The Indonesian killings of 1965 – 66 purged the islands of the popular communist organization commonly known as the PKI. The islands of Java, Bali and Sumatra were targeted for the biggest waves of mass murder. Although much remains unknown about the killings it is estimated that a minimum of 500 thousand people were killed (more than any other event in Indonesian history). Facilitated by the Suharto Government and its military forces vigilante groups targeted victims primarily for political affiliation; but ethnic, religious and cultural hatreds, revenge, racial and social divisions fomented mass executions by one group against another. In 1975 the Suharto regime invaded the island of Timor, crushing the independence movement and annexing the eastern half of the island. During the invasion and subsequent 24 year forced annexation an estimated 100 thousand East Timorese were killed (approximately 1/6 of the population). Another 300 thousand were forced into refugee situations as the infrastructure of East Timor was completely destroyed.
This illumination draws upon the rich and diverse cultural history if this island nation with specific reference to the traditions and cultural expressions originating on the islands of Java, Bali and East Timor. Poetry selections from the era convey a spirit of collective loss as a result of the enforced 40 year silencing of these mass killings.