Reclaiming Space: Suffering and Survival on Buru Island, Indonesia
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When in 1965 the Indonesian military took control of government and established the New Order regime (1965–1998), it instigated a violent campaign against members of the Indonesian Communist Party and alleged sympathisers. It is estimated that 500 000 were killed, while over a million were detained without charge or trial, often for lengthy periods of time.
Between 1969 and 1979, the island Buru, part of the Maluku archipelago, was the largest site of political detention under the authoritarian regime. Buru’s prison camp was infamous because of its harsh conditions of detention.
Until today, justice remains elusive for those who were victimised by the violence of 1965 and its aftermath, including Buru’s prison camp. Similarly, there are no memorials on Buru to commemorate its past as a place of exile and locus of violence.
In this seminar, Dr Setiawan discusses various sites of memory on Buru island that enable the verbalisation of individual memories, giving former political prisoners and their relatives to give meaning to their experiences.