The Lekra Spirit Lives: Martin Aleida on Indonesia’s Revolutionary Cultural Group

What Media Says


About Martin Aleida,
Written by Tings Chak, and was originally published in Peoples Dispatch,
Sep 21, 2020


Designer Tings Chak spoke with Indonesian writer Martin Aleida about Lekra and the legacy of repression of left movements in Indonesia.

“It was the worst when I was released. That’s the biggest prison I had to face.”

Martin Aleida recalls the moment he was released from prison at the end of 1966. The then 22-year-old writer emerged from nearly a year behind bars to a Jakarta where his friends could not be found. His workplace, Harian Rakyat (‘The People’s Daily’), the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) was no longer. His Party and cultural organization, Lekra, was banned – and they have been illegal ever since.

Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research reached out to the now 76-year-old Martin, three months into the pandemic. Though a North Sumatra native, Martin has lived in Jakarta since the early 1960s, where he responded to us via Facebook at a local library that he frequents every Saturday.

Read the full article here.