Grassroots Reconciliation in Indonesia’s Illiberal Democracy Revisited

Dr Priyambudi Sulistiyanto and Rumekso Setyadi 

2Flinders University, , Australia,4Syarikat, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

This paper examines the progress and regress of grassroots reconciliation activities in dealing with past human rights abuses in Indonesia in the past decade. It will trace back the trajectories under which the state and non-state actors cooperated, competed and were also fighting with each other in the creation of a nationwide reconciliation consensus (Sulistiyanto and Setyadi, 2009). It will address the significant lack of academic interest in analyzing the intersection between the nature of Indonesia’s illiberal democracy with the failures and successes of expanding grassroots reconciliation (Hadiz, 2005; 2017; Meitzner, 2018). This paper will particularly make use of two case studies: the external and internal dynamics of the state-sponsored Reconciliation Symposium on the 1965 affairs held in Jakarta in 2016 and the role of Imam Aziz, a former Head of Syarikat, in lobbying the Indonesian government and the leadership of Nadhlatul Ulama (NU) to find a national reconciliation strategy. In conclusion, this paper takes into account factors such as the lack of President Jokowi’s leadership, the opposition from the military, divided civil society, and ‘reconciliation fatigue’ in the making of the lasting reconciliation strategy in Indonesia.


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