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I won’t say sorry

Ryamizard Ryacudu (pictured right) is Indonesia’s defence minister and a former general.

He likes to present a tough image.

In the 1960s around 500,000 Indonesians, suspected of being communists, were slaughtered by the Indonesian military.

Human rights groups have called for an official apology for the massacres.

Ryacudu’s riposte, to a gathering of former military figures and nationalist groups, was that President Barack Obama did not say sorry for the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima on his recent trip to Japan. “Millions of people died because of the bomb, and that was war” he said. In his view, those killed in the 1960s Indonesian massacres had staged an “uprising” so the victims “deserved to die”.

The massacres began after General, and subsequently President, Suharto put down a coup blamed on communists in 1965. Over several months local militias backed by the military carried out one of the worst mass killings of the 20th century.

During Suharto’s 32-year rule the killings were presented as necessary to rid the country of communism, debating the killings publicly was taboo, and no one was ever held to account.

Communism remains illegal in Indonesia.

Picture source: Ash Carter via Wikimedia