One of the first publications to publish information on the early opposition to the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia was New Internationalist. In an October, 1982 issue it published an issue with the theme Dissent in Indonesia The issue included articles on thefall of Sukarno, on Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Hasta Mitra publishing house, on Rendra, and gave a selection of quotes from dissenting voices in Indonesia at the time. Click here to see the issue on the web.
The cover is of a painting by Permadi Lyostra. Permadi was an artist active in the Left-wing artisst organsation LEKRA. He was arrested in Bali in 1965 and eventually imprisoned on Buru Island concentration camp, where he painted this picture. He was allowed to paint in retuirn for painting portraits on order for the prison guards who arranged them for clients back in Jakarta or other cities. The painting is in the possession of Max Lane.
I re-publish the article I wrote for that issue below.
A sense of déjà vu
by Max Lane (October, 1982)
Peasants and professionals, workers and intellectuals today are joining hands in peaceful resistance to the subtle repression of the Suharto government It is not their first clash with authority. Max Lane recounts the last years of President Sukarno, when populist action panicked Indonesia's military elite into an orgy of bloodletting.
SUKARNO, the man destined to become father of the Republic of Indonesia, was walking in the fields of West Java, heartland of the Dutch East Indies. It was the 1930s and independent Indonesia was still much more than a world war away.