Defense minister Ryamizard Ryacudu says that the government does not need to apologise to the families of former Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members, saying that the PKI killed seven generals and organised a coup in Indonesia.
“Sorry, we’ll just use logic here. Don’t go throwing accusations around, just use logic. Who was it that rebelled, who was it that killed first, who killed the TNI [Indonesian military] generals. How can you apologise to those who killed and rebelled”, Ryacudu said during a goodwill meeting with the mass media at his office in Jakarta on Wednesday August 19.
“It’s the same as if, if I was beaten up, black and blue, and then I had to apologies. Would that be right”, said the former army chief of staff in an outburst of emotion.
According to Ryacudu the government will not move forward if it keeps digging into a past that cannot be resolved. Because of this therefore, it is better that history be used as a lesson for the nation.
“Enough, bury it. We [should] build the nation for the future. Apologising means to be in the wrong, then [they’ll] ask for compensation, then what next? It’ll never be resolved. We’ve already guessed as much. We’ve built something, don’t defile it like that. What’s past is past, let it be a lesson for us”, he said.
Furthermore, Ryacudu said he would convey the view that the government does not need to apologies to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. In fact the government has never borne a grudge against PKI victims.
“It was a coup, killings, why should we apologise. Enough, we’ve shaken hands, we’ve worked for our country. Do you still want to bear a grudge. For religious people, for our father, we are their favorite person. If he’s wrong, sorry is enough”, he asserted.
Ryacudu gave the example of a child who even though their parents committed a wrong against them, did not hold a grudge and apologised. This feeling, he said was because of the child’s love for their parents.
“So don’t these PKI families care about Indonesia. There’s no need to bear a grudge. You have to think clearly, if you hold a grudge you’ll never move forward, just add to the complexity of our problems”, he said.
Ryamizard Ryacudu is a former army general known for his hardline stance on separatism and xenophobic remarks and criticism of rights activists. In 2001 he praised the killing of prominent Papuan independence leader Theys Eluay saying the Kopassus (Special Forces) soldiers who murdered him were “heroes”. He is a close ally of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairperson Megawati Sukarnoputri and as army chief of staff during her presidency oversaw military operations in Aceh and Papua resulting in countless civilian casualties.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Menhan sebut PKI sudah bunuh 7 jenderal, permintaan maaf tak perlu.]