Bali Writer’s Gabfest Forced to Drop 1965 Bloodletting Panels

Bali Writer’s Gabfest Forced to Drop 1965 Bloodletting PanelsBali’s prestigious international writers and artists’ festival has agreed to drop several sessions dealing with the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people in 1965 in Java and Bali after a threat by the Indonesian government that the entire festival would be shut down if they didn’t. This year is the 50th anniversary of the…

Indonesia’s Forgotten Genocide

Indonesia’s Forgotten GenocideWith each passing year, the memories of violent death dim the way that old photographs lose their color. It has now been 50 long years since that night in Jakarta on 30 September when seven Indonesian army officers including six generals were slaughtered by rebel troops, unleashing an orgy of violence across much of Java…

Half-Century Later, CIA Releases Indonesia Briefing Documents

Half-Century Later, CIA Releases Indonesia Briefing DocumentsOn September 16, the US Central Intelligence Agency released what historians and conspiracy theorists have long been waiting for – the agency’s top secret Presidential daily briefings covering the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson – almost the entire decade of the 1960s, the tumultuous period that included the growth of the…

Indonesia’s Next Target: Condoms

Indonesia’s Next Target: CondomsJust days after President Joko Widodo halted highly restrictive and embarrassing regulations to curb foreign journalists in Indonesia, another puzzling rule has surfaced as some lawmakers are pushing to make the public sale of contraceptives illegal as part of a proposed revision of Indonesia's Criminal Code. According to the Jakarta Globe, Article 481 of the…

Jakarta’s Slum-Dwellers Resist Attempts to Clean Rivers

Jakarta’s Slum-Dwellers Resist Attempts to Clean RiversJakarta’s governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, has kicked off a firestorm with his attempts to clean up slums along the notoriously polluted Ciliwung River, with more than 2,200 National Police officers and the Indonesian military deployed in the effort to evict rock- and Molotov cocktail- throwing slum residents. The city government two months ago ordered the…

Jakarta Educators Finally Freed in Sex Abuse Case

Jakarta Educators Finally Freed in Sex Abuse CaseTwo Jakarta-based educators who were found guilty in April in a bizarre case charging them with repeatedly abusing kindergarten students sexually were freed on appeal Friday, August 14, by the Jakarta high court. A Canadian teacher, Neil Bantleman and an Indonesian teaching assistant, Ferdinand Tjiong, were sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined Rp100…

Religious Tolerance Makes a Comeback in Indonesia

Religious Tolerance Makes a Comeback in IndonesiaIndonesia seems to be making welcome moves to rein in Islamic radicals, with President Joko Widodo calling on the country's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, to promote “moderate Islamic values” to counter violent militants. A few days later, on August 7 and possibly at the president's urging, Haedir Nashir, the newly elected chairman of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s…

Indonesia Peatland Emissions Highly Understated

Indonesia Peatland Emissions Highly UnderstatedThe United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is drastically undercounting carbon emissions from the draining of peatlands in Southeast Asia to make way for oil palm plantations, according to a new report. Peatlands are crucial in sequestering carbon and slowing climate change.  Researchers from the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment and from the Union of…

Indonesia Extends Forest Clearing Ban; ‘Not Enough,’ say Critics

Indonesia Extends Forest Clearing Ban; ‘Not Enough,’ say CriticsAlthough Indonesian President Joko Widodo extended Indonesia's partial forest-clearing moratorium on the day of its expiration, environmentalists and civil society groups are unsatisfied, saying the policy should have been strengthened and extended. Activists have mounted a national campaign under the banner "Strengthen the Forest Moratorium" (Perkuat Moratorium Hutan!) but their calls, street-corner rock concerts and…

School Case Further Hurts Indonesia’s Reputation

School Case Further Hurts Indonesia’s ReputationThe scathing international criticism over the April 29 firing squad killings of eight drug mules, is not the only case bringing harsh censure to Indonesia's legal system. Potentially even more damaging is the continuing fallout Indonesia faces from the conclusion of a bizarre trial in the South Jakarta District Court, considered one of the worst…
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