Published: Jul 02, 2000

An extract from Sulami's speech at YPKP's first anniversary

"Indonesia at this moment, all Indonesians, feel that this country is moving towards something new. Something free from the darkness of oppression and exploitation, from the corruption, collusion and nepotism that was born out of absolute power, from the economic and political crisis that grew out of the greed of its leaders. No nation can move into the future with its feet chained to a historical burden, to those dark, traumatic moments that will forever haunt the national character in the future. That burden must be released. This nation must bravely face up to its fears, to the truth that lies behind the trauma. Only then can its character once more grow healthy and strong.

This is no different to other nations who have had to leave behind a black page in their histories. They first of all needed to know what happened. So that their grandchildren will know, and not repeat the same mistakes committed by their forebears, not experience the same disaster over and over again. The South African nation, black and white, worked together to investigate, to dig out, to expose all the wrongs that they experienced together. The Cambodian nation have opened up all their records from their dark past, they have let their eyewitnesses speak so that those crimes against humanity should never be repeated. The Argentineans have done the same. West Germans have welcomed their East German brethren: communists at that! Many other nations have had the courage to face up to their dark past, to open up that bitter reality and then move ahead as nations that have become more democratic."

Inside Indonesia 63: Jul - Sep 2000