A priest in Jakarta recalls the 1998 May riots – one of Indonesia’s darkest tragedies – in a musical drama.
Indonesia has marked the 21st anniversary of the 1998 May riots that led to the downfall of the dictator Suharto and his New Order regime. The riots took place following a severe financial crisis that spiked prices, weakened the rupiah and left millions unemployed.
Thousands of victims died, scores of Chinese-Indonesian women were gang raped and identity politics based on ethnicity and race reached its peak during the riots, thus leaving a deep collective trauma and wounds for Indonesians until today.
Denial about the tragic riots still persists and the instigators remain elusive. Without any resolution, similar violence could potentially happen again in an ever more fragile socio-political situation.
However, some things can be done for now to avoid s…