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Priest calls for reconciliation

Former party members should be forgiven to help prevent future discord

Priest calls for reconciliation
Soetriana speaks during the forum in Jakarta
Konradus Epa, Jakarta

May 17, 2011

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A Jesuit historian has emphasized the need for reconciliation and an end to the persecution of former members and associates of the banned communist movement. “Reconciliation and the offer of justice are essential for people associated with the Communist Party of Indonesia in order to prevent similar movements from rising again,” Father Fransiskus Xaverius Baskara Tulus Wardaya told 300 people at a seminar entitled: “The State’s Latent Danger, Post-1965 Violence.” The Communist Party of Indonesia was the largest non-ruling communist party in the world prior to being crushed in 1965 and banned the following year. According to the priest, more than a million people associated with the banned party were killed in an anti-communist purge that year. “We should not cease our struggle to uphold the truth and support victims in this country,” the lecturer at the Catholic University of Sanata Dharma in Yogyakarta asserted. He also suggested people associated with the former communist movement be cared for. “It is not easy to find information on victims since they choose not to identify themselves because of past traumas and current stigmas,” he said. Soetriana, a victim, agreed. “The search for truth, justice and reconciliation must be paramount,” said the 68-year-old woman, whose parents were killed in the 1965 purge and who was jailed for ten years. “We do not want revenge. Indonesia has laws which must be upheld. We do not want such a tragedy to happen to future generations,” she said. The Jakarta-based Driyarkara School of Philosophy organized the gathering to celebrate the birthday of one of its lecturers, Jesuit Father Franz Magnis-Suseno. Related report. Indonesian woman helps former communists IJ14235

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