Former TNI chief challenges 'cowardly' military leadership to screen anti-communist film

CNN Indonesia – September 20, 2018
Former TNI chief Gatot Nurmantyo - Undated (CNN)
Former TNI chief Gatot Nurmantyo - Undated (CNN)

Jakarta – Former TNI (Armed Forces) chief Nurmantyo has challenged the current TNI commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto and Army chief-of-staff (KSAD) General Mulyono to again hold public screenings of the film about the September 30 Movement/Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) coup on September 30, 1965, usually known as G30S/PKI.

According to Nurmantyo, if the KSAD does not have the courage to order his officers to hold joint film screenings (nobar) of the G30S/PKI film, then he questions whether they are capable of leading courageous and champion officers in Kostrad (the Army Strategic Reserves Command, Green Berets), Kopassus (Special Forces) and other army units.

“Why is the KSAD a coward. It’s time for him to resign yes”, wrote Nurmantyo on his personal Instagram account @nurmantyo_gatot on Thursday September 20.

Nurmantyo explained to CNN Indonesia that the posting was indeed a statement of his position.

Nurmantyo emphasised that the KSAD should know that there is no death sentence for not ordering joint screenings of the PKI film. He stated that the heaviest punishment would be to be for the KASD to be dismissed from his post, not losing his life.

Nurmantyo suggested that if the KSAD continues to be afraid, it would be better if he just returns to his home village. “If you’re afraid, just return to your home town. Because I pity his officers who will be tarnished by a cowardly leader”, asserted Nurmantyo.

The cowardly character associated with a KSAD who is afraid of issuing an order to hold joint film screenings, added Nurmantyo, will lower the dignity of army officers who are known throughout the world as being courageous and super determined.

“But I’m sure that the KSAD and the TNI commander are not the cowardly type. Let’s just see what they do”, concluded Nurmantyo.

Nurmantyo’s statement, which he uploaded on his social media account, is based on a quote from an interview with the Rakyat Merdeka daily newspaper which was published on Wednesday September 20.

When he still held the post of TNI commander, Nurmantyo ordered all officers to hold joint public screenings of the film G30S/PKI throughout the country.

At the time, Nurmantyo said that rescreening the film was aimed at reminding the Indonesian nation about what happened on September 30, 1965 so that it would not occur again.

Nurmantyo said that the film screenings were not aimed at discrediting or blaming any one party but to provide a picture about the tragic affair which occurred in 1965.

Moreover, Nurmantyo insisted that the film screenings were not aimed at generating resentment or grudges between certain parties.


In September 1998, the government dropped the requirement for all TV stations to broadcast the film Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (The Betrayal of the September 30 Movement/Indonesian Communist Party), a dramatisation of the New Order’s version of the events surrounding the alleged communist coup in 1965. The film, one of the most effective pieces of propaganda produced by the Suharto dictatorship, had been a compulsory program for all stations every September 30 since its release in 1984.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Gatot: KSAD Pulang Kampung Saja Kalau Takut Gelar Nobar G30S.]