Fifty Years Later: The Violence of 1965-66 in Historical Perspective

It has been 50 years since the traumatic and large-scale mass killings of alleged communists in Indonesia. The nationwide massacres of 1965-66 left many thousands dead. Despite their immense human toll, they are rarely discussed openly in Indonesia and are not as widely recognized as other instances of mass violence in the region. This panel brings together several perspectives on the mass violence and explores its open questions. What do we know about these events now? How does the world see them, and how are they seen in Indonesia? These and other questions will be discussed by three leading voices on the subject.


Mr. Earl Drake, Honorary Fellow (Institute of Asian Research, UBC)
Professor Drake has been a major figure in Canada-Asia relations for forty years, serving as Canada’s Ambassador to China (1987-90), Indonesia (1982-83), Assistant Deputy Minister for Asia Pacific in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and Vice-President of CIDA.

Dr. John Roosa, Associate Professor (Department of History, UBC)
Dr. John Roosa has been investigating the events of 1965-66 in Indonesia and has written a book about the September 30th Movement, Pretext for Mass Murder (2006), and co-edited a book about the experiences of the victims of the violence, Tahun yang Tak Pernah Berakhir (2004), and is currently working on a book about the social memory of the violence after 1965. He has written articles about torture, the truth commission in East Timor, and the military occupation of East Timor.

Ms. Ayu Ratih, PhD Candidate (Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program, UBC)
Ms. Ayu Ratih is an expert on Indonesian history, especially the violence of 1965-66 as experienced by the victims, co-editor of a book of Indonesian-language oral history essays The Year that Never Ended (2004), and research director of the Indonesian Institute of Social History, Jakarta.

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