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The Killing SeasonA History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965-66$
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Geoffrey B. Robinson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196497

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196497.001.0001

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Release, Restrict, Discipline, and Punish

Release, Restrict, Discipline, and Punish

Chapter:
(p.237) Chapter Nine Release, Restrict, Discipline, and Punish
Source:
The Killing Season
Author(s):

Geoffrey B. Robinson

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691196497.003.0009

This chapter argues that the decision to release most political detainees was the result of a major international campaign undertaken by human rights organizations in the mid-1970s. That campaign succeeded in large part because it coincided with significant changes in global norms and attitudes pertaining to human rights as well as the position of the U.S. government, and came at a time when Indonesia was vulnerable to outside economic pressures. The chapter makes clear, however, that there was powerful resistance to the idea of releasing these prisoners—and an insistence on the continued need to protect the body politic from the “latent danger of Communism”—particularly on the part of the army leadership. As a consequence, even after prisoners were released, they and their families continued to suffer egregious restrictions, formal and informal, on every aspect of their lives. The formal restrictions continued until the end of the New Order in 1998, but the deep social and psychological legacies have lasted much longer. Finally, the chapter makes the case that the onerous restrictions on released prisoners were part of a more general obsession on the part of the New Order regime with creating and maintaining order, discipline, and stability.

Keywords:   political detainees, released prisoners, Communism, human rights, released prisoner restrictions, social legacies, psychological legacies, political prisoners, mass incarceration

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