‘Monstrous and frightening’
I was shocked when I read that President Duterte called on the military to do what General Suharto did to Indonesian communists. Our President ordered: “Do not fight them, destroy them. Destroy them, kill them.”
Before the 1965 anticommunist massacre in Indonesia, there was supposedly a failed procommunist coup. Suharto and his henchmen directed a massive massacre afterwards. Between 500,000 and 1 million victims died at the hands of military-led vigilante mobs over a six-month period. The CIA gave Suharto the names of communist party members. They were killed, as well as activists, ethnic Chinese and religious minorities. Also murdered were neighbors whom the mob leaders did not like. Few bullets were fired; most were killed by stabbing, beating and strangulation.
Historians such as Benedict Anderson claim there was actually no coup, but it was an excuse manufactured by Suharto to sideline President Sukarno and seize power for himself. After this mass butchery, Suharto became a dictator, ruling Indonesia for the next 30 years.
For our President now to order the military to destroy the communists is monstrous and frightening. Whatever guise it takes, such a campaign will damage not just the communists, but also society itself.
JONATHAN FOE, [email protected]
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