A Detour or Trojan Horse? Social Inclusion Initiatives and Reconciliation of the 1965 Violence in Indonesia

Ade Siti Barokah, Maulida Raviola, dan Ayu Diasti Rahmawati

5The Asia Foundation, Jakarta, Indonesia, 3Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

As Indonesia enters an era of post-transitional justice (Wahyuningroem, 2019) marred with intergenerational silence and signs of democratic regression, there is a looming question as to how the country should deal with past violence and human rights violations. It is within this context that several civil society organizations in Maumere, Palu, Solo, and Yogyakarta decide to adopt the social inclusion approach to forge paths for reconciliation between the perpetrators, the survivors, and even “the bystanders” of the 1965 mass violence. Working mainly at the grassroots level, these organizations have revived long-lost rituals, produced intergenerational art performances, and promoted inclusive health service for the elderly since 2014 so as to advance the reconciliation agenda.

Inspired by Sarah Maddison’s framework on reconciliation (2015), this paper examines notes from field observations and interviews on the afore-mentioned initiatives to explain how and to what extent the relatively “new” approach of social inclusion can reopen a “reconciliation space” either at the relational, institutional, or constitutional level in post-1965 Indonesia. Understanding the mechanisms with which social inclusion may (or may not) help in creating such space is necessary to determine what other complementary reconciliatory strategies should be taken by Indonesians to deal with their violent past.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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