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Buru Island

Book / Memoir

Buru Island

by Hersri Setiawan
Translated by Jennifer Lindsay

Format: Paperback, English
464 page(s)
ISBN/ISBN13: /9781925835564
Published Jan 01, 2020 by Monash University Publishing

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Buru Island was the site of Indonesia’s most remote and infamous  prison camp. In the wake of the 1965 repression of the political Left, between  1969 and 1979, approximately 12,000 men were held on Buru without formal charge  or trial. During their detention prisoners suffered torture, forced labour and  malnourishment, as well as social isolation.

As a young writer  filled with hope and optimism for Indonesia’s future he joined the left-wing  cultural organisation Lekra (Lembaga Kebudayaan Rakyat, Institute of People’s  Culture) and was a permanent representative of the Indonesian National Committee  to the Asia-Africa Writer’s Bureau in Colombo. Setiawan shares an intimate  account of his life story leading up to and during his detention. In  beautifully crafted prose he brings into stark light the horrors of the period  after 1965, which included disappearance, murder, torture, betrayal and loss  and his own capture and incarceration on Buru Island.

The Yogyakarta writer spent seven years on Buru as a victim of the Soeharto regime. He and his 12,000 colleagues, known as tapol, were never charged.  
Duncan Graham   in ‘Buru Island – A Prison Memoir’: Watermelons drained of tears (Jakarta Post, Feb 09, 2020)

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