Indonesian Literature vs New Order Orthodoxy: The Aftermath of 1965-1966


Anna-Greta Nilsson Hoadley

Perhaps we shall never know the truth about Indonesia’s failed (supposedly Communist) coup of 1965. But the consequences were clear: the fall of President Sukarno and rise to power of General Suharto plus violent suppression of all ’Communist’ organizations. In the process a half million lives were lost. Open discussion of these events – especially the killings – was impossible during the period of Suharto’s rule except in one area, Indonesian literature. Here it was possible to portray the events in fictional form at the human level. As a result, a number of Indonesia’s best-known authors wrote on the subject. This book analyses Indonesian literature produced during the New Order period dealing with the events of 1965-1966 and its consequences. It examines the political coercion that people were subjected to and how the authors deal with the taboo subject of the killings; it also considers how the Communist Party was seen and discusses the underlying reasons for why the fictional characters act as they do. Crucial here is the influence of Javanese culture and the significance of President Sukarno’s political concept of Nasakom.

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Indonesian Literature vs New Order Orthodoxy: The Aftermath of 1965-1966

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