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Tan Malaka monolog performance in Bandung canceled after threats, intimidation

Detik News - March 23, 2016

Tia Agnes, Jakarta – A monolog performance titled Tan Malaka: I am a Red Haired Deer should have been held by a theater group from the West Java provincial capital of Bandung at the Main Theater at the Bandung Francaise D'Indonesie Institute (IFI) on Jl. Purnawarman Bandung on March 23-24.

The play had to be canceled however over concerns for the safety of the audience, students and IFI Bandung employees. "In the end it was canceled. We took into consideration the safety of the people involved in the play", said Tan Malaka playwright Ahda Imran when contacted by Detik on Wednesday March 23.

March 23 was chosen by the organisers because 53 years ago based on Presidential Decree Number 53/1963, Indonesia's founding president Sukarno declared Tan Malaka a national hero.

"We wanted to write about people who have been forgotten. So we can review the histories that have been forgotten, in the years 1945-1949 there were hidden narratives. Which for me still hold their own mysteries", continued Ahda.

Tan Malaka was known as a socialist and left-nationalist figure. Born in West Sumatra in 1897 he died at the age of 51 in 1949. "Tan Malaka was a most highly respected figure. During the New Order era [of former dictator Suharto] his name was proscribed so we need to present this monolog", explained Ahda.

Ahda reemphasised that the monolog presentation was only about Tan Malaka. "It isn't an issue of ideology or something of that kind!".

Ahda explained that earlier members of the District Military Command (Kodim) and the Bandung Metropolitan District Police Chief (Polrestabes) came to the Main Theater at IFI Bandung. They questioned the organisers about the technique, permit and substance of the monolog. They also asked whether the play was part of the Turn Left Festival (Belok Kiri Festival) held recently in Jakarta.

Ahda then explained about the script and the permit for the event. "We said, the Tan Malaka monolog is not part of the Turn Left Festival".

However the discussion was unable to reach an agreement and scores of people from three mass organisations arrived at the IFI Bandung, threatening to close the play down and intimidating the organisers that were present.

"We tried to negotiate with them. But no agreeable solution could be found. In the end the monolog was cancelled", said Ahda. (tia/doc)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was "Diancam Ormas, Pertunjukan Monolog Tan Malaka' Batal Digelar di IFI Bandung.]

Source: http://m.detik.com/hot/art/3171923/diancam-fpi-pertunjukan-monolog-tan-malaka-batal-digelar-di-ifi-bandung.

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