Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilNuméros99Lectures CritiquesKuncoro Hadi, dkk. Kronik 65: Cat...

Lectures Critiques

Kuncoro Hadi, dkk. Kronik 65: Catatan Hari Per Hari G30S Sebelum Hingga Setelahnya (1963-1971). Yogyakarta: Media Pressindo, 2017, xxvi + 989 hlm. ISBN: 978-979-911-605-5.

JJ Rizal
p. 261-264
Référence(s) :

Kuncoro Hadi, dkk. Kronik 65: Catatan Hari Per Hari G30S Sebelum Hingga Setelahnya (1963-1971). Yogyakarta: Media Pressindo, 2017, xxvi + 989 hlm. ISBN: 978-979-911-605-5

Texte intégral

1More than two decades after the 1998 Reform and half a century after the events of 1965, it transpires that the New Order State’s culture, which wanted to control the historical narrative and memory, has not disappeared yet. As a most straightforward example, in early August 2019, a joint force from the army, the police and attorney general’s office raided books that they called “smelling of communism” in a bookstore in Padang, West Sumatra. About two weeks earlier, in mid-July, the same thing had happened in Kediri, East Java. Then it spread to Makassar, where it was carried out by local social and religious groups.

2In television shows and a number of press photographs the book Kronik 65: Catatan Hari Perhari Peristiwa 1965 Sebelum Hingga Setelahnya (1963-1971) stands out among the exhibited books confiscated during those raids. Due of course to its jumbo size and its thickness (almost 1000 pages), which, in addition to making the book easy to scoop up from bookstores, also shows—as the historian Asvi Warman Adam says in the introduction—“a very rich source of historical information, that will invite readers to navigate a vast ocean to understand the 1965 tragedy from the time before its eruption to its aftermath.”

3However, even more importantly, the thickness of the book shows a breakthrough, considering the recent development of an increasingly complex situation for efforts against forgetting the events of 1965. Indeed, there have been signs of a new openness and of courage since 1998 to revisit 1965 history, but the resistance to these efforts is even stronger. In 2009 for instance, the State forbade the distribution of historian John Roosa’s book Dalih Pembunuhan Massal (the translation of Pretext for Mass Murder). Although the ban was eventually revoked, army officers, both active and retired, political leaders as well as religious figures openly attacked the National Human Rights Commission’s report on gross human rights violations in 1965. They urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono neither to accept the report’s recommendations nor apologize.

4Hopes resurfaced when President Jokowi was elected. On August 14, 2015, before the House of Representatives, he promised to try and reveal the truth and implement justice about the 1965 human rights violations, so that “future generations do not have to bear the burden of history”. Ironically, the promise was not even two months old when on October 1, 2015, it showed signs of being denied. Jokowi stated that he would not apologize to the PKI and the surviving families. As a climax, on June 3, 2017, Jokowi issued a statement with the common metaphor typical of Soeharto, “Show me the PKI, I’ll bash it”. Such a declaration is not surprising if we see how little Jokowi did when his ministers and the vice president, in accordance with official anticommunist norms and traditions that have been existing for a long while, attacked the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) ‘65 held in The Hague on November 10-13, 2015, to demand truth and justice about the 1965 events.

5Kuncoro Hadi, the main engine of Kronik ’65, stated in an interview that the main motive of his colleagues and himself in compiling the book was indeed related to the situation after 20 years of reform. The seemingly democratic regime that replaced the New Order has used many of the same techniques and mechanisms with an equally frightening impact to keep silence on the crucial questions regarding the truth about 1965. Kuncoro and his colleagues saw that some things can be done to prevent that the attitude of the authorities make the public mute and indifferent and forget the events of 1965, because it seems that in the future the way to urge the state to provide a fair narrative will be increasingly narrow and winding.

6In that situation the most appropriate choice according to Kuncoro and his colleagues was to compile a chronicle the main aim of which would be to collect all kinds of facts and events in a composition focused on what happened to the PKI during the period 1963 to 1971. Because this would allow the public at large to access a string of detailed data and a comprehensive picture of the events of 1965 based on chronological order from year to year and from month to month. The tragic moments from the end of September to the middle of October 1965 are specially described day by day. Even hour to hour and minute to minute for the days between September 30 and October 4, 1965.

7The idea of ​​making a chronicle also corresponds with the recommendation of the historian Geoffrey Robinson in his latest book, The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres 1965-1966, about what can be done so that change does not become impossible in the midst of the prolonged silencing by the state, namely urging the government to help clarify historical records by opening its archives from this period without restrictions.

8The Kronik shows to what extent the State has opened the archives on 1965. Because in addition to books, newspapers and bulletins published at that time, among which some, such as Harian Rakjat, are still difficult to access until now, the book relies mainly on archives. It is heartening that more than fifty years after the incident, the National Archives have opened the archives of the Supreme Operations Command (KOTI). These, combined with the archives kept at the Central Java Archives Agency, Gajah Mada University’s archives (UGM) and the CIA Daily Brief, allow to see the actions taken by the military and anticommunist organizations against the PKI and related organizations, including the efforts to control Sukarno and his people after October 1. To these KOTI archives the authors added new data many of which were not widely known to the people.

9One of them is Nusakambangan Prison, which is still little mentioned as a place of detention for 1965 political prisoners. So far, Nusakambangan has generally been signaled only as a transit point for political prisoners before being dispatched to Buru Island. Nusakambangan was overshadowed by Buru, Plantungan and Salemba. The Kronik gives ample room to review Nusakambangan, which at least since November, 10, 1965, has been used as a detention centre for political prisoners and was reported to be in very poor condition with an execution spot exotically called “white sand”. On May 23, 1967, it was recorded that Nusakambangan was occupied by 449 political prisoners from Yogyakarta and Central Java. And this number continued to rise. In a 1969 article, Soe Hok Gie noted that 55,000 political prisoners from Central Java were detained in Nusakambangan. This information was obtained from the Nusa Kambangan Archive, Cilacap, at the Central Java Province Archive Agency, but later on this archival fund was closed again.

10The Kronik also illustrates the damage done to the Taman Siswa institution—an important and historic educational institution inherited from the national figure Ki Hadjar Dewantara—due to large-scale screening and cleaning up of “communists” in its administration, who were replaced by people of the New Order, like Probosutedjo, Soeharto’s younger brother. Nyi Hadjar Dewantara, the wife of Ki Hadjar, was forced to accept this, while her son, Bambang Sukawati Dewantara, was labelled “communist” and thrown into Wirogunan prison.

11Finally, it is also important to pay attention to the team who compiled the Kronik ‘65. They are ten young historians who, on average, were still in elementary school when Soeharto was overthrown as they were born in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They had just obtained their BA and some had started their postgraduate studies at Gajah Mada University (UGM) when the book began to be written in mid-2014. Every week for eight months, the joint team routinely gathered to discuss the results of their library research. The text was completed in one and a half year. This has been a great work, requiring energy, effort and large costs.

12Regarding the cost of the book, it has not been covered by a grant from a donor, but by a fund provided by a publisher managed by a group of young men, just like a business investment. And it proved quite successful because after a first printing of 2500 copies in 2017 a second printing limited to 500 copies was issued in early 2019 due to many requests after the books were raided in Padang, and in February 2020 a third printing will be released with additional data collected by Kuncoro. Interestingly the history teachers gathered in the Certified Teachers Conference (MGMP) and teaching in high schools in areas affected by the 1965 violence are among the biggest consumers of the book. In a discussion forum in South Malang, East Java, a teacher explained: “If in other places teaching historical material about 1965 is not an issue—the teacher can simply say in front of the class that the PKI was wrong—it is not the case in schools where many students are children of the survivors of 1965”.

13Against this background and looking at the size of the resulting book, we may consider how earnestly representatives of the Indonesian millennial generation, who is often labeled as the instant generation and totally indifferent to political issues, worked to dig out facts in order to clarify the historical record, while pondering over the 1965 events, with a lapse of half a century after it occurred.

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

JJ Rizal, « Kuncoro Hadi, dkk. Kronik 65: Catatan Hari Per Hari G30S Sebelum Hingga Setelahnya (1963-1971). Yogyakarta: Media Pressindo, 2017, xxvi + 989 hlm. ISBN: 978-979-911-605-5. »Archipel, 99 | 2020, 261-264.

Référence électronique

JJ Rizal, « Kuncoro Hadi, dkk. Kronik 65: Catatan Hari Per Hari G30S Sebelum Hingga Setelahnya (1963-1971). Yogyakarta: Media Pressindo, 2017, xxvi + 989 hlm. ISBN: 978-979-911-605-5. »Archipel [En ligne], 99 | 2020, mis en ligne le 02 juin 2020, consulté le 17 octobre 2021. URL : ; DOI :

Haut de page


JJ Rizal

Historian and publisher, Jakarta

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

Association Archipel

Haut de page
  • Revue soutenue par l’Institut des sciences humaines et sociales du CNRS
    CNRS - Institut national des sciences humaines et sociales
  • OpenEdition Journals
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search