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Defence minister backs move by retired TNI officers to hold anti-PKI symposium

Kompas.com - May 13, 2016

Jakarta – Retired Indonesian military (TNI) officers are planning to organise an anti-PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) symposium on July 2. The anti-PKI symposium is aimed at countering the government sponsored symposium on the 1965 tragedy in April.

The retired TNI officers claim that the April symposium did not accommodate all parties so they have decided to organise an alternative symposium.

"If you want to set things straight, it must be jointly, entirely objective, entirely open", said Defense Movement (Gerakan Bela) central leadership board chairperson retired Major General Budi Sujana at the Kartini Building in South Jakarta on Friday May 13.

"We're asking for assistance, if you want to organise (a reconciliation symposium) let's do it together, a comprehensive committee, balanced speakers", he added. Likewise with the victims, said Sujana, not just the victims after 1965 but also to delve into the causes going back to the preceding years back to 1948.

Sujana hopes various groups and parties can attend the anti-PKI symposium in order to prove that the Indonesian nation is capable of defending the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) and the state ideology of Pancasila from being undermined by the rise of the PKI.

The retired officers plan to ask Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, as a government representative, to facilitate the symposium. "If he doesn't (support it), well it means that the ones supporting them are PKI", said Sujana.

It is planned that the anti-PKI symposium will be chaired by former army deputy chief-of-staff retired Lieutenant General Kiki Syahnakri. Syahnakri has said that they are concerned that the earlier 1965 symposium was one-sided.

Syahnakri claims to have asked that the earlier symposium be postponed but it was not done. According to Syahnakri, if the symposium's ultimate aim was reconciliation then this was not achieved.

"Reconciliation is impossible if it's only one-sided. Meaning the goal of the symposium was not achieved and instead it gave rise to an extraordinary reaction such as this", said Syahnakri. "Not to mention that afterwards [they] want to [start] exhuming [mass] graves", he added.

He said however that the organisation of the anti-PKI symposium is still facing financial constraints. Nevertheless, Syahnakri claims that Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu already knows about the symposium and agrees with the plan. "Yes, [he] supports it. [He's] also supporting it financially", he said.

Notes

1. Former Army Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Kiki Syahnakri was appointed commander of the TNI in East Timor in September 1999 after pro-Jakarta militiamen went on a violent rampage in the wake of the independence vote. Along with former armed forces chief General Wiranto and six other senior generals, in February 2003 he was indicted for crimes against humanity by the joint UN-East Timor Special Crimes Unit.

2. Ryamizard Ryacudu is a former army general known for his hardline stance on separatism and xenophobic remarks and criticism of rights activists. In 2001 he praised the killing of prominent Papuan independence leader Theys Eluay, saying the Kopassus soldiers who murdered him were "heroes". He is a close ally of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairperson Megawati Sukarnoputri and as army chief of staff during her presidency oversaw military operations in Aceh and Papua resulting in countless civilian casualties.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Didukung Ryamizard, Purnawirawan TNI Akan Bentuk Simposium Lawan PKI.]

Source: http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2016/05/13/15530051/Didukung.Ryamizard.Purnawirawan.TNI.Akan.Bentuk.Simposium.Lawan.PKI.

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