Hearing The Voices Of Women Victims Of The 1965/66 Abuses In East Nusa Tenggara

Friday, November 21st, 2014

ELSAM, Lewa – About 150 people gathered at Lewa College of Theology (“STT”), East Sumbawa on Friday (11/21/2014) to attend a book review called “Memori-Memori Terlarang” (Forbidden Memories). The book tells a story about women victims and survivors during 1965 in East Nusa Tenggara (“NTT”) and is written by Rev. Yetty Leyloh, STh., Msi and Rev. Irene Umbu Lolo, STh., Mth.

This event which was organized by STT Lewa, Women’s Network East Indonesia (“JPIT”) and Coalition for Justice and Truth (KPKK), presented three responders, ie, Rev. Alfret, STh., Matius Mesakh, STh and Rini Pratsnawati from ELSAM. It was moderated by Chairman of the Departement of Theological Studies at STT Sumbawa Rev. Ningsih, MTh. This event was also attended by teachers, pastors, professors, lecturers, member of Regional Representative Council Level II in East Sumbawa, vice-regent of East Sumbawa and students from STT Sumbawa.

After the authors/researchers and responders gave their point of views on the event took place in NTT in 1965, participants paired up and shared their responses.

Representative from Regional Representative Council Level II in East Sumbawa acknowledged victims during event 1965 in their territory and supported reconciliation effort. Other discussion participants also responded positively to discuss the event 1965.

“If we have a heart we should align with the victims of 1965/66,” said one participant.

Otherwise, the vice-regent of East Sumbawa responded negatively towards the discussion. According to him, if we want to see into the future we should leave the dark past behind. Some pastors also still concerned at the danger of communism that would undermine the church.

The discussion about event 1965 in East Sumbawa is still a new thing. “It is still a very taboo, sensitive issue in Lewa,” said Rev. Irene Umbu Lolo.

According to her, to hold such discussion, she has to be very careful and concerned about reaction from churches which are the spearheading community in Lewa.

“But still we should be grateful and proud of the discussion so that we can understand the church, members of local Council, local Government, pastors and teachers’ point of views in Lewa,” she added.

Author: Rini Pratsnawati
Editor: Ari Yurino