Shatter the Silence, The Look of Silence documentary
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Shatter the Silence!
Reveal the Truth, Acknowledge the Crime


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A scene from Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary The Look of Silence.
Courtesy of Drafthouse Films and Participant Media.

Action ALERT: See/Show The Look of Silence and Take Action on U.S. Support for Mass Violence in Indonesia

Read ETAN's Breaking the Silence: The U.S. and Indonesia's Mass Violence

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Joint letter to the Indonesian government from ETAN, Amnesty International, Tapol and Watch Indonesia!: Truth-Seeking and Formal Public Apology Essential for 1965/1966 Resolution

50 years ago, on September 30, the Indonesian army led by General Suharto unleashed a murderous campaign of terror against suspected communists and alleged associates, including activists, artists and intellectuals, peasants' groups and labor unions. Backed by the U.S. and other western countries, Suharto took over as President and maintained hardline authoritarian rule in Indonesia for decades to come.    

Hundreds of thousands of victims of the anti-communist purge were killed, disappeared, raped and imprisoned. Between October 1965 and March 1966, an estimated one million people were killed and some 1.7 million more were imprisoned without trial. This was one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century.

These crimes were committed by the Indonesian army, as well as by army-sponsored civilian mobs, gangsters and para-military groups of the kind featured in THE LOOK OF SILENCE and THE ACT OF KILLING.

Many of the mass murderers are still alive today and have never been brought to justice -- on the contrary, the killers are celebrated as heroes. For 50 years the victims have been asking for justice.  

Indonesia has made progress in its transition to democracy since the downfall of Suharto in 1998, but the perpetrators of these and other gross violations of human rights and massacres in Timor-Leste (East Timor), Aceh, West Papua and elsewhere have also evaded justice. Many occupy prominent positions in Indonesia.

ETAN is urging that the U.S. declassify and release all documents related to the U.S. role in the mass violence, including details of its covert operations. The U.S. should formally acknowledge its role in facilitating the 1965-66 violence and its subsequent support for the brutal Suharto regime.

THE LOOK OF SILENCE is Joshua Oppenheimer’s powerful companion documentary to the Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing. Through a family that lost their eldest son, the film explores one of the 20th century’s deadliest atrocities, still largely hidden after 50 years—Indonesia’s 1965 army-led purge and killing of as many as one million people. The family discovers years later (from Oppenheimer’s footage) who killed their son and how, and they must confront how privileged, dangerous, and close at hand the killers remain. The younger son, an optometrist named Adi, breaks the half-century of fearful silence with an act the film calls “unimaginable in a society where the murderers remain in power.” While testing the eyesight of the men who killed his brother, Adi confronts them. He challenges them to accept responsibility for their violence. Oppenheimer writes that the film depicts “a silence born of terror,” and “the necessity of breaking that silence, but also … the trauma that comes when that silence is broken."

With profound sadness, Adi watches footage of interviews conducted by Joshua Oppenheimer with perpetrators of the
1965-66 Indonesian genocide in The Look of Silence.

Courtesy of Drafthouse Films and Participant Media.

 Take action now!

1.Join our call for the U.S. to tell all it knows and acknowledge its role in Indonesia's mass violence
Sign Our Petition

Support ETAN and our campaign for justice and accountability

3.Host a screening and discussion
Theater Screenings

Going to a showing of The Look of Silence?
Print out this leaflet and hand it out to the audience
PDFs: Half-page: 8.5" x 5.5" 
Full page - 8.5 x 11

ETAN Talking Points/Discussion Guide: Shatter the Silence!

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The Look of Silence.

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6.Learn more about about the killings, the U.S. role and the documentary

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“I urge us all to examine ourselves, and acknowledge that we are all closer to perpetrators than we like to believe. The United Kingdom and United States enthusiastically helped to engineer the genocide, and for decades enthusiastically supported the military dictatorship that came to power through the genocide. We will not have an ethical relationship with Indonesia, or so many countries across the global south going forward, until we acknowledge the crimes of the past, and our collective role in supporting, participating in, and, ultimately, ignoring those crimes.”

- Joshua Oppenheimer on accepting the BAFTA for Best Documentary for The Act of Killing

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Order from Amazon, Support ETAN
The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965-66 Dark Side of Paradise The Indonesian Genocide of 1965: Causes, Dynamics and Legacies (Palgrave Studies in the History of Genocide)  Mechanics of Mass Murder: The Army and the Indonesian Genocide  Pretext for Mass Murder Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968


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ETAN is "A voice of reason, criticizing the administration's reluctance to address ongoing human rights violations and escalating oppression in West Papua and against religious minorities throughout Indonesia."

Noam Chomsky


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postcard to World Bank, found deep in the archives. #taok

latest postcard from the deep archives This one a thanks to Time Magazine

Postcard to ExxonMobil, found deep in the archives. #taok

TNI writes Freeport McMoRan a note of thanks.

'Thank you cards" from Indonesia found buried deep in the archives, well in the back of a file cabinet. Click on each to read and for more information and background.

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