In May 1998 President Suharto resigned, ending three decades in power in Indonesia and what was known as the New Order. As an army general, he had intervened against a coup attempt in 1965 that ended with the sidelining of President Sukarno and months of massacres all over the archipelago as Suharto consolidated his grip.

More than half a million were killed, bludgeoned with hoes and slashed with sickles; rivers and beaches were thick with dumped bodies and blood, even in idyllic Bali. Islamic youth groups, with military support, targeted alleged communists and ethnic Chinese. It was a time of reprisals and score-settling, but during the Suharto era this bloodletting, and the imprisonment of a million suspected communists, were taboo subjects.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.