Remembering the gang rapes of May 1998

All Things Books / Review

About Jakarta 2039,
Written by Andy Fuller, and was originally published in Inside Indonesia,
Jun 07, 2018

By the end of the New Order in 1998, the writer Seno Gumira Ajidarma was established as a chronicler of state-based violence and urban society. His collection of stories, Saksi Mata (Eye Witness), published in 1994, was the first literary documentation of the killing and trauma inflicted on the people of Timor Loro Sae, and was partly facilitated by Seno’s journalistic connections. Seno drew on his ability to write tightly framed stories for mass media. He became one of the most prominent writers working within the literary genre known as ‘sastra koran’ (newspaper literature).

After the May 1998 riots Seno wrote three short stories about the violence and gang rapes of mostly ethnic Chinese women that took place in the midst of the rioting in Jakarta and other cities. The stories published in newspapers and magazines at the time were: ‘Clara Atawa Perempuan yang Diperkosa’ (‘Clara or the Woman who was Raped’, published in Republika on 26 July 1998); ‘Jakarta, Suatu Ketika’ (‘Jakarta at a Certain Point in Time’, Horison, June 1999); and ‘Jakarta 2039: 40 Tahun 9 Bulan Setelah 13-14 Mei 1998’ (‘Jakarta 2039: 40 years 9 months after 13-14 May 1998’, first published in Matra, 1999).

Read the full article here.