Posted by: Fadjar Thufail | November 24, 2006

Book: “Truth-telling after Authoritarian Rule”

Truth-telling after authoritarian rule

Ksenija Bilbija, Jo Ellen Fair, Cynthia Milton, and Leigh Payne, eds. 2005. The Art of Truth-Telling about Authoritarian Rule. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

The most difficult challenge a country faces after the authoritarian regime collapses is in dealing with the legacy of violent pasts. The process is far from a smooth one, especially when the legacy of the violence remains to haunt the desire for coming to terms with the pasts. Some countries have instituted judicial and political mechanisms to deal with unresolved violent events, but other countries still face difficult challenge. However, it does not mean that the countries or societies with no judicial system in place to resolve the case have failed to confront the legacy of violence. In other words, working out the legacy of violence also takes place outside of the judicial process. This book documents how people resort to non-judicial processes to confront the legacy of violence in several countries that have just left authoritarian rules.

In this book, I contribute a short essay on Seno Gumira Adjidarma, an Indonesian writer who has written against the systematic attempt of the New Order political regime to silence any stories of state violence. Seno has used the medium of short story to talk about violence and oppression in East Timor, Papua, or in other parts of Indonesia.


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