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TEMPO.CO, Jakarta-Founder of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, Janet DeNeefe expressed her disappointment over the banning of panel sessions to discuss the 1965 massacre, known as the G30S/1965 in the festival which is held from October 28 to November 1, 2015.
“As a Festival, our mission is to create an open platform where people can come together to discuss the issues that affect us,” she said in a press release on the festival’s website.
“1965 is an event that has and continues to influence many Indonesians and as such, we chose to dedicate a proportion of the program to enriching our understanding about this, through themes of reconciliation and remembrance,” she said.
Throughout the festival’s twelevth year, this is the first time the prestigious festival is under fire from the government. Janet said, the series of panel sessions forced to be cancelled were dedicated to reconciliation and remembrance of the 1965 Communist repression in Indonesia.
Janet also said they had tried hard to negotiate with local authorities ahead of time before the festival is held. Unfortunately, they did not receive any response from the local government.
“The team has worked extremely hard over the past few weeks to try and ensure that these program sessions would go ahead,” said Janet. “It’s extremely disappointing and saddening that after all our efforts, and those of our panelists and partners, we are unable to host these sessions without jeopardizing the rest of the Festival.”
In the period between 1965 and 1966, it was estimated between 500,000 to one million people were killed after being labeled communists in the transition to the ‘New Order’.