SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies

Silencing the left: anticommunist extermination in the Global South

The Jarkarta Method
The End of Silence
Vincent Bevins (Journalist) and Dr Soe Tjen Marching (SOAS)

Date: 31 October 2020Time: 2:00 PM

Finishes: 31 October 2020Time: 4:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Virtual Webinar


In 1965, the Indonesian military oversaw the mass murder of approximately one million innocent civilians. They had the enthusiastic assistance of the United States government, which had been trying to crush President Sukarno and the Indonesian left for a decade. In the wake of the slaughter, General Suharto consolidated a brutal dictatorship in the world's fourth most populous country and became one of Washington's most important allies in the Cold War. This was such an obvious success for those wishing to create a US-led capitalist order that fanatical anticommunists around the world began to use the word “Jakarta” to designate operations to exterminate left-wing opposition to their own authoritarian capitalist regimes.

But Suharto's “victory” took place at a much more intimate level, too. Through the sheer effectiveness of the state terror campaign unleashed in 1965, citizens of Indonesia were forced to be complicit in reproducing the propaganda story that the military and the United States intentionally spread. Family members fell silent about what had happened, and an entire generation was forced to deny the reality of their nation before 1965. This is only one of the many ways this mass murder program shaped contemporary life in the Global South.

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Silencing the left: anticommunist extermination in the Global South

Vincent Bevins

Speaker Biographies

Vincent Bevins is an award-winning journalist and correspondent. He covered Southeast Asia for the Washington Post, reporting from across the entire region and paying special attention to the legacy of the 1965 massacre in Indonesia. He previously served as the Brazil correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, also covering nearby parts of South America, and before that he worked for the Financial Times in London.

Among the other publications he has written for are the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Economist, the Guardian, Foreign Policy, the New York Review of Books, Folha de S.Paulo, The New Republic, The New Inquiry, The Awl, The Baffler, and New York magazine. Vincent was born and raised in California and spent the last few years living in Jakarta.

Soe-Tjen Marching 2020

Soe Tjen Marching is senior lector in Indonesian at SOAS University of London. She is also a creative writer and an award-winning composer of avant-garde music. Her latest book is The End of Silence: Accounts of the 1965 Genocide in Indonesia. Her latest novel about the 1965 genocide, Dari Dalam Kubur (Inside the Grave), was published in September 2020.

Moderator: Yara Rodrigues-Fowler

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Southeast Asian Studies

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