“In the period of 1965-1966, there were massacres throughout Indonesia against suspected communists. Those who were affiliated or suspected of having ties with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) were arrested and killed. Those that were caught but were not killed have to endure incarceration, forced labor, and discrimination for a long period of time, even until today.”
Judges at the 1965 International People’s Tribunal held the Indonesian government to be responsible for 10 serious crimes against humanity in the period of 1965-1966. After considering various evidence in court, the verdict was read by Judge Zak Yacob, on July 20th, 2015. The Indonesian government was declared as the perpetrator responsible and must apologize.
The ‘65 affair impacted not only ideological and political problems but also education. UGM as an institution of higher education was affected. With the issuance of Decree No. 1/dar 1965 by the Minister of Higher Education and Science (PTIP), all organs suspected of being affiliated with PKI were prohibited from operating and their members were put on trial. Institutions that were being banned included student organizations such as the Indonesian Student Movement Concentration (CGMI) and the Indonesian Student Association (PERHIMI). CGMI and PERHIMI members who held important positions in the Student Council (DEMA) and the UGM Student Council Commissariat (KODEMA) also experienced the impact of the ‘65 affair in the form of a screening and dismissal process.
Based on an examination in the UGM archives, several decrees were found related to the dismissal, arrests, and removal of lectures and students who were deemed involved in G30S. Prog. Herman Johannes, UGM’s Rector from 1961 to 1966, signed the letters. Through the Rector’s Decree No. 15 of 1965, UGM temporarily deactivated several members of the faculty KODEMA who were suspected of being affiliated and were members of CGMI and PERHIMI.
The issuance of the decree was a follow-up to the PTIP Minister instruction No. 02/Dar/1965 regarding the freezing of CGMI and PERHIMI student organizations. UGM in the critical times after the ‘65 affair, to be precise in early 1966, had received the arrival of the Army Command Regiment (RPKAD) commander at the time, Sarwo Edhie Wibowo. The Lieutenant-General of the TNI visited UGM and spoke in front of the students regarding the role of the Mahakarta Regiment (now Student Regiment) in eradicating G30S. This fact is gathered from a guest book containing a list of activities organized by the campus during the 1960s, which is stored in the UGM archives.
Muhayati, a student at UGM’s Faculty of Medicine in 1961 said that the victims were members of an organization considered to be PKI’s under bow by the government at that time. According to the student who at that time was a victim of imprisonment without trial, the organizations that were considered as PKI’s under bow included the Indonesian Women’s Movement, CGMI, the Indonesian Labour Union, the People’s Cultural Institute, the Indonesian Scholar Association, even the Indonesian Student Youth Association and the Indonesian Farm Workers.
Regarding organs that were considered to be PKI’s under bow, Muhayati, who at that time was the treasurer at the Faculty of Medicine’s KODEMA, admitted that many of her friends who were members of CGMI were arrested. She said that some of the students who were arrested were not PKI members. “Their ideology was similar to leftist movements because they stood up for the little people,” she said.
Prof. Dr. Ichlasul Amal, professor of Political Science at UGM, said that the post-G30S situation was quite tense. He explained that the campus was split politically between the pro-Soekarno and anti-Soekarno camps. The Professor of FISIPOL UGM expressed how fierce the hostility between the two camps made the campus atmosphere less conducive. According to him, clashes between pro and anti-Soekarno students were not rare.
Amal also revealed that in a heated political situation, UGM itself was not firm in determining its position. “They were not helping or anti to anything,” he explained. Amal added that Herman’s incentives attitude in 1966 was the cause of a large scale student demonstration. The students wanted UGM’s attitude to be assertive. Amal also said that in the end Herman stepped down from his position as rector, not only did he step down, Herman was also jailed for three months.
Leftist views, Amal admitted, dominated UGM at that time. He said there was a significant number of students and lecturers at UGM who are sympathetic to leftist ideology. According to him, this has caused many to be affected by the campus ideological filtering. One of the lecturers who disappeared was a Sociatry lecturer. “Even though the lecturer was a good researcher,” said Amal.
Furthermore, in one corner of the UGM Museum, there is a certificate of appreciation dated December 19, 1965, that was given by RPKAD to UGM as an institution. The certificate explicitly states that the RPKAD expresses its gratitude to UGM for providing assistance in all forms in the context of eradicating the Gestapu/PKI in Central Java. This award certificate seems to emphasize UGM’s role in helping to clean up the people considered to be the culprits of the “coup”.
According to data obtained from Dr. Abdul Wahid, lecturer in History at UGM said that the number of lecturers and students deactivated by UGM far exceeds other campuses. According to these data, the number of campus residents caught in the governments “catching net’ reached 3,121 people and this places them first. In data, UGM’s “catching net” appears to be far more effective in comparison to Universitas Padjadjaran in second place, with a total of 252 people and IKIP Bandung in third place with 80 people.
In accordance with the decree regarding student dismissal, Muhayati said that students could not continue their study. “ It is impossible for me to go to college again, I will not be accepted,” she said. Muhayati added that she received information about her dismissal from a fellow medical student who saw her name on the announcement board. Before seeing the announcement board, Muhayati knew that she would be dismissed.
Abdul Wahid dubbed the events in the UGM academic world after G30S/PKI as Intellectual Genocide. He cited the loss of a generation of intellectuals, products from the 1950s, including those who became exiles. Even though, according to him, many of them received scholarships from Soekarno to study abroad, such as from China and several countries in Europe.
As reported by the BBC, some Indonesian students who were sent abroad to continue their studies during the Soekarno administration were reluctant to return to their homeland. The shift of power from the old order to the new order is thought to be the cause. For example, Ronny Surjomartono, was a UGM student in 1963 before he was sent to the Czech Republic to continue his studies at the Prague School of Economics. He was reluctant to return to his homeland because of the Soeharto government’s policy of imprisoning suspected communists and groups that supported Soekarno. He settled abroad as an exile.
In a research conducted by Willy Afarius Arema, a history student, class of 2014, after ‘65 campus politics was marked by the formation of the Indonesian Student Action Unit (KAMI). Student organizations such as the Indonesian Student Association, the Indonesian Christian Student Association and several other student organizations are members of KAMI. It is not certain whether the Indonesian National Student Movement joined or not. “But the possibility is that half of them joined, they were some kind of committee to fill the DEMA which was previously filled with CGMI,” he explained.
According to Willy, to maintain its essence on the scientific stage UGM made changes to its commitments. UGM, which was previously a socialist campus, turned into the people’s campus, and it was a natural change because it has to follow the mainstream. One proof of this change was the replacement of Prof. Herman Yohannes with drg. Nazir Alwi as the rector. “It was impossible for UGM to remain committed to a leftist ideology when the government had a different view,” said Willy.
Willy explained, on an occasion before the commemoration of Indonesian independence on August 17, 1966, UGM Rector, drg. Nazir Alwi made a speech. The speech said that UGM should be a reflection of the New Order’s brilliance. Willy interpreted that Nazir Alwi was an extension of the New Order’s to be rulers. Willy also added there existed New Order slogans that contained total corrections for all of the Old Order’s mistakes. One of them is the plan to cooperate with any agency again. As the New Order government then reopened relations with the United States.
Efforts are continued to be made by various parties to help solve the issues of the ‘65 affair. As reported by the BBC, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) hopes that President Joko Widodo can take the initiative to apologize or express regret to the victims of post-65 human rights violations. Regarding efforts to solve the human rights violations, President Jokowi has taken steps to resolve those listed in the National Mid-Term Development Plan. “We have no choice, (the case of alleged gross human rights violations post-1965) must be resolved. Because it concerns the victims, it concerns history, it concerns the people’s rights,” said Nur Kholis as the Head of Komnas HAM.
Until now, UGM itself is still unclear in determining its position regarding its involvement with the G30S. “It is not our capacity [UGM] to carry out an investigation,” said Dwikorita when interviewed by the Jakarta Post in 2015. Dwikorita at that time wanted UGM to focus on scientific development and did not want to be trapped in dealing with UGM’s dark history.
Muhayati expressed her disappointment that the stigma the society has created after the 1965 tragedy has created a curse. Other than her disappointment, she hopes that the current generation will find ways to unite and build Indonesia. Because according to her, when science and humanity are not appreciated, discord cannot be avoided.
Writer: Anggriani Mahdianingsih, Fahmi Sirma, Maheswara Nusantoro
Editor: Ahmad Fauzi
Translator: Alfredo Putrawidjoyo