Interview With Salijo and Satwi

Husband and wife Salijo and Satwi, both ex-members of the People’s Youth under the PKI, speak about how existing tensions regarding rice cultivation in their village culminated in social warfare during the Indonesian Massacres of 1965.

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Salijo and Satwi got married on the night of the Gestapu Incident, on the 30th of September 1965. They spent the next few nights in fear, worried that they would be hunted down and kidnapped. That was because both of them were from the People’s Youth, a subsidiary organisation under the Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI). Both of them had already heard murmurings about how PKI members and sympathizers were already marked for extermination.

The couple recalled that a curfew was imposed exactly on the selapan (a fixed period of thirty-five days) of their marriage, in Soro, where they lived. They also recalled that the murders really only lasted for around three months, and incidents of slaughtering died down by the end of January in 1966. Forces allied with the religious Islamic forces at the village level were chiefly responsible for targeting and exterminating elements related to the PKI, as well as those whom they felt were not religious enough. One of their acquaintances, named Sama, was even betrayed by his cousin, who ratted him out to the Islamist forces in the village. Salijo and Satwi were fortunate enough to have not been targeted directly for extermination, given that they did not actively participate in the People’s Front to begin with. The immense uncertainty of the moment, however, meant that neither of them could take anything for granted and had to be constantly on their guard.

Fearing for his life, Salijo and some of his friends sought refuge from an elder, named Tulataman. In exchange for protection, Tulataman had him and his friends cook mutton for him every night. The effort was worth it: for a group of 25 executioners stormed into Tulataman’s house and attempted to arrest Salijo and his friends, but were stopped by Tulataman. The person leading that pack was named Radila Seto. Seto was some kind of village hoodlum and wasn’t a very nice person to get along with even before the Gestapu incident in 1965–at least from the viewpoint of Satwi. Seto was initially supposed to marry Satwi, but she vehemently refused to have anything to do with the hoodlum and married Salijo instead.

Salijo and Satwi also explained how social forces at the village level were already divided into the putihan (meaning: white or green, and aligned with the conservative Islamist forces) and the abangan (meaning red, and aligned with the left and the PKI) after the elections in 1957. People from the putihan often viewed those of the abangan as immoral and uneducated, and labelled them as blanggentak (a derogatory label). The rivalry between both factions did not originate from the outbreak of the Gestapu Incident. Rather, according to Salijo and Satwi, the seeds of conflict were sowed by issues concerning the implementation of maro: a more equitable form of agricultural production that sought to divide the costs and profits of growing crops between sharecroppers and landowners. The farmers, who were mostly aligned with the BTI (Indonesian Peasants’ Front, a subsidiary organisation under the PKI), were in favour of the maro system. In contrast, the rich owners of the rice fields were not, given how the system would eat into their profits. The issue of agricultural production, according to Salijo and Satwi, was really the only problem that pitted different groups of people against each other in their village. The outbreak of the Gestapu Incident merely exemplified existing tensions related to the maro system.

Mbah Salijo & Satwi Interview 

Questioner: Grandpa Salijo, you said you said he got married in 1965, correctright? 

Salijo: This was how I found out when I got married.and realized when my marriage was. When I had children, I opened my marriage book for fun. It turneds out that I got married on… my marriage was ...

Questioner: October 1st, right?

Salijo: September 30th (1965), the night of the 1st (of October). 

Questioner: Exactly on the day thatwhen it [the Gestapu Incident] happened. (G30 September)...

Salijo: Yes, that's right. While we were newlyweds, it was difficult at night. It's true that we were newlyweds, but at night it was difficult.  At this hour (afternoon to evening) the mind is confused. Anyway, confused. At that time, we were nervous. Where were weyou going to go tonight? How would the night be?  

Satwi (Salijo's wife): Like whether you’ll be able to see the next day or not.Could you still see tomorrow or not? 

Questioner: Oh.…

Salijo: Because (at that time) there was already a movement (the Gestapu IncidentG30S).

Satwi: It was the party (the PKI) that was targeted for extermination. It turned out that all the members (of the PKI) were slaughtered. It was the party, the PKI, that was told to be killed, but it turned out that all the members were slaughtered.  I was a member of the People's Youth (an organisation under the PKI)...

Salijo: I joined the People's Youth (an organization under the PKI), but I was not active. If I had been active, I would have been dead by thenat that time. I was not active (in the People's Youth). I went to political school, but I didn't finish it., it was about politics (People’s Youth). 

Satwi: At the time of the (Gestapu)1965 G30S incident, the one who slaughtered people was Mr. Kaimi.

Salijo: I was told by Mr. Kaimi himself told me that. directly. 

Satwi: I was told directly by Mr. Kaimi told me as well…too...

Salijo: "'”Last night I killed someone here (in Soro village)”', Kaimi told ustalked. '”Who?”' I asked. '”Sama,”' Kaimi replied."

Satwi: 16 people were killed.

Salijo:  The 16 people were all buried in one hole.  

Questioner: Oh, was it was Mr. Kaimi who killed them?

Salijo: Yes (laughs). 

Questioner: The 16 people were killed by Mr. Kaimi himself?

Salijo: Mr. Kaimi and his friends. Then, strangely, among those people (who were killed), there was only one whose blood was white, named Sama. In fact, Sama was my best friend. He was always with me everywhere (when he was a child). Indeed, Sama's character was a good person. I think it was's like thatis (how he died). He was carried away by his wife. His wife was a puppeteer. A female puppeteer.

Satwi: During my wedding celebration, she was the puppeteer in the shadow puppet performance.... 

Salijo: So, (Sama's wife) belongs to LEKRA (Lembaga Kebudayyan Rakyat). LEKRA was one of the mass organizations of the PKI. In fact, at that time, every time she performed as a puppeteer, I was asked to play the drums.  

Satwi: I was taught to sing Javanese (nyinden). But, how could I learn nyinden, if I was always tired after coming home from working in the rice fields?...

Questioner: Right. ...

Satwi: Well, one day there was a methik (a thanksgiving ritual before the rice harvest) in the rice field (a thanksgiving ritual before the rice harvest). During the methik, a prayer was being delivered. Right at that moment there was a sound of 'Allahhu akbar' from the direction of the village. Everyone who was there jumped between the rice plants. The rice for the methik was spilled all over the place....It didn't matter if there were snakes or something in the middle of the rice plants. There was only one thing on his mind: survival. Yes, thank God, God protected our lives until today...

Questioner: Who suddenly shouted “‘Allahhu akbar”’? 

Satwi: People who wereYes, they were looking for members of the People's Youth. 

Salijo: Yes, the Anshor members. I'm always fearful during theconfused at night. What should I do at night, where should I go? Or, just climb a coconut tree?... 

Questioner: Were you told by Mr. Kaimi that he had just killed Sama in this house? 

Salijo: Yes.

Satwi: Towards the end (of the Gestapu IncidentG30S).

Salijo : I remember the murder. January 14, 1966, thate day was Friday. 

Satwi : That was the last event. After that there was no more (massacre). 

Salijo: That was the last. You take notes. If the date, day and year don't match, you can do anything to me... (as a sanction if wrong guesses the time of the incident).

Satwi: I became a bride on Monday, Pahing, on the Sawal month (according to the Javanese calendar). The celebration was a shadow puppet show. There was a very large audience in attendancewas very large.

Questioner: Did the wedding take place herein this place?

Satwi: The celebration was there, to the east of Grandpa Sakim’s place. Her house used to be there. Grandpa Sabel's house. Then after selapan days (a fixed period of 35 days after a marriage) of my marriage a curfew was imposed. 

 Questioner: About a month (after your wedding)?...

Satwi: AfterAfer selapan days exactly. I used to light an oil lamp from a wick every night and then put it in a container so that it remained pitch black in the house.

Questioner: How long was the curfew, Grandpa? Was itthere a year?

Satwi: No, itthere wasn't. Maybe three months. Had the area not been protected by the late Grandpa Salalahu, it could have been destroyedfinished (slaughtered).

Salijo: Because of his fearconfusion at that time, one of the residents from here went to Grandpa Salalahu for help. Finally, Grandpa Salalahu gave direction to the people here not to fleego, and to just calm down. There were already those who tooktake care of themselves. When I went to Grandpa Salalahu, I also received advice like that. But then I thought again, “'I was asked not to go and just stay at home. If I'm at home and I'm ‘needed’ (i.e. spotted) at that time, it's very easy for me to be kidnapped”'. So, I didnwasn't remain at home. I was still uncomfortable. 

Satwi: Grandpa Salalahu protects the people here. Anyway, this area up to Lawat in the east was Grandpa Salalahu's people. ‘“Don't let it (the population) decrease (the people)”’, said Grandpa Salalahu. 

Salijo: You see, most of the people here were farmers. At that time, if they went to buy clothes, it was at Grandpa Salalahu's shop. So, by treasuringremembering thoseat relationships, Grandpa Salalahu wanted to protect the people here. Grandpa Salalahu remembers the people here.

Satwi: If Sama's abduction had not been requested from above (an important person), he would have survived. Actually, there was only one day left (the kidnapping operation ended), but someone reported it, either to Jakarta or elsewhere. That way, heit was immediately contained in a box (targeted). Then in the evening, (Sama) was taken away(kidnapped).

Salijo: Actually, there waswere a relative of his from the ruling party to protect him. His name was Mr. Saliko Manan. He was still a cousin of Mr. Sama.  

Satwi: Though still aA close relative...

Questioner: DoesEven those who show their existence? Did that mean that (Mr. Sama) was betrayed (by his cousin)al?

(Grandpa Salijo and Satwi keptep quiet. For Javanese people, silence can connote agreement). This mean (in Javanesse) can be an agreement. 

Questioner: What did you do that made you soso you were scared?

Satwi : I was a member of the People's Youth. 

Salijo: Sama was arrested because he had complete information (about membership in the People’s Youth). Why was Sama arrested because he had complete data. Who, from which group they came from, their addresses, what activities they participated in, what other organisations they joined, (Sama knew clearly), What was his name, which group, what address, what activities, what organizations he joined. (Sama knew clearly). That's it.

Satwi: At that time I went to Grandpa Tulataman. Grandpa Tulataman's house was used as a place to provide food for those people (the executors from Anshor). Well, I was with my friends from this area, namely me, Ralami, Cuati, and Risatia. We went there (Grandpa Tulataman's house) to ask for protection. "'I will protect you, but you must help me”', said Grandpa Tulataman." My friends and I were asked to cook mutton.  

Questioner: Every day?

Satwi: Every night.  

Questioner: Was that when you had just got marriedyou are a new marriage?

Satwi : Yes. After marriage, we just didn’t even sleep (meaning: have sex) well, we couldn't enjoy our marriage. 

Salijo : After that in 1966, Mount Kelud erupted. How couldome that have happened in the middle of the chaos (Gestapu IncidentG30S)? ...

Satwi: When the mountain erupted, I was pregnant with my first child. The late Patna. If I'm not mistaken, I was two months pregnant. Then we evacuated. The dust from the eruption mixing with the rainwater rain made the branches of the trees break, causing the sound of (wood breaking)....klek...dos...thok... along the way to the evacuation site.

Salijo: The bamboo trees could not withstand the dust fromof the wet mountain eruption. Dust exposed to rainwater becomes heavy. Bamboo trees everywhere collapsed.  

Satwi: At that time, the rice plants all collapsed.


Satwi: At that time, meeting Kaimi must have made me tremble with fear .... Anyway, after cooking (at Grandpa Tulataman's house), suddenly 25 people arrived suddenly, and (the house became) noisy. 

Questioner: What time was it?

Satwi: It was 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock in the morning. It must have been after 2 o'clock in the morning...

Salijo: (The kidnappers) Everyone (the kidnappers) was holding a flashlight. They didn't buy the batteries for the flashlight. They just asked for them. They just asked everywhere (to i.e. shops). 

Satwi : (The kidnappers) They (the kidnappers) had a sword in their left hand as they used it as a walking stick, and it sounded 'jlug, jlug' when the tip of the sword touched the ground.  Well, one of them was going to marry me, but I refused. His name was Radila Seto. Do you remember or not?

Questioner: No, I don't.

Salijo: He doesn't remember...

Satwi: (At Grandpa Tulataman's house) My foot was nudged hard with his sword. "'These PKI people are here!" Radila Seto shouted. 'No, they're not. I asked them to cook all this food. Anyway, these six people are all my members. They can't be touched. Without them, I can't cook the food. You can't disturb them. They have just rested from noon”', Grandpa Tulataman said rebutted himdefensively." My friends and I were all scared. I was so scared that it felt like all the blood was drained from my bodythere was no blood flowing in my body.

Salijo: At night they dragged their  swords was dragged on the ground. 

Questioner: On the road?

Salijo: YesRight.

Satwi: Also used as a walking stick so that it sounds 'jlug, jlug' when the tip touches the ground. 

Questioner: Could it be Was it heard from inside the house?

Satwi : Yes, it was heard. We were newlyweds living in a house with bamboo walls. The woven bamboo walls had holes in them. So, from inside the houseinside house we could clearly see those outside the house. Once I slept without realizing that I was peeing on my sister-in-lawhusband's sister's back because I was so afraid. At that time Ansor people were walking on the west side of my house. “'This is the house of the newlyweds. Let's wake them up,”' they said outside the house. I was shaking so much that I didn't realize I was peeing on my sister. The one who said that was Radila Seto was the one who said that. 

Questioner: Oh, I see. So, everyone was filled with fear? People in Tthe Lawat area here werewas all scared?


& Salijo: Yes, there wasn’t no anyone who was not afraid.


Questioner: What was your reason for joining the reason you used to join the People's Youth?

Satwi: Yes, tThe People's Youth was part of the PKI.

Salijo: The big party was the PKI, right. The PKI had various organizations. In the arts there was LEKRA, in agriculture ... what is it ... there was the Indonesian Peasants’ Front (Barisan Tani Indonesia,/ BTI). Well, (I was) part of the beginners...

Satwi: For beginners, men and women went to the People's Youth. Then for women there was Gerwani. ....

Salijo : For NU, there were Muslimat and Fatayat.

Satwi: For the PKI, Gerwani and People’s Youth. 

Questioner: What werewas the activities? 

Satwi : The activities were many, anything, mixed up. Sometimes at night, they were gathered to discuss what was going on. They discussed how farmers who maro (a certain localised form of agricultural production) their rice fields must bear all costs (of production), as well as hownd the harvest was divided equally between the owner of the rice fields and the tenant farmers. Right, they discussed that problem. Later, there was a chairman (activity) who organised the discussionsit. After a while, this activity was resistedantagonised by the rich people who owned the rice fields.

Questioner: Before this, there was no maro method?

Satwi : Before maro, all the costs (production) were borne by the rice field cultivator. The owner of the rice field only received half of the entire harvest. Before the harvest was divided with the owner of the rice field, the production cost (production) would be deductedtaken first from the harvest. For example, if the cost was 1000 (dollars), then 1000 (dollars)it would be taken from the harvest. Only after that the harvest was divided equally with the owner of the rice field. That was the intention of the farmers (cultivators), meaning the PKI. Withell, in the (organisation) there was the trainer, the chairman, and the secretary. NU had Ansor. …. There used to be someone called Mr. Maratoh in a religious (Islamic) lecture, not in a campaign, saying, “'You would not find there a puppeteer (shadow puppets) who sang (the vowel) "iiiiiiii" which (is also found in) the PKI. ... tThere must be (the vowel) ‘o’oooo, ... and that is NU-ooooo'. I have lived throughmet three eras in my life:. tThe Gestapu era, the Petrus era (1982), and then the Sampit era (Kalimantan, 1999)...


Questioner: Did the People's Youth already exist in the 1950s?

Salijo: As I recall, the first election was in 1955. The second election was in 1957. I remember my grandmother, Grandpa Wisani. At that time, she asked about the elections that would be held. She was confused about which partywhat to vote for. The ballot paper was one big sheet with many party pictures. Then I told her to just vote for this (PKI’s symbol) picture... (laughs)

Questioner: The villagers were familiar with the image of a sickle (PKI), right? Sickle was an everyday tool for villagers. In 1955 at that time....  At that time, you didn’t vote for a party back then, did you?

Salijo: Not yet.  

Satwi:  Not yet. I was born at the end of 1949. That's why, after becoming a bride, I couldan only participate in elections after I got married. 


Questioner: What was the atmosphere like in Soro after the 1957 election? Was there an uproar between the red (PKI) and green (Islamist) groups? 

Salijo : Yes, there was an uproar. There was a misunderstanding. The government wanted all parties to be united. But those people were difficult. They were already fanatical about their respective parties. There was the putihan group (white or green: Islamist), and the abangan group (red: PKI).

Satwi: The PKI people were called abangan (red) people, then the putihan (white) people (also called green) were NU people. The abangan people didn't fast (Ramadhan) and theyn were labelled ascalled the blanggentak group. 

Questioner: What was blanggentak?

Satwi: I didn't know myself. 

Salijo: That was's what the religious people labelled members ofcalled the PKI. (Actually, bBlanggentak was a derogatory word used to refer to for an uneducated, imamoral man from the under Moslem point of view). After I became a newlywed, I really wanted to hear President Sukarno's speech. I would sit under the porch of Mrs. Sahit's house every afternoon to listening to the news. 

Satwi: Listening to the gramophone at that time. Now, Mrs. Sahit was a Javanese married to a dDutchman. They lived in a Dutch (architecture) house.  The Ddutchman later died from eating diamonds and pineapples...

Salijo: Theis husband and wife did not get along well. They didn't talk to each other. I Diddon't know what their problem was.  

Satwi: They hade five children. 

Questioner: So, if you want to know the news, you go there? 

Satwi : Yes,. nNow we have television. In the past, there was a gramophone with a round shape.  

Salijo: No, if you wanted to hear the news, it was through the radio. There were very few people in Soro who had radios. 

Questioner: What was the condition of the conflictfriction? 

Salijo : What kind of conflictfriction?

Questioner: The conflictfriction between the red group and the white group before 1965 in Soro?

Salijo : Yes, they actually couldn't get along. On the surface they looked harmonious, but inwardly they were not. In their minds they discriminated against each otherwere still discriminating. 

Satwi: Actually, the village head did care when it came to them paying their taxesas long as they were willing to pay taxes, but if there were reports of problems from residents, the village head didn't care.

Questioner: Who was the village head?

Satwi: Sikatan Mata.

Salijo: He was originally an officialoriginally official onin religious mattersfiled in the village. When he was nominated for village head, he was elected. 

Questioner: Were there moreany abangan or putihan people here?

Salijo : There were many abangan. The putihan one was Grandpa Tulataman. Actually, there were also abangan people who were religiously committed. 

Questioner: Praying was not only Islam, right? There was kejawen, right?...

Salijo: Yes. That's why (abangan) were mixed in it.  

Questioner: Did that mean that only Muslims were putihan?

Salijo: Yes.Right ...


Questioner: Grandma Satwi said that most of the farmers in this area were farmers. Were the farmers closely related to the PKI? 

Satwi: BTI .

Salijo: BTI was a mass organization under the PKI.

Satwi: BTI stands for Indonesian Peasants’ Front (Barisan Tani Indonesia).

Questioner: What about Grandpa Salijo's participation in People’s Youth? 

Salijo : Yes, but I was not active. I never came to meetings. So, in my opinion, I was lucky (to have avoided the bloodshed that came) with the events of 1965. Fortunately, I wasn't noticed too much. But I still felt anxious,and  afraid that. I might be kidnapped. 

Satwi: Mr. Harto (Soeharto, Indonesia’sn second president) was a kidnapper and a scratcher.

Questioner: Who was arrested in this area? 

Salijo: Mr. Ratak, and Mr. Kasida.

Questioner: But they eventually survived, right?

Salijo: Survived.  Before that, he (Ratak) received news that he was being huntedsought, so he secretly fled. 

Satwi: Mr. Ratak was the leader. When we were newlyweds, my husband and I washed our clothes at the water source by the river. Then Mr. Ratak walked past us and said goodbye to us. I could only say, '“Be careful”'. I didn't know where he went.  

Salijo: When the people left to escaped, he came and said goodbye to me. He said goodbye because I was at the spring and they passed by. 

Questioner: To the east? 

Salijo : Yes, through the rice fields. 

Salijo : On foot....

Satwi : Yes, through small streets that were uncrowdeddidn't meet many people...

Questioner: Did it happen at night?

Salijo : During the day. 

Questioner: Was he alone?

Salijo : Yes, he was alone. 

Satwi: Alone, not carrying anything. He only had clothes on his body. 

Questioner: I see.Oh...

Salijo: But Mr. Ratak used money from his pension to buy his peace and securityafter the peace and security Mr. Ratak took care of his pension. Finally, hHe finally succeeded. 

Satwi : But the bribe was equivalent to all of his pension, between the cost of the bribe and the pension was almost the same amount...  

Salijo: Those who didn't want to take care of it included Mr. Sica. 

Questioner: If Mr. Sima Jamiko takes care of it too?

Salijo : He was an army veteran.

Questioner: Oh, the army... 

Salijo: Well, the teachers took care of their pensions together. 

Satwi: Mr. Sica got the pension. But he had to pay a (big) bribe.

Salijo: The bribe money was the same amount as the pension money he got. (So) It was no different that his pension was his own money coming back (laughs).

Questioner: It was like saving your own money, then taking it back (in the form of pension money every month). ...

Salijo: That's right (laughs).

Questioner: So, Mr. Ratak was an active leader?

Salijo : Yes, he was the leader. What was that term level called?

Questioner: (Cchairman) of the twig? 

Salijo: Above the twig. ...

Questioner: Branch.

Satwi: The main leader was Mr. Makarabis.  

Questioner: Oh, the leader was Mr. Makarabis. 

Satwi : Yes, Truas too. 

Salijo: If at that time someone was harbouringiding Mr. Makarabis and it was discovered, it would be very dangerous.  

Questioner: Who was hiding him?

Salijo: Right.

Satwi: Mr. Makarabis was actually safe (hiding) in Surabaya. Then someone saw him and...

Questioner: Reported?

Satwi: Yes, even though one of the people warned him not to return or move. But he didn't obey. I couldn't bear (to see) her death. It was Jimancuk’s husband who slaughtered him.  

Questioner: Jimancuk's husband?

Satwi: Parcuk.

Questioner: Parcuk?

Satwi: She was dragged from the intersection (her voice became heavy).

Questioner: The market intersection?

Satwi: Trikosa intersection.

Questioner: Oh, from that intersection?

Satwi : Dropped off there by the people at the intersection.

Questioner: During the day?

Salijo: Night.

Questioner: I see. The story was taken down there…

Satwi : Yes, taken down, dragged... (swearing)by) fuck hajj! (swearing) 

Questioner: Alone?

Satwi : There were three people (transported by a car-truck). There was Mr. Makarabis and his wife...

Salijo: There's another who's who?...

Satwi: Barno, who stole a goat during the Gestapo era and was arrested.

Salijo: Oh, he stole a goat and was arrested. I was surprised. In such a chaotic time, why did he steal? He was Wwanted,  and found, and then buried (after being killed). 


Questioner: Was the (socio-political) situation in this village already heated (socio-political) before 1965?

Satwi: The old people here said (whispering) Jakarta was in turmoil. Generals were killed. Seven generals were slaughtered. They said that one general would take the lives of a thousand. That was the rumour at the beginning of the 1965 incident in this village. Then, (the question wasproblem is) who would take (the lives of) whom? Finally (the people) were confused. Then there was another rumour that those who were being chased were...    

Salijo: Previously, it was like this. At that time, I felt something bad about the situation. I felt that there might be an incidentevent. Well, it turned out to be true that the Gestapu incident1965 G30S incident broke out.

Questioner: How was the situation before? 

Salijo: There was already unrest (in the village community). 

Questioner: Unrest between whom?

Salijo : Not between one party and another. Anyway, I didn't feel at peace.

Questioner: What was an example, Grandpa? 

Salijo : An example was this. The Problem was …

Satwi: The problem of meetings, meetings, meetings.

Questioner: What was that meeting?

Satwi : Yes, PDI-PDI (meaning PKI) meetings in organizing... (the rice fields).

Questioner : The red group?…

Salijo : At that time, there was no PDI. There was PNI, the Indonesian National Party. Yes, PNI, PDI, PKI, Masyumi. I even forgot what year Masyumi was established. The disappearance of Masyumi quietly disappeared. was not busy, it was quiet. It just suddenly ceased todidn't exist. In fact, during the Masyumi celebration, I saw a wooden bicycle. I remember, it was a Masyumi celebration. The complete party at that time. From 1955, 1957.  

Questioner: Well, what was the issue of the unrest here? 

Salijo: I called that unrest a misunderstanding. There were differences inSo, the voice that was heard there was not in line. If it was in line, it was calm and comfortable. It was like a difference of  opinion. It was just that such differencesit peaked over time. And (acrimony from) those differencesit erupted in 1965. 

Questioner: What was the main problem?  

Salijo: What seems to be prominent was that... in agriculture there were also ...  

Questioner: Agriculture. Related to the maro method, right?

Satwi: The first thing that caused the situation to heat up was that issue (the maro rice field cultivation system).

Questioner: What else, besides agriculture?

Satwi: As far as I remember, it was just that (agriculture).

Questioner: Agriculture?.

Satwi : The time before that, I don't know. At the time of the Gestapo (1965) there was a proverb that was developed: Kinthȇk-kinthik kenthongan. Wong mbangun jungkir cir kocarkan. That's how people used to say ithave a message. It meant: And it turns out (the meaning), humans were slaughtered everywhere, it was chaotic no matter where you were.  no matter the place, in chaos. Some (corpses) were taken and buried properly, others were left (unattended). 

Salijo: So, even before the Gestapu incidentback then (before the 1965 G30S) there was already a proverb that foreshadowed what was to occura term (proverb that developed in the village community) that contained a reality (that would happen).***

Interviewer: Imam Muhtarom

Interviewee: Salijo and Satwi

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Transcript Notes


  1. How does Salijo’s and Satwi’s testimony illustrate their agencies in navigating the Cold War in Indonesia amidst the massacres in the 1960s?

  2. What was the Cold War in Indonesia all about, for the people living in the villages and working in the rice fields? Why do you think hoodlums and characters like Radila Seto become hunters for the putihan, given that they had little connection with political developments across the country?

  3. Satwi mentioned that she was unable to vote in elections until she was married. In what ways do you think Salijo and Satwi might have experienced the Cold War in Indonesia differently?