsi dari binatang. wikipedia memberi penjelasan mengenai latar belakang historis dari makanan ini.

dalam mendiskusikan latar belakang historis makanan ini wikipedia menggunakan bukti tertulis yang berasal dari serat centhini. suatu karya sastra yang ensiklopedik dalam menghimpun berbagai pengetahuan orang jawa hingga pertengahan abad ke-17. tidak ditambah bukti dari sumber yang lebih tua. dengan demikian maka makanan ini terasa baru, rasanya belum lama kita mengenalnya sehingga bisa dimaklumi bila ada dugaan bahwa makanan ini bisa jadi dipengaruhi oleh teknologi pengolahan kedelai via proses fermentasi yang lebih dulu dikenal oleh orang cina.

pokoknya dari luar.

masakan cina [dan india] memang sangat memengaruhi makanan jawa. ada banyak makanan cina yang sudah dijawakan, dan ada pula yang tetap dipertahankan sebagaimana semula.

makanan cina yang dijawakan itu bisa jadi melalui proses modifikasi bahan, teknik memasak, dan cara penyajiannya. bakmi misalnya, di surakarta dan yogyakarta dikenal pemisahan antara bakmi jawa dan bakmi cina. demikian pula nasi goreng, juga tahu yang punya istilah cina tofu.
memang yang kita makan dan meresap ke dalam tubuh ini berasal dari berbagai tempat yang asal enak dan asal lidah bisa menerimanya maka okelah…

bukan hanya lidah yang punya keleluasaan itu, mata juga, pendengaran juga, penciuman juga… so, sekujur indera dalam tubuh kita ikut membangun berbagai pengalaman dengan kebudayaan lain. sulit sekali kita ngomong mengenai identitas bila itu dipahami sebagai konstruksi esensial.

identitas kita, baik untuk makanan, busana, musik, arsitektur dsb. adalah campuran…

jangan ngomong identitas lagi deh…:-)

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