This is a story about the 1st October 1965, as narrated by H. Musa Affendy, S.H., my grandfather from my dad’s side who passed away not so long ago, with some bits from Hj. Siti Maemunah Affendy, S.H., (my grandma), and retold by myself 4 years ago. I have added a few details that I either got afterwards or ones that I forgot to include at that time..
Before I start anything, I would like to introduce H. Musa Affendy S.H., and who he was. Born in the Island of Sumbawa on November 2nd, 1931, he become a very important figure to that island. From a very young age of 14 years old, he has been a school teacher and then a political activist in the region. Some important roles that he held were: senior member of the Islamic Labor Union, senior member of Masyumi, Chairman of Sumbawa Regional House of Representatives in the 1950s, and member of the Temporary People’s Consultative Assembly (MPRS) in the 1960s,
From that time, he became teacher and political mentor for so many people, including some very prominent figures such as Din Syamsudin (Chair of Muhammadiyah) and A.M. Fatwa (Former Vice-Chair of the Indonesian House of Representative and People’s Consultative Assembly) etc. He has been consulted to by many people (including the Sultan of Sumbawa) with regards to the political activities in Sumbawa.
After he retired from the Ministry of Education, he then become a court lawyer. Quite a senior one, who (together with O.C. Kaligis and other very senior lawyers) founded AAI (Asosiasi Advokat Indonesia). Since then, other than still active in political consultation, he has been active as a lawyer, dealing with numerous cases including some high profile cases (e.g. Bulog Gate etc) ranging from: marrital and inheritance disputes, domestic violence, corruption, labour law, and many other types of court cases.
I last met him at the 11th of July, 2013, saying goodbye because I was leaving for Jogja. I would only be gone for a few days, and would have arrived on the morning of the 15th of July by train (but it is tradition to say goodbye whenever anyone leaves the house, even if it is for less than a day). However, he did not seem to be able to wait for me to return.
After a relatively long and good life, he passed away very peacefully at home just before noon on 14th of July 2013. I took the earliest flight that I could get at that moment (which was a night flight) and arrived at home at 11pm. My house was already crowded with people and tears, all surrounding the body of the deceased H. Musa Affendy, S.H., to bid farewell to him, before his burrial which took place by the next day.
The reason why I really think his perspective may have some profound significance in the communist revolt was because of his role at the time. He was among the witnesses of history who was, at least to some extent, involved in the politics at the time.
After Indonesia’s independence, three major powers came to front in the country. Nationalists, naturally because we just got our freedom, Islam, because a great majority of us were Muslims, and Communists, because we had quite a trauma with the liberals and apparently many of the people liked the idea.
Among the greatest parties at the time, was Masyumi with Islamic ideologies. And among their views, which are going to be highly relevant to this story, was that they did not trust Communism and their party: Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI). They had very bad track records throughout the world (was it Cambodia? The incident before 1965, I forgot) and also in Indonesia. 1926, 1948, PKI already revolted.
PKI had two big enemies: the army and the muslim parties. As previously mentioned, Musa was a prominent member of the Masyumi party, which was then disbanded. A conspiracy theory points this as PKI’s attempt (and partial success, at least), to get one of their enemy out of the way. Their greater enemy, though, was the army. History then reveals that the coup attempt of September 30, 1965, mainly targetted the army’s position in the country.
But Masyumi’s supporters were at large, which is why Soekarno appointed 4 ex-Masyumis as member of the Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat Sementara (Temporary House of Representative) post presidential decree. Musa was one of those appointed. The size of Masyumi’s supporters also became a concern of PKI, which may also bear some significance to what they planned after “neutralizing the threat of Dewan Jendral”. History also reveals that PKI would try to remove the army from the country by accusing this Dewan Jendral (or Council of Generals) of plotting a Coup.
Many may say that the Coupe attempt on 30th of September 1965, known as G30S PKI, was a conspiracy. Some say it involves CIA and Soeharto. Some others say that Soeharto was just a great Opportunist, and manipulating (in the sense of exaggerating) the facts of the Coupe making it sound more cruel than it actually was, to gain support.
But from what Musa Affendy knew, Masyumi saw it coming. He said that Communists are always like that. At first, they gathered enough support, secretly collecting and importing weapons, then suddenly make a Coupe which follows by massacres. He didnt say anything about the conspiracy theories, he seemed more tending to believe in the Soeharto being an Opportunist. This may be correct or incorrect, perhaps only God knows the real truth. Too much insidious matters surrounding this incident.
Indonesia was (unknowingly) counting days before that major incident, around one month, actually, when suddenly one of Musa’s former students came to stay at his house. This man was a PKI member. Just like old friends, they discussed and debated every day. Of course, Musa was a Masyumi and the ex-student was PKI. But it remained as an intellectual discussion.
Lt General Ahmad Yani, a prominent general at the time (Commander of the Armed Forces) visited the area and made a speech, which includes reminding the potential threat of PKI. Well, this guy ended up among the 6 Generals killed also on the G30S incident. Musa and his ex-student watched this speech. Musa asked what does he think about the speech, and the dude simply said he did not agree.
A few days prior 30th September 1965, the ex-student disappeared and was never to be found until today. But one can guess where he ended up.
Then, the Coup attempt happened on 30th September night. Ahmad Yani, D.I. Panjaitan, S.Parman, MT Haryono, Soeprapto, and Soetoyo Siswomiharjo, 6 generals were kidnapped. Ahmad Yani and Panjaitan died on the spot, the others were killed by the next morning. Abdul Haris Nasution was also targetted, but escaped. Though at the expense of his daughter (Ade Irma Suryani) shot on spot and his bodyguard (Pierre Tendean) who was kidnapped along with the 6 generals. They claim that these were members of the Dewan Jenderal who was about to coupe and PKI has managed to deal with them.
(Fun fact: all generals targeted were the most prominent military figures, but they somehow –God knows deliberately or not- missed one big figure, which apparently grew bigger after this incident. Guess who)
The question was, what saved the country from the coup? Was it that Indonesia’s pancasila was THAT strong to be replaced by communism? Was it Soeharto’s military operation?
History may have many versions there. But what Musa Affendy said, was that the savior was a heroic story but seemingly side-story in our history.
The idea of the coupe was not simply about kidnapping 7 generals and claiming they managed to stop a coupe. “They were radical Communists”, Musa told me, “and they do what they do best”. Throughout the country, they secretly dug large holes in places people dont see. What for?
For bodies. PKI bases all around the nation have picked targets. People who were public figures and activists who’s ideology would harm Communism while they had influence –among which would be the muslims especially the former Masyumi activists. They tail and gather info of these targets before waiting for the signal from PKI Central Command.
Now, try guess. What was that ex-student of Musa doing in his house?
Back to story. So all they waited for to massacre all these people and take over the country holistically, was a signal from PKI Central Command. What was this signal? It comes to the story of Sarwo Edhi Wibowo (Our president’s father in law, aint he?), from RPKAD now known as Kopassus.
1st October, was the great day –or planned so- of PKI. The President Elite Guard, Cakrabirawa, which was infiltrated by PKI (they also did the kidnapping), had occupied the office of RRI (Indonesian National Radio station). But Sarwo Edhi and his army managed to defeat the Cakrabirawa in that office and retook the station. This part was stated in history, but what did this story mean?
PKI occupied RRI so that after they have “removed the threat of Dewan Jenderal”, they would announce it to the whole country. This is not just a propaganda to gain sympathy. But this was the signal for the PKI forces all around the country to “do their job”. And as I have mentioned before, RPKAD forces managed to re-take the office. The signal never came out, and the coupe failed.
I dont know was it me not studying enough, or it is true that history did not appreciate that act that much. Or it was to cloud other important figures so that only one was shining. Guess who.
My personal opinion is that this is the part of story which is most heroic of all. Saving thousands even maybe millions of lives, and one big life of a whole nation. The most important tide-turner of the story, where it then made the biggest difference in history.
So then, PKI only managing to do half of their job, and failing to do the support gaining and massacre, and the national army highly enraged, things went really bad for PKI.
Engineered by the army and some other parties, up to a million of PKI members throughout the nation were hunted down and massacred and buried in the holes that PKI themselves dug. This is why I could make a probably pretty good guess on where did Musa’s student go. Sad. As bad as PKI were, but the doers of this massacre were Indonesian societies. We went barbaric and uncivilised.
The PKI members were loaded on numerous and large military trucks and brought to the jungles, where the holes (which the PKI themselves had dug) were waiting. While in some locations the PKI members were lined up and shot, Musa told me about some monstrous instances. In these instances, vast masses of people were waiting with all sorts of weapons: swords, spears, axes, and many others.
When the PKI members were unloaded from the trucks, not all of them reached the ground with their souls still intact to their body. Musa tells me that the masses were screaming with rage as they butchered the PKI members. Some even paused to lick the blood on their swords before continuing to slash through the PKI. It bewilders him (and me too) that people could be THAT enraged, so much, that it would turn people to beasts.
How did people become so angry? What level of counter-propaganda was launched to the society? Musa was not particularly clear on this matter, but did mention how it was the army that somehow provoked the people. At the time, there was indeed a very large contest between the army and PKI in both politics and control of the grassroots.
(Fun Fact: yes, genocide happened in our country. Just a thought. Why did nobody complain about this in the international world? Because they understood our situation? One argued because the situation was stabilised soon though. Only recently, the case resurfaced but we do not witness any concrete follow-ups to this date)
Due to this very unstable condition, came out the Supersemar 1966 order from Soekarno to Soeharto to stabilise the condition by any means, which is still highly controversial until today. Which then lead to Soeharto being president after some other incidents.
There are many theories about why G30S PKI happened. Some link it to CIA and Soeharto, especially for those who are interested in history AND have read Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins, leading to a 100% difference in Indonesia’s Governmental Policies domestic and foreign. Some just think some people are at the right and wrong time and place. As I said previously, too much dark insidious matters surround the incident, while the implications are very profound indeed.
But this is probably a perspective (plus some hints on theories :P) from a man who was there at the time, plus some spices from his grandson.
Hope its useful
May Allah bless your soul, Opa!