Let’s give an example.
Take Golkar’s reaction to the National Human Rights Commission’s report on human rights violations and crimes against humanity in the aftermath of the 1965 coup.
President Suharto was the high-priest of the massacre. And Golkar his political vehicle. Hundreds of thousands, some experts estimate even a million, Indonesians were killed, murdered, after the coup. Many more have been imprisoned without trial or administratively and practically been outlawed. Even today, apart from the remaining survivors, an unknown but impressive number of the victims’ offspring has to deal with that bloody heritage. The 1965 purge of genocidal proportions is the country’s main, though definitely not the sole, utterly black page in the history of the New Order regime.
Today’s political party Golkar is the conspicuous heir of that shameful legacy. Though it’s present leadership in no way is directly responsible they inherited a huge moral obligation. Like victims most perpetrators are old or dead. President Suharto himself died unrepentant and without being held accountable. But Golkar is still here and should be questioned why the party doesn’t publicly distance itself from the atrocities, why it didn’t fully and willingly cooperate in the investigations and why it doesn’t offer apologies to the Indonesian people.
Alas, apparently Golkar’s current mood is quite the opposite. Set to win the 2014 elections it tries to scare away the dark shadows of 47 years ago.
Rather then confronting their past they prefer to confront their critics. A prominent member of the party, Priyo Budi Santoso who is deputy speaker of the House, recently offered an alternative solution to the direct and indirect victims: ‘look ahead and don’t dwell on the past. He obviously is not in a hurry to do what, according to Kontras’ Haris Azhar, is a MP’s duty: “solve cases of human rights violations”. The Ethics Council’s chairman Siswono Yudohusodo also seemed not to be very enthusiastic to investigate the matter’, probably thinking ‘what has been gathering dust for over the last 45 years can wait another indefinite time’.
Last week Leo Nababan, the party’s deputy secretary general, returned to the issue. He seemingly got very annoyed by victims still desperately but stubbornly seeking justice. Though his wordings were not that rude, yet what he said essentially came down to ‘stop bothering us and fuck off’. According to him there is no need at all for a follow up on the Komnas report while the 1966 decree banning all communist teachings is still valid. Which is legal acrobatics, in my opinion by the way. Moreover his arrogance is that huge that he managed to say that victims and their family members should stop nagging because they already got their civil rights back. On top of that he warned them nationalistic organizations united in Front Pancasila will block efforts to bring the case to court.
No apologies. No efforts to make amends. No hints about reconciliation. Just confronting tactics and even hidden threats.
If you want a definition of extreme “hufters” you can find it in public statements by Golkar officials on one of the very worst crimes against humanity after WWII.
Update: Yesterday, the 30th of August, at the launching of Jusuf Wanandi’s memoirs Shades of Grey in Jakarta, Komnas HAM’s “Nur Kholis, the head of the commission’s investigative team into the events of 1965, said that state officials under the Operational Command for the Restoration of Security and Order (Kopkamtib), which was led by former president Soeharto from 1965-1967 and again in 1977-1978, should be subjected to due process for various crimes, including mass rape, torture and killings. Hear, hear!