Actualizing a History-Conscious Generation

ELSAM, Jakarta – After 17 years of reform, democracy has been built, and people relatively free to express their opinion in front of public. However, past human rights violations case, as an agenda of democracy, is still far from expectation.

According to ELSAM’s staff Ester Rini Pratsnawati, we need a solid synergy from various realms to encourage settlement of past human rights violations. Socialization and campaign about urgency of past human rights violations settlement, particularly to young generation, become important.

“Youth are aimed as one of campaign target so that they become a generation that is not uprooted from history,” she said.

Recent joint campaign made by ELSAM and survivors, took place in Santa Ursula High School BSD, Tangerang, West Java. The event that was organized in Thursday (4/6) was attended by 10th and 11th grade students. This event was intentionally packed as populist as possible.

“We invited them to watch documentary movie about past human rights violation cases, followed by discussion with survivors. Its purpose is to strengthen human rights capacity in young generation, to give understanding and knowledge about human rights violations practice, as well as involve them to encourage and develop human rights as the nation’s perspective,” she explained.

There were several movies played, which were “Shadow Play”, “Jembatan Bacem” (Bacem Bridge), “Batas Panggung” (The Edge of Stage), “Tragedi Jakarta 1998” (Jakarta Tragedy 1998), “Senyap” (The Look of Silence), and “Plantungan”. Those movies tell about memoria passionis from survivors of past human rights violations. Including survivors of 1965 tragedy, mysterious shooters, Tanjung Priok incident, Talangsari tragedy, Marsinah, Kedung Ombo, disappearance during 1997/1998, Trisakti shootings, tragedy of May 1998, Semanggi I and II events and so forth.

Movies that tell a story about 1965 event are The Look of Silence and Bacem Bridge. Bacem Bridge is a movie produced by ELSAM, tells a story about confession from historical actors including survivors that escaped from tragic slaughter. The “Bacem Bridge” title is derived from collective memories of citizens and legend where there were repetitive slaughter in a bridge that connects Solo and Wonogiri.

The other two movies tell a story about Tragedy in May 1998. The first movie, The Edge of Stage (2004) proced by KontraS-Off Stream and directed by Lexy Rambadeta tells a story about people’s gap and resistance against New Order regime. That movie also includes chronology of 23 civilians’ disappearances, including pro-democracy activists. The second movie titled “Jakarta Tragedy 1998” presents horrible and inspiring memory of bystanders from several most dramatic chaos in the history of students’ movement.

Survivors that invited were Tedjo Bayu, Joko Ciptadi, Mujiati, Utati, Wanmayetti, Ruyati Darwin, and Ucikhowati expressed their gratitude towards this event.

Utati admitted that she felt happy to see how enthusiast the students were. “Maybe some of them are confused, because what they see right now is different than what they learned before. But I’m glad to see how students want to dig information and wonder about past events that I experienced,” she said.

All teachers and students expected this activity can be continued. So that students have new alternative of history sources that set out from historical actors’ experiences.

Author: Purnama Ayu Rizky / Annisa Nurul Fadhillah