Saturday, July 16, 2011

Author's note re: use of names

On recent posts you have probably noticed that most people are listed simply by a single initial. I wanted to give you a quick note on the reasoning behind this. Much of the program I am doing here in Indonesia focuses on the fallout of the mass violence that took place in 1965-1966 in Bali and Java, where between 500,000-1,000,000 people were killed from October-December 1965 with killings continuing into 1966.

This violence is still seen as legitimate in many circles, as it was carried out under the ostensible justification of 'cleansing' the country of communism. The specter of communism is still raised to this day to squelch myriad forms of advocacy, from environmental organizing to calls for responsible tourism investments that don't exploit local labor and natural resources. Talking- much less actively informing a bunch of American students- about the circumstances and challenging the dominant discourse around 1965 is very, very dangerous. Military intelligence officers frequent the hangouts where my friends congregate, even the spaces contained within the walls of a family compound because a small 'park' is dedicated to promoting discussion about 1965 at one of my friend's family homes.

Because of the dangers and possible consequences that come with speaking out against injustice around 1965- and being critical of the government more broadly- I have choosen to give people pseudonyms or list them simply by an initial. As Leslie and Degung have published broadly about their work related to 1965, and out of respect for their advocacy and public scholarship, I will continue to use their names and link to their work when appropriate.

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