3 >- S J U L Y 2 0 0 0 BERLIN, GERMANY
Conflicts and Violence in Indonesia From 3 to 5 July zooo the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, at H um b oldt University in Berlin organized an international conference on the subject Conflict and Violence in Indonesia. Fifteen guests from Indonesia, Australia, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium , Denmark, and Sweden and about sixty scientists and students from Germany participated. Persistent violent conflicts since the fall o f Soeharto are indubitably a reason why the conference attracted such great interest. There were z6 contributions that can be divided into four m ain top ics, nam ely general considerations, case studies, cultural as pects o f violence, and conflict regulation. ■ By I NGRI D WESSEL A N D GEORGI A WI MHÖFER
he Head of the Com mission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KONTRAS), Munir (Indonesia), ana lysed the main factors that have triggered violence under the New Order and subsequent governments and made a distinction between differ ent types of state violence and collec tive violence. Freek Colombijn (the Netherlands) looked at the specifics of violence in Indonesia. He linked the role of cultural and social organiza tions with general explanations of vio lence and dealt with amok and head
hunting as cultural specifics, but also listed forms of violence that are of a general character and not limited to In donesia. John Sidel (United Kingdom) explained mass violence at the end of the twentieth century in terms of a ‘moral economy’, considering various factors such as state intervention, reli gion, and a population disadvantaged in the fields of economy and education. Ingrid Wessel (Berlin) dealt with state violence under the New Order during the 1990s, characterizing Soeharto's rule as based on direct and indirect forms of violence, underlining the rule of the military and militias in sup-
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pressing the opposrion. Andreas Ufen (Hamburg) described the New Order as a polycratic system of various domi nant groups. Robert Cribb (Australia) questioned the seriousness of the sta tistics of victims of mass murder under the New Order (1965) and of the vio lence in East Timor, demanding a care ful treatment of the estimated num bers of victims. Regional scenarios of violence were the second main focus of this confer ence. George Aditjondro (Indonesia/ Australia) analysed the political econ omy on the Moluccas linking it to the political elite in Jakarta which is said to instrumentalize ethno-religious tensions in the Moluccas. Susanne Schröter (Mainz) focused on the emer gence of a Christian identity in East ern Indonesia. Benny Giay (Indonesia) described the Indonesian politics of violence imposed on West Papua to explain the independence movement in this region. Ariffadillah (Indonesia/Cologne) spoke on recent develop ments in Aceh where an agreement between the government and the Free Aceh Movement has not succeeded in putting a stop to violent military at tacks. Against the background of de velopments in West Kalimantan from 1967 to 1999, Mary Somers Heidhues (Berlin) described the violent clashes between Dayaks and Madurese in 1997. Peter Carey (United Kingdom) reported on interviews that he had conducted with traumatized female refugees from East Timor in Portugal. Georgia Wimhöfer (Berlin) looked at the role o f students in 1998 and pointed out their weaknesses and strengths. Kees van Dijk (the Nether lands) elaborated on the creation of security groups (Satgas) after Soeharto’s resignation. Yusiu Liem (Cologne) evaluated 33 years of Soeharto policies towards the Chinese minority. Farish Noor (Malaysia/Berlin) discussed con flicts between the Malaysian govern ment and the Islamic opposition in 1997-1999.
C u ltural aspects Dias Pradadimara (Indonesia) spoke about the Indonesian understanding of spontaneous collective violence in the streets between 1997 and 1999. He concluded that these deeds were ini tially interpreted as ‘uncontrolled be haviour’, later as ‘understandable acts’ born o f economic necessity, and were recently described as ‘acts of pu rification’ of Islam and of a ‘tainted Indonesian culture’, thus justifying violence. Nils Bubandt (Denmark) ex amined violence in the N orth Moluc cas from various angles, including the way it is depicted in the media, the re naissance or the ja^o tradition (local leaders), the dominant position of re ligion in identifying communities, and the interpretation of violence as a sign of an approaching apocalypse. Anna Greta Nilsson Hoadley (Swe den) showed that Indonesian litera ture had brought up violations of
Antweiler, Christoph URBANE RATIONALITAT FINE STADTETHNOLOGISCHE STUDIE ZU UJUNG PANDANG (MAKASSAR), INDONESIEN Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 2000,499 pp ISBN 3-496-02692-8 Dahm, Bernhard and Roderich Ptak SÜDOSASIEN-HANDBUCH GESCHICHTE, GESELLSCHAFT, POLITIK, W1RTSCHAFT, KULTUR MünchemVerlag C.H., 1999, 684 pp ISBN 3-406-45313-9 Doan Van Phuc TU VUNG CAC PHUONG NGU EDE (LEXIQUE DES DIALECTES EDE) Universite Nationale de Ha Noi/École Fran^aise d’Extrême-Orient, 1999 167 pp, French Eder, James F. A GENERATION LATER HOUSEHOLD STRATEGIES AND ECONOMIC CHANGE IN THE RURAL PHILIPPINES Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1999, 19 1pp ISBN 0-8248-2213-7 pb. 0-8248-2153-X hb.maps Houtman, Gustoaf MENTAL CULTURE IN BURMESE CRISIS POLITICS AUNG SAN SUU KYI AND THE NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, 1999,392 pp ISBN 4-87297-748-3 Klokke, A.H. (ed. and transl.) TRADITIONAL MEDICINE AMONG THE NGAJU DAYAK IN CENTRAL KALIMANTAN THE 1935 WRITINGS OF A FORMER NGAJU DAYAK PRIEST Phillips, ME: Borneo Research Council, 1998, 314 pp ISBNO-9629568-7-2 Massard-Vincent Josiane and Simonne Pauwels (eds) D'UN NOM A L'AUTRE EN ASIE DU SUD-EST APPROCHES ETHNOLOGIQUES Paris: Editions Karthala, 1999,318 pp ISBN 2-86537-951-5 Office of the National Culture Commission PHRA APHAI MANI Thailand: Office of the National Culture Commission, 1999, 172 pp ISBN 974-7102-50-1,illustrated Pompe, Sebastiaan DE INDONESISCHE ALGEMENE VERKIEZINGEN 1999 KITLV Uitgeverij, 1999,290 pp ISBN 90-6718-154-4 Smyth, David (ed.) THE CANON IN SOUTHEAST ASIAN LITERATURES LITERATURES OF BURMA, CAMBODIA, LAOS, MALAYSIA, THE PHILIPPINES, THAILAND, AND VIETNAM Richmond: Curzon Press, 2000, 273 pp ISBN 0-7007-1090-6 Tiwon, Sylvia BREAKING THE SPELL COLONIALISM AND LITERARY RENAISSANCE IN INDONESIA Leiden, Department of Languages and Cultures of South-east Asia and Oceania (Semaian 18), 1999,235 pp ISNN 90-73084-19-9
hum an rights, even though the offi cial Indonesian reading o f history ommitted or falsified facts concern ing state violence in the aftermath of 1965/66. Tanja Hohe (Miinster/Darwin) evaluated the reception of the UN mission to East Timor by the local population. Urte Undine Froemming (Berlin) characterized the symbolic significance of volcanoes that has been perceived and interpreted in dif ferent ways by the Indonesian gov ernment and by the opposition. Anja Jetschke (Freiburg) spoke on the general development of human rights in Indonesia since the begin ning of the 1990s. Paulo Gorjao (Bel gium) compared developments in South Africa and Indonesia, conclud
ing that in Indonesia, too, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission could help to overcome crimes of the past and consolidate democracy. Most of the presentations dealt with violence in Indonesia in the re cent past and at the present time. The different approaches to the topic of vi olence in Indonesia led to a very com plex picture. Most papers will be pub lished in English language by Abera, Hamburg, probably by the end of the year 2000. ■
Ingrid Wessel and Georgia Wimhöfer, Humboldt University Berlin. E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com