Fifty-two years ago, in the wake of an alleged coup attempt known as the September 30th Movement, the Indonesian Army launched a campaign of mass murder against supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party and its affiliated organizations, killing an estimated 500,000 unarmed civilians, imprisoning hundreds of thousands more, and bringing to power General Suharto, who ruled Indonesia for 32 years before his ouster in 1998.
This talk will explore recent efforts to research the mass killings in Indonesia as well as ongoing campaigns for truth and accountability, nearly twenty years after Suharto’s ouster. It will argue that, amidst a resurgence of “anti-communist” campaigns and repression, the success of both is crucial for the stability of Indonesia’s fragile democracy.
Speaker Bio: Brad Simpson is Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies at the University of Connecticut and the author of Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968. He is also founder and director of the Indonesia and East Timor Documentation Project at the non-profit National Security Archive.