The Roots of Violence in Indonesian Political History

  • Bambang Purwanto


Many scholars do not understand the reality of the violence in Indonesia. They point to some individual or group or to the political structure of the New Order as the dalang (mastermind) for the state-sponsored violence of the Soeharto and the previous Soekarno regimes. The fact is, it is no longer a structural problem but a socio-cultural one. It is not only Soeharto but also Soekarno and Nasution who are responsible for the tradition of killing people to end all movements against the government. The origin of violence should be found long before the New order or the Soeharto presidency. It is in the whole process of Indonesian history since its independence, where the militaristic nature and overwhelming distrust within the state and society were created. At this stage, clearly I have some differences compared to well-known Indonesianists in understanding the present riots or social violence in Indonesia.