Desmond Tutu: Finding our Humanity in Genocide
In July, 2015, Mary Wald and Archbishop Desmond Tutu co-authored an article on the impact of the 1965-66 genocide in Indonesia, and what we can learn about ourselves from events we’d rather forget.
Documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer has released two courageous films in the last three years. They’re courageous not only because they take on the genocide of more than one million Indonesians in 1965 and 1966, a grisly subject that has been swept under the rug for 50 years, but also because the filmmaker dares to believe that anyone would care about the death of a bunch of “communists” halfway around the world before many of us were even born.
Neither film is easy to watch. The first, “The Act of Killing,” follows the leaders of the most powerful state-sponsored death squad in Sumatra as they re-enact, Hollywood style, torturing and butchering thousands of “suspected communists,” including writers, intellectuals, union members and ethnic Chinese. The second film, “The Look of Silence,” recently released in the US, follows Adi Rukun, whose brother was tortured and killed by the death squads, as he tracks down and attempts to confront the men responsible.
…Thank God we are not numb. When we are filled with revulsion, we are also inspired and galvanized, to ask questions, to seek truth, to act where we can. And while the road to stopping such mass insanity in our world will be a long one, asking the questions will put our feet on that road. Hopefully our questions will include how deeply our own countries were involved in, supported, or benefited politically or financially from these vile acts.