Few weeks ago, i came upon this screening of an independent movie called the 40 years of silence. Similar to the act of killing, the documentary told the story of the G30SPKI conspiracy and the whole communist movement in Indonesia which unsurprisingly most Indonesian know nothing of. If you are a normal Indonesian citizen like me, who went to a normal school, i am pretty sure that you’ve heard about this event. The attempt of communist party to occupy Indonesia and the sadistic massacre of Indonesians by throwing them into a really narrow hole called the Lubang Buaya.
Interestingly, i couldn’t remember any more detail other than the one i’ve already mention. I remember some names and few events were mentioned during my history class at year 5, and i vaguely remember that there were one chapter about this in my history textbook. But thats about it. There were no further discussions about it, what the Indonesian Government did, what the communist party were fighting for, the movement from global perspective, US’s impact on the matter, or why the resistance. The detail was a bit blurry and unclear. All i know and all i need to know is that communism is bad. So bad that it was okay to kill most of them (because they killed most of us). It is quite hard to find a trustable source in this matter, the books in our bookstore are just ridiculously filtered and the teachers are reluctant to talk about it.
Quite embarrassingly, here in melbourne, i found a local documentary maker who somehow able to gather in depth information about this matter. And he isn’t even the first one. Quite a number of documentaries related to this matter has already been screened around the world except for Indonesia. Annoyingly, these kind of film were not accepted by the censorship law and is frowned upon by the society when screened. People have to watch these movies secretly. Okay, I did exaggerate a bit there, but my point is that even now it is very hard for the fact regarding this matter to come out.
Even though the Soeharto regime has been away for quite some times, it appears that the Indonesian media is still pretty much controlled when it comes to this matter. I remember my father telling a story about him being sent a package with dead mouse inside by an anonymous person after using a management theory that contains tiny bit of Karl Marx theory in it during his lecture. This show the level of control the government had at that time. It is not surprising then, when most of the fact, news, and recordings regarding this communist movement just disappeared or maybe never even existed. What startled me is the fact that even until now, that level of control still exist.
Recently, among the random puns and missing plane news that appear in my timeline, there are tons and tons of complains on how a recent hollywood movie called Noah is being blocked from Indonesian screens. The reason was quite simple, it contained materials which are inconsistent with the bible. As ridiculous as it can be, it happened, and we cannot do anything about it (except for complaining and overloading everybody’s bloody timeline). This demonstrate yet again that there is still a rather powerful influence in the Indonesian media by the government or whoever it is.
Although we live in the so called democratic nation, the information that we gather from the media are for me questionable. Its validity only adhere to the needs of the powerful and its intentions are to control rather than inform. The problem become even bigger when people with courage tried to resist this centralistic power (remember Munir). With the election fast-approaching, i think we need to become aware of this and even more help the public to become more aware of this. These powerful people are smart, they realise the media whatever it is their form can be a good vehicle to steer people into their favour. Jokowi with its social media campaign, Gerindra with their new viral marketing, apps, and yet another social media campaign, Golkar with their television campaign, and PKB with its dangdut campaign. These people are taking benefit from every possible media form that they have control of to steer us towards their favour. If we don’t act smart too, we will then just become a bunch of dogs barking at a bunch of bats who just stole our bones.
Ultimately, whats important now is that we are aware of this situation, of this level of control. Rather than complain about the content, why don’t we analyse it, start asking question on why this thing happened, and start to take our decision and vote based on what we analyse from the media. Not only from what we saw, or because one of the presidential candidate went to holiday with an ageing artist.
let’s be smart people ..