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TNI chief claims ignorance of Senyap and Jagal, contradicting own order to block screenings

Merdeka - September 22, 2017

Muhammad Genantan Saputra – Indonesian military (TNI) chief General Gatot Nurmantyo has ordered all TNI members to watch the film Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (Betrayal of the September 30 Movement/Indonesian Communist Party).

Nurmantyo's move however has prompted calls for this to be accompanied with screenings of alternative films about the PKI.

In addition to Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI, there are two other films titled Senyap (The Look of Silence) and Jagal (The Act of Killing). These films are considered to be the antithesis of the G30S/PKI film and there have been calls for him to be fair by ordering the screening of these films also.

Nurmantyo has only instructed his soldiers to watch the G30S/PKI film. The other two films however are not included in the list of films that soldiers are obliged to watch. He even claims not to know anything about the two films made by US filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer.

"Senyap and Jagal, I don't know about them. That a matter for the [film] censorship board [LSF] and the national police, right", he said at the TNI's headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, on Friday September 22.

Nurmantyo meanwhile claimed that his reasons for ordering the screenings of G30S/PKI was because since the reformasi era [the reform process that began in 1988] there have been no efforts to tell the story of the PKI rebellion that is depicted in the film.

The goal of the film screenings, he continued, is so no one else will carry out a rebellion in the future.

"If people have other perceptions, fine, it's up to them. There are different views, I don't have a problem with that. I don't need to respond to it, what's important is that I [keep] working. I say [again] that we have had a bad experience [with the PKI]", he explained.

Nurmantyo also said that he does not wish to respond to parties that accuse him of playing politics by ordering the G30S/PKI film screenings. "What's not politicised these days, marriage can also be politicised can't it. Forget about it", he said.

"Moreover if there's no [film screenings] anymore who will inform people about it? Children grow into adults, social media that's what they consume, in the end they won't be aware, and history tends to repeat itself right, if history repeats itself then pity the nation", he said.

As has been reported, the film Jagal tells the story of the perpetrators of the slaughter of people accused of being involved in the PKI in North Sumatra. Senyap meanwhile is about the life of the younger brother of a victim of the slaughter by people who claimed they were anti-communist.


Despite Nurmantyo's claim not to know about Senyap, this is an English language translation of his own directive posted by Human Rights Watch the on public screenings of the G30S/PKI film which begins with a warning to anticipate and restrict public screenings of Senyap: https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/supporting_resources/tni_commander_telegram_20170927.pdf (PDF format).

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Jawaban Panglima TNI film Senyap dan Jagal tak ikut diputar seperti G30S/PKI.]

Source: https://www.merdeka.com/peristiwa/jawaban-panglima-tni-film-senyap-dan-jagal-tak-ikut-diputar-seperti-g30spki.html.

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