In an unprecedented meeting that took place yesterday and assembled victims of the atrocities of 1965, along with senior Indonesian officials, Indonesia opened discussions on the massacre of 500,000 communists and their supporters.
“Let’s open this history together so we can all find out what has been wrong in our national system, why this nation could have the ability to commit mass killings,” conference organizer Agus Widjojo said in a statement, as reported by BBC Indonesia.
The massacre started in 1965 when a coup was blamed on the communists. Tensions between the military and the Communist Party came to a head when six generals were killed by soldiers who were allegedly sympathetic to communists.
What followed was one of the worst massacres of the 20th Century. Suspected communists and their sympathizers were tortured and killed, many more were detained and imprisoned without trial. Approximately half a million people were killed and no one has every stood trial for these crimes against humanity.
Today, descendants of the Communist Party’s members are still discriminated against, as they are forbidden from taking government jobs. Outside the Jakarta Hotel where the conference took place, anti communist protesters took part in demonstrations, as they feared the revival of communism in the country.
Through this conference, the government plans to make peace with its tragic past although Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan said there would be no official apology released.
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