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On Books / Review

Indonesian history will be forever marked by the countless deaths following the overthrow of President Sukarno in 1965. The number of deaths is now estimated to be between two and three million. Those killed were not only those members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) falsely accused of instigating a plot to gain power, but people who had joined legal organisations such as trade unions or who were seen to be on the ‘left’. Many more were killed as a result of rumours or personal disputes. In the prevailing atmosphere, merely claiming a person to have a ‘leftist’ or ‘pro-communist’ orientation was sufficient to have a mob, often backed by the military, kill that unfortunate individual, sometimes in a most frightful and brutal manner.

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