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The 1965 Tragedy: Video Hegemony

The killing of six generals and one middle-ranking officer of the Indonesian Army on October 1st, 1965 was the pretext of the 1965 Tragedy. The military coup coincided with massive propaganda, where facts and data were blacked out. The press was controlled by the military news bureau, Berita Yudha, and other newspapers were banned. History became banal as it was delivered and diverted by the New Order regime.

I’d like to use Antonio Gramsci’s term, “cultural hegemony“, which is equated with the “strength” of a particular regime. In this context, the hegemonic position is not only demonstrated by the ability of the New Order in the control of every public space, but also through practices of political and cultural deviation, including in education.

This hegemony exists not only in text books, but also in audiovisual media. For example, every year, all students across the country are required to watch a film about the coup d’état by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), The film, ‘Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI‘, was directed by Arifin C. Noer and is categorized as ‘documentary-drama’ by analysts.

It highlights the torture of seven Army Generals by communists, and everything from the script to the visual dialogue portray communism, communists, the women’s movement (Gerwani) and all other related communities as being wicked and evil. By broadcasting the film on national television on the every September the 30th, generations born during the New Order period would only be able to perceive the idea of communism through its narrative.

You can watch the four parts of Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI below, and compare it with ‘Shadow Play‘, a highly objective film on the event by created by independent film group Offstream, after Indonesia regained its democracy in 1998.

Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (Part 1)

Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (Part 2)

Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (Part 3)

Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (Part 4)

Shadow Play: Indonesia’s Years of Living Dangerously