Thursday, October 2, 2014

ETAN ALERT: Watch the Act of Killing, Take Action on U.S. Support for Mass Violence in Indonesia

Take Action on U.S. Support for Mass Violence in Indonesia
The Oscar-nominated documentary, The Act of Killing will be broadcast on PBS, Monday October 6, 2014, on POV. We hope you will watch this important and disturbing film, where

Although the massacre of between 500,000 and 1,000,000 communists, leftists, ethnic Chinese, and others in Indonesia in 1965-1967 is a foundational event in modern Indonesian political history, it remains mostly a footnote for most in the United States and elsewhere. In 2012, the documentary The Act of Killing shocked audiences throughout the world as perpetrators of the mass murder reenacted their violence. The film shows sociopathic gangsters from Medan, Sumatra, who committed these acts as they are celebrated by many in modern Indonesia. The film has fueled a debate within Indonesia and drawn attention internationally to events unknown to many. Events that the U.S. facilitated and cheered at the time.

The public television program POV will be airing the Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing on October 6 (and you can watch it on POV's website from October 7-21) and the film is available for online streaming and purchase elsewhere. The Look of Silence, a companion film currently showing at film festivals, focuses on the victims. It follows the investigation by Adi Rukun into the murder of his older brother who was killed during the violence.

These powerful films tell us much about Indonesia today as they do about the past. However, any evaluation of the events of 1965-1967 must include a discussion of the role of Western powers in the violence, including that of the United States. The East Timor and Indonesia ActionNetwork (ETAN) continues to call for accountability for those in the West who encouraged and assisted in the mass violence in Indonesia. The full truth must come out and the U.S. should declassify all files related to Suharto's U.S.-backed seizure of power and the murderous events which followed.

ETAN has prepared a backgrounder on the events and aftermath of Suharto's brutal seizure of power, where we focus on the U.S. role and responsibility. Read Breaking the Silence: The U.S. and Indonesia's Mass Violence
What You Can Do

The World Bank gave $30 billion to a dictator who killed 1 million. ETAN projected the film on World Bank headquarters in Washington to highlight international complicity in Indonesia's mass violence. Photo by Dakota Bell. 
1) Sign the petition urging the U.S. government to take two immediate steps:
a) declassify and release all documents related to the U.S. role in the 1965/66 mass violence, including the CIA's so-called "job files." These detail its covert operations,
b) and formally acknowledge the U.S. role in facilitating the 1965-66 violence and its subsequent support for the brutalities of the Suharto regime.

2) Watch The Act of Killing and write a letter to the editor about the need for the U.S. take responsibility for its role in the mass violence in Indonesia. We will have some sample letters available by the weekend, but it is better to write your own. Feel free to use ETAN's Backgrounder: Breaking the Silence: The U.S. and Indonesia's Mass Violence, if you do so.
3) If you are high school teacher or college professor teaching an appropriate subject, consider assigning The Act of Killing to your students. Use it as a springboard for discussions on the impact of U.S. foreign policy, the need to address human rights violations, and how the past affects the present. (Contact: Chris Lundry for further info or assistance.)

4) Support ETAN. We need your support to continue our work for justice and accountability. Please donate today.
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