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Remembering Munir, people 'perform music' at the DPRD

Detik.com - September 8, 2005

Triono Wahyu Sudibyo, Semarang – Old, young and even the children of Semarang gathered to commemorate a year since the death of human rights activist Munir. Calling themselves the People Against State Violence (Masyarakat Anti Kekerasan Negara, Makna) they held a 'music performance'.

The 'music performance' took place at the offices of the Central Java Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) on Jalan Pahlawan in Semarang on Thursday September 8. The demonstrators who represented a coalition from the Community of Buskers, non-government organisations, artistic groups and student activists brought banners reading "We are sick of the violence".

Before performing the music, one of the demonstrators, Winarso, gave a speech. In his speech he said that over the 60 years of Indonesia's independence millions of people have been the victims of violence. Systematically, the state has constructed a system of physical and non-physical violence.

"For example, the 66 cases (PKI), Tanjung Priok, Kedung Ombo, the murder of Munir, and the like(1). To this day, the state has yet to fully solve them", he said loudly.

They continued Winarso, are demanding that the state (the government, legislator and law enforcement bodies) fully solve the death of Munir as part of a commitment to break the chain of violence in Indonesia. They are also asking the state not to use violence in confronting national problems.

After the speech several buskers began to move forward. They invited demonstrators to sing songs of struggle a la students such as "The flower and the wall" by Wiji Thukul and so forth. After one song was finished they immediately sung another.

Because they were using musical instruments with an adequate sound system, the atmosphere at the gates to the parliament was very noisy. Even when three ex- Gerwani-PKI(2) grandparents and grandmothers gave speeches. They called on the state to solve the 1965 murders.

Satisfied after singing for around an hour, the demonstrators left the parliament at 10.45am. They walked on foot towards the Diponegoro University that is around 500 metres from the parliament. There they held a joint discussion. (nrl)


1. Following an alleged coup attempt by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), in 1965/66 former the military mounted a bloody counter-revolution in which as many as 1 million communists and left wing sympathisers were killed and hundreds of thousands of others interned. Tanjung Priok refers to 1984 killings of Islamic protesters during a rally in the North of Jakarta. Over 5,000 families were forced off their land to make way for the Kedung Ombo dam project in Central Java in 1989.

2. Gerwani - A mass women's organisation affiliated to the PKI in the 1960s.

[Translated by James Balowski.]