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無論生活在印尼本土還是海外的華裔印尼人,都有一段關於1998年5月那段排華暴動的災難故事。

1998年5月發生的事件,造成當時的總統蘇哈托黯然下台,曾經看似堅不可摧的蘇哈托新秩序也隨之瓦解。儘管政權的本質劇烈改變,但要集體紀念1998年5月發生的暴力事件仍然很難。我想先舉一些例子,讓讀者稍微一窺事件發生當時的情況,這些類似的故事,Google也都找得到:

當時8歲的英德拉.馬多諾(Hindra Martono)正在看下午的新聞,報導雅加達暴動。在一陣嘈雜的急切敲門聲中,馬多諾的父親將全家人趕上閣樓躲藏。如果當時暴動的群眾決定燒燬房子呢?馬多諾的母親叫他向上天祈禱,馬多諾便撥弄著女傭的伊斯蘭念珠,他的姊姊忍不住哭了。闖進他家的人爬進屋子,砸碎窗戶,接著湧進了許多人搶走了一切──食物、錢、家電和家具。馬多諾認出其中有幾位是他父親的職員,常常陪他玩。『我那時真的很恨他們。』他說,『我覺得遭到背叛。』

每個逃離的華裔印尼人,都有一段心碎的故事

我在新加坡國立大學任教時,遇過一些華裔的印尼學生,因為1998年5月印尼發生的暴動,他們的家族選擇移民新加坡。我們談話時,總會聊到他們的家人當時經歷的事。

G是我的學生。1998年5月後,G的父母決定一家四口要搬到新加坡,當時她才9歲。移民耗盡了他們家所有的積蓄。我問G,1998年5月時她經歷了什麼,她能憶起一些細節──譬如當時她的學校裡華裔學生佔大多數,所以學校會警告學生不要穿顯眼的制服,這樣別人會很容易認出來。還有新聞報導一棟學校大樓被一群不明人士縱火燒燬。她還記得自己和家人一起在黑暗中等待,準備如果房子被攻擊,就按事先規劃好的路線逃難,而她的背包已經裝著所有重要的文件和行李。幸好暴民沒有攻擊他們的房子。

一年後,G和家人斷然離開印尼。G在新加坡掙扎著適應英語授課,常常在狹窄的政府組屋裡孤單一人,她被剝奪了在雅加達寬敞獨棟房裡晃悠的自由,無法和她眾多的同輩親戚同樂。置身在陌生國度的頭一年,對9歲的她來說萬分痛苦。

對我來說,G的故事十分吸引我,這提醒了我,在重大事件隨著時光逐漸沉澱之後,要了解這事件究竟對個人產生了哪些幽微複雜的長期影響,幾乎是不可能的。

遺憾的是,這些親身經歷的故事往往十分片段,沒辦法透過集體敘述表達清楚。集體敘述的重要性在於不但能為「受害者」賦權,也扮演重要文本的角色,能讓大家反思和討論如何在一個共同體「印尼」一起生活。事實上,1998年5月發生的事件正處於被淡忘的危險之中,這些故事也面臨一樣的危機。

位於東雅加達行政市郊區公墓的113座無名塚,便是最好的例證。墳墓裡的遺體都是這次暴力的受害者,無法查明身份也無法得知確切死亡時間。墓碑上簡單地用印尼文和英文刻著「1998年5月13日~14日暴動受害者」。一般雅加達民眾不知道也不關心這些。人權組織「國家反婦女暴力委員會」(KomnasPerempuan)擔心人們漸漸遺忘98事件,就傾盡全力阻止集體失憶。這些組織每年一定和受害者家屬一起清理無名塚,並且舉辦簡單的紀念儀式。

這件事情,是單純的「排華」嗎?

公開紀念1998年5月事件何以如此困難?我們可以從許多面向尋求答案。

從一開始,1998年5月的一連串事件就引起最根本的疑問和不同解讀,這使得產生集體敘述更加困難。最初的證詞和早期的報導,幾乎都是以雅加達為中心,重點放在暴動,以及鎖定華裔印尼人的攻擊事件。

1998年5月12日,在雅加達著名的特利沙克蒂大學(Trisakti University),4名學生無預警遭到狙擊手擊斃。當時大學校園已經聚集了數千名學生。他們要求蘇哈托下台,呼籲進行政治經濟改革。這4名學生是這場運動的參與者。學生的死激起了大眾的憤怒,也引發一連串搶劫縱火事件。

5月13日至15日期間,雅加達各處的購物商場、百貨公司、商店和住家遭到洗劫和燒燬。其中,華裔印尼人經營的商店被鎖定,而「看起來像華人」的人則遭到口頭侮辱、吐口水和毆打。華裔印尼人和派駐在印尼的外國人大量逃離印尼。印尼本土、亞洲和國際媒體大量報導在印尼發生的暴力事件和大規模逃亡,以「排華」的框架詮釋這些事件的本質。

更讓人震驚的報導接踵而來。消息一開始在網路上傳播,接著紙媒也大量報導女性(大部分為華裔)遭受性侵害和酷刑。新聞報導受害者在家人、摯愛或喝采叫好的群眾面前遭到強暴或輪暴的消息。受害者的生殖器遭尖銳物品刺穿,有些被折磨致死。這些恐怖性侵害的本質已經遠遠超出印尼「排華」的框架了。短短幾天內,雅加達的市民、印尼人和全世界都遭到這些報導轟炸。學者很快地指出,印尼出現圍繞在被侵犯女體的過度描寫,一般集中在類似亞齊省以及東帝汶的武裝衝突。雅加達的民眾絕對不會想到此類性暴力居然近在咫尺,一般來說,他們也不會將這類的事件和「排華暴力」聯想在一起。[1] 

當印尼人掙扎著理解事情的嚴重性時,公眾討論和辯論的重心移轉到當地非政府組織產出的一系列報導。這些非政府組織組成了鬆散的團體「人性志工團」,積極搜集整理暴力相關的數據。該團體發布的報告統計,全國共發生168起強暴案件,受害者大多數為華人,年齡從10歲到50歲不等。令人驚訝的是,大多數案件(132件)在大雅加達地區發生。除此之外,超過4,000家商店和賣場遭到摧毀,數千戶民宅和車輛遭到縱火。該報告也記載印尼的死亡人數總計為2,244人。值得注意的是,大多數的死者並非華人。該組織指出死者多為都市中的貧困窮人,他們顯然被誘使前往洗劫商場,但被不明暴動群眾在縱火前關在商場內。

顯然,5月暴動中,大量非華裔印尼死者超出了一般流行的「排華」詮釋框架。無論是在印尼或國外,都市貧困者的死亡事件無法像極端性暴力的案子那樣吸引大眾目光,這使得人們在理解1998年5月發生的事時,傾向忽略其中的階級因素。階級因素被忽略,代表以雅加達的角度將5月暴力理解成基於種族的暴力,使大眾忽視甚至減少對雅加達貧困階級的同情。相較於種族暴力,那些死於惡意縱火的人──介於「可疑共犯」和「無辜受害者」之間──處境變得尷尬,很快地成為那些「真實故事」旁的次要故事。

這不是隨機暴亂,這是一場精心預謀的屠殺

志工團是印尼第一個反對將5月暴動理解成一群貧窮都市暴民隨機挑起排華暴亂的組織。志工團記錄了施暴模式、暴力事件發生的時間和位置,謹慎地將暴力事件進行分類分析。他們發現這些暴力有明顯的型態,幾乎在同一時間於雅加達不同地點發生,似乎是經過謹慎規劃的行動。

志工團指出,根據目擊者描述,有「煽動者」出現在暴力事件的現場。這些「煽動者」通常是當地人不認識的年輕男性。對這些「煽動者」的描述不一,有的皮膚黝黑、強壯且理著平頭,有些穿著高中制服,身上還有刺青。這些人通常成群結隊洗劫商店或摧毀建築物,煽動和命令群眾加入時,明目張膽地叫喊反華口號。

志工團的報告指出印尼的流氓團體──當地人稱這些惡名昭彰的人為「印尼黑幫」(preman)──涉及了這些暴力事件,而「印尼黑幫」往往與軍隊有聯繫。許多暴亂發生時,維安部隊和警察很詭異地選擇袖手旁觀,也不回應人們的呼救。

志工團也觀察到,性暴力事件也有相同的犯罪模式。目擊者作證指出,就在暴動發生前夕,雅加達許多地方有陌生人試圖招募貧困社區裡的年輕人,不只承諾他們物質報酬,還有華裔印尼女性作為性報酬。1998年一篇當地雜誌的訪問中,山迪阿萬.蘇馬迪(Sandyawan Sumardi)神父代表志工團受訪。他指出,當時普遍被認知的「隨機暴亂」的事件,實際上是一場「屠殺」[2]

事件背後的軍隊力量

除了志工團,印尼境內的媒體報導也著重在軍隊的參與程度。雅加達新聞雜誌Tajuk在1998年就刊出聳動的報導,直接點名當時的印尼陸軍戰略後備部總司令普拉伯沃.蘇比安托中將(Prabowo Subianto)和他親近的盟友,也是雅加達區域指揮官的夏弗里.山蘇丁少將(Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin)為幕後主謀。Tajuk的報導指出他們煽動暴力,企圖製造混亂,好在關鍵時刻「挺身而出平定暴動」,藉此躋身更高的位置。

面對國內外不利的媒體報導和輿論,事件後新上任的總統哈比比於1998年7月23日指派成立聯合事實調查小組(簡稱調查小組)以調查這場事件。其中一項最重要的發現是,該小組指控軍隊應該為沒有即時因應和控制暴力負責。

華裔印尼人時常指出,在暴動期間他們最需要保護的時刻未受到保護,使他們感到驚恐並深受創傷。調查小組證實,維安部隊的確在某些案件中袖手旁觀,沒有阻止暴民洗劫和燒燬建物。因為調查小組並未找到普拉伯沃和夏弗里與暴力事件直接相關的證據,所以建議進一步調查他們是否參與煽動謀劃,很可惜的是,這個建議最終沒被採用。

經過了20年,專家和學者的研究都傾向認為暴動是經過預謀策劃的,而且和印尼軍隊有關。John Sidel教授在他的著作《暴動、屠殺和聖戰:印尼的宗教暴力》(Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia)中舉雅加達的羅摩衍那百貨公司(Ramayana Department Store)為例。這間商場比雅加達其他連鎖零售店受到更多損害。這指向一種熟悉的模式,與軍隊動員和策劃有關:幾乎所有百貨公司都位於付費道路、主要幹道和繁忙的交叉路口,這有便於軍方在同一時間利用這些交通要道,快速部署軍隊或其他軍隊支持的組織到雅加達各個地方。除此之外,許多受到影響的商家都位於軍事設施附近,譬如軍事總部或軍營。

以種族包裝的階級仇恨

雖然專家們有共識,高階軍官以及和軍方有關的幫派涉入了1998年5月的暴力,學者們仍對簡化整起事件為「陰謀論」十分謹慎。知名學者賀嚴多(Ariel Heryanto)在1999年的一篇文章中認為,跟據早期收集到的證據,的確暴露軍方蓄意操作的痕跡,但他仍質疑隨後發生的暴力單純是軍方陰謀策劃所造成,也不認為「陰謀論」有助於我們理清這事件的來龍去脈。

賀嚴多認為「1998年5月的暴動是多種本質不同但互相影響的暴力形式(出於經濟動機、政治動機、即興參與、種族仇恨等等)。」每種暴力形式都有自己的歷史和方式,而且加害者、受害者或由「加害者轉為受害者」的背景十分不同。[3] 

與其嘗試用一個「可以解釋一切」的「大框架」,學者使用了多元的角度與動態的框架解釋1998年爆發的暴力事件。傑瑪.帕爾迪(Jemma Purdey)撰寫了第一本以98暴動為題的英文著作《1996-1999印尼排華暴動》(Anti-Chinese Violence in Indonesia, 1996-1999),其中將1998年5月發生的一連串暴力事件定位為1996年以來,一系列針對印尼各地華裔暴力事件的高峰。而這些暴力事件在1998年後持續發生。

1996年到1999年之間,帕爾迪統計出47件針對華裔印尼人的暴力事件。他不僅把研究時間拉長,研究的地理範圍也更廣,不只限於雅加達,也涵蓋爪哇島和蘇門答臘島各地。帕爾迪顯示印尼各處當地人「厭惡」華裔印尼人的方式以不同的社經、種族和宗教形態呈現。1996年以來,印尼經濟加速發展,導致貧富差距越來越惡化、裙帶資本主義、蘇哈托逐漸失去控制力以及權貴之間的鬥爭,牽動了以不同形式呈現的「排華」情緒。

尤其1997年中爆發亞洲金融危機,通貨膨脹、食物短缺和失業率飆升,更導致上述問題惡化。當印尼的經濟問題加劇惡化時,軍方和政府官員透過影射,暗指甚至公然指控印尼食物短缺、商人囤積物資、資本外逃和金融危機的原因是「華人控制經濟」。如帕爾迪所說的,1998年初全國籠罩在不確定和緊張的氛圍中,要在全國煽動針對少數族群的暴力事件一點也不困難。

(作者為獨立學者,前新加坡國立大學歷史系助理教授。本文由黃馨儀翻譯。下篇請見:【印尼98事件專題】集體記憶的不可能性:反思1998年5月印尼暴力事件(下)

     

[1] Ariel Heryanto, "Rape, Race and Reporting" in Reformasi; Crisis and Change in Indonesia edited by AriefBudiman et al., 1999.

[2] Siew-Min Sai, "Eventing the May 1998 Affair: Problematic Representations of Violence in Contemporary Indonesia" in Chinese Coppel ed., Violent Conflicts in Indonesia: Analysis, Representation and Resolution, 2006.

[3] Ariel Heryanto, "Rape, Race and Reporting" in Reformasi; Crisis and Change in Indonesia edited by AriefBudiman et al., 1999.

以下為英文原文:

The Impossibility of Collective Memory: Some Reflections on the May 1998 Violence in Indonesia (I)

by Sai Siew-Min (Independent Scholar)

Stories

Amongst Chinese Indonesians living in and outside Indonesia, there are many personal stories about the violence targeting the Chinese during those fateful days in May 1998. What happened in May 1998 brought down then-President Suharto, and the New Order regime once thought unassailable. Despite the momentous nature of regime change, it has proven extremely difficult to commemorate May 1998. There are stories like these that are now Google-able, giving readers a palpable sense of the scene at that time:

"Eight-year-old Hindra Martono was watching an afternoon news segment on the riots erupting in Jakarta when the mob came. Amid the din of fists banging on the door, Martono's father rushed his family into the attic to hide. What if the crowd decided to burn down the house? Martono's mother told him to pray to God, so he fingered the maid's Islamic prayer beads. His sister broke down in tears. Then the looters scaled his house and shattered the window. They swarmed inside, grabbing food, money, electronics, furniture — everything. Martono recognized his father's employees, who had often played with him. "I really hated them at that time," he said. "I felt like I was betrayed." 

When I was teaching at the National University of Singapore, I encountered students of Chinese descent from Indonesia whose families chose to immigrate to Singapore because of what happened in Indonesia in May 1998. During our conversations, we will invariably talk about their experiences of those days. Some were too young to remember anything. G was one of my students. She was about nine years old when her parents decided to move their family of four to Singapore after May 1998, in the process exhausting their savings. When I asked G what she went through in May 1998, she could recall details such as receiving instructions from her school about not wearing the distinctive school uniform that would identify them as students from a school with a predominant Chinese Indonesian population; hearing news about a school building burnt down by an unidentified mob; and she could recall waiting in the dark in their family home with her backpack containing vital documents and belongings, ready to flee via a prepared escape route should the mob attack the house. Thankfully, the attack did not materialize.  But about a year later, G found herself in Singapore, struggling with English language instruction in school and often alone in their small government flat, stripped of her liberty to roam a more expansive residential compound in Jakarta and denied the companionship of her numerous cousins. It was a miserable first year for a nine-year-old in an alien land. G's story is striking to me because it alerts me to the impossibility of knowing how the effects of a significant event continue to impact individuals in so many minute and intricate ways, well after the proverbial dust has settled.

These personal stories remain fractured and are not articulated through collective narratives that not only empower "victims" but also serve as texts enabling reflexive thought and discussion about living in a collective entity called "Indonesia." In fact, the events of May 1998 are in danger of being forgotten, and these personal stories confront the same fate. Human rights groups such as the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) are worried that people are slowly forgetting what had happened in 1998 and are doing their best to prevent collective amnesia. The fate of 113 un-named graves laying in a cemetery in an East Jakartan suburb is a case in point. Containing the remains of unidentified victims who died in the May violence but whose precise time of death could not be ascertained, the graves bear the plain inscription in Indonesian and English "Korban Mei 13-14 1998 (Victims of 13-14 May 1998)." They are largely unknown and ignored by the Jakartan public while organizations like Komnas Perempuan, together with the victims' families make it a point to clean up the graves and hold a commemoration ceremony every year. 

Fractures

What makes public commemoration of May 1998 so difficult? One can search in multiple directions for some answers. From the very beginning, the events of May 1998 raised fundamental questions of comprehension and interpretation which made generating a collective narrative daunting. Initial accounts and early reports were almost always Jakarta-centric and focused on rioting and attacks targeting Chinese Indonesians. On 12 May 1998, snipers shot dead four student protesters at the prestigious Trisakti University in the capital city. Thousands of students had been occupying the campus demanding that Suharto step down and political and economic reforms implemented. News of the students' deaths provoked public anger, triggering acts of looting and burning of shopping complexes, departmental stores, shops and homes in multiple locations all over Jakarta between 13th and 15th May. Those owned by Chinese Indonesians were singled out, and "Chinese-looking" persons were verbally insulted, spat on and beaten. Chinese Indonesians, as well as foreign expatriates, fled the country. The domestic, regional and international new-media covered the outburst of rioting, violence and mass exodus extensively, framing these incidents as "anti-Chinese" in nature. 

In a matter of days, Jakartans, Indonesians, and the world were shell-shocked by reports, first circulating online and later in the print media that large numbers of women, the majority of whom were Chinese, had been subjected to sexual abuse and torture. , and they were reportedly raped or gang-raped in the presence of family members, loved ones or a cheering crowd. The horrific nature of the sexual abuse went well beyond any understanding of "anti-Chinese violence" in the country. Scholars were quick to point out that the occurrence of spectacles of violence surrounding exaggerated sexual abuses of female bodies was widely-reported on in Indonesia but only for conflict situations such as in Aceh and then East Timor. Jakartans would not expect these sexualized violent spectacles in their backyard. Neither would they associate these spectacles with "anti-Chinese violence." (Ariel Heryanto, "Rape, Race and Reporting" in Reformasi; Crisis and Change in Indonesia edited by Arief Budiman et al., 1999) It was, in a word, abnormal.

As Indonesians struggled to comprehend the magnitude of what happened, public attention and debates on "what really happened" came to center on a series of reports generated by local NGOs that had been actively collecting and collating data and information on the violence. They formed a loosely-organized group known as the "Volunteers for Humanity." The Volunteers' alarming reports calculated that a total of 168 cases of rape had occurred all over the country and to victims who were mostly Chinese, ranging from ages 10 to 50. The majority of these cases (132) happened in the Greater Jakarta area. In addition, more than 4,000 shops and malls had been destroyed and several thousand more houses and vehicles had been burnt. Their reports also stated that the total death toll in the country was 2,244. Significantly, the majority of those who died were not Chinese. The Volunteers described those who died as mostly the urban poor who had been lured into the malls to loot and plunder by unidentified provocateurs who then locked the looters in the buildings before setting the buildings on fire. 

Clearly, the large numbers of non-Chinese Indonesians who also perished in the May violence strained popular framing of the violence as "anti-Chinese." Unlike the reported cases of extreme sexualized violence, the deaths of the urban poor failed to attract public attention either at home or abroad which highlights the tendency to neglect the class factor in how May 1998 was understood. This neglect suggests that the Jakarta-centric account of the May violence as racially-motivated did succeed in deactivating public concern and perhaps even sympathy for Jakarta's poorest. Set against fantastic accounts of racially-charged violence, the position of those who died in deliberate acts of arson — between "plausible accomplices" and "inadvertent victims"— became awkward and they were quickly rendered incidental to the "real anti-Chinese story." 

The Volunteers was one of the first groups in Indonesia to argue against understanding the May violence as spontaneous outbursts of anti-Chinese violence perpetrated by angry mobs of urban poor. According to the Volunteers who paid careful attention to the forms of violence, their timing and place of occurrence, what happened in May was pre-meditated and carefully orchestrated to occur at multiple locations in Jakarta at approximately the same time. Eye-witnesses describe the presence of "agent provocateurs" who were usually young men not known to locals. The men were described in various ways: tanned, muscular, wearing crew-cuts, dressed in high school uniforms with some sporting tattoos. Working in groups, these agent provocateurs would begin to loot shops or destroy buildings, shouting brazen anti-Chinese slogans while abetting or commanding the crowds to join them. The Volunteers' reports implicated Indonesia's security forces as well as "thugs," known locally and infamously as "preman," who were linked to the military. In many instances where rioting broke out, police and security forces stood by and did nothing. Calls for assistance went unanswered. 

The Volunteers observed the same pattern of pre-meditation and simultaneous occurrence of incidents of sexual abuse.  Witnesses testified that just before the violence occurred, in some areas in Jakarta, strangers tried to recruit young men from poor neighborhoods, promising them not only material goods but sexual gratification with Chinese Indonesian women. In an interview with a local magazine in 1998, Father Sandyawan Sumardi, a Jesuit priest who spoke on behalf of the Volunteers, commented that what was popularly conceived of as "spontaneous rioting" was, in fact, a "massacre." (Siew-Min Sai, "‘Eventing' the May 1998 Affair: Problematic Representations of Violence in Contemporary Indonesia" in Chinese Coppel ed., Violent Conflicts in Indonesia: Analysis, Representation and Resolution, 2006)        

Reports in the domestic news media also speculated heavily on the involvement of the military. One sensational report in 1998 by Tajuk, a Jakartan newsmagazine named then Commander of the Army Strategic Reserve Command (Komando Cadangan Strategis Angkatan Darat) or KOSTRAD, Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto and his close ally Major General Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, Jakarta's regional Commander. Tajuk's report provided details of how the two generals plotted behind the scenes to instigate the violence. Its report suggested that their incitement of rioting and violence was part and parcel of a larger plot to jostle for top military and political positions at a critical moment. 

Pressured by the adverse reporting in the domestic and international media, the newly sworn-in President Habibie appointed a Joint Fact-Finding Team (Joint Team) on 23rd July 1998 to investigate the May violence. One of the Joint Team's most significant findings was its indictment of the military which was chastised for failing to anticipate and contain the violence swiftly. In some instances, the Joint Team discovered that the security forces stood by and did nothing to prevent looting and burning of property. Chinese Indonesians frequently point to the absence of protection during a time when they needed it most desperately as particularly frightening and traumatic. While the Joint Team could not find evidence that would connect Lieutenant General Prabowo and Major General Sjafrie directly to what had happened on the ground, it recommended further investigation into their suspected involvement in orchestrating the violence.  This recommendation was, unfortunately, not followed through.    

Over the years, further research conducted by experts and scholars gave credence to arguments suggesting the involvement of personnel and groups from the Indonesian military. Professor John Sidel in his book, Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia gave the example of the Ramayana department stores in Jakarta. The Ramayana department stores suffered more losses and damage than any other retail chain in the city, and the specificities of this case pointed to familiar patterns of military mobilization and orchestration. Almost all of the department stores were located close to toll roads, main roads and busy intersections which facilitated the speedy deployment of troops and other military-sponsored groups to multiple places at about same time using these major arteries.  Moreover, many of the affected stores were located close to military installations, including army headquarters and barracks. 

What About “Anti-Chinese” Violence?

While there is expert consensus that highly-ranked army officials, soldiers, and army-linked gangs were responsible for the May 1998 violence, scholars caution against simplistic "conspiracy" theories. In an article written in 1999, Ariel Heryanto argues that the evidence collected during this early stage pointed to the handiwork of the military but questioned whether the ensuing violence was simply the result of a tightly-orchestrated successful military conspiracy. Instead, Heryanto suggests that there were "several distinguishable but interacting genres of violence in May 1998 (economically motivated, politically-driven, festivity-making, racial hatred and so on," each with their histories and practices which were evident from the different profiles of perpetrators, victims, as well as perpetrators-turned-victims. (Ariel Heryanto, "Rape, Race and Reporting" in Reformasi; Crisis and Change in Indonesia edited by Arief Budiman et al., 1999, p.310) 

Instead of trying to discover a "meta-framework" that would "explain everything," scholars have adopted dynamic frameworks to understand the outbreak of violence in May 1998.  In the first English-language book-length study of May 1998 entitled Anti-Chinese Violence in Indonesia, 1996-1999, Jemma Purdey situates the violent episodes of May 1998 as the climax of a series of events implicating Chinese Indonesians in different parts of Indonesia from 1996 onwards with consequences for this ethnic minority persisting well after. Between 1996 and 1999, Purdey counts 47 cases of violence against Chinese Indonesians. Purdey adopts a longer time-frame and more extensive geographical framework beyond Jakarta. This approach allows her to demonstrate exactly how local antipathies against Chinese Indonesians, which assumed socio-economic, racial and religious forms in different places in Indonesia, interacted with worsening economic inequalities, crony capitalism, Suharto's gradual loss of control and intra-elite infighting from 1996 onward. The government failed to adequately address existing socio-economic problems caused by Indonesia's rapid economic development and these problems deteriorated with the outbreak of the Asian Financial Crisis in mid-1997, creating runaway inflation, food shortages, and rising unemployment. 

As Indonesia's economic problems took a turn for the worse, military, government officials as well as Suharto himself, resorted to innuendos, allusions, and even blatant accusations that "Chinese domination of the economy" was the main reason why Indonesia was reeling from socioeconomic inequalities, food shortages, hoarding, and capital flight. These attempts in "scape-goating" Chinese Indonesians became overt and audacious after the financial crisis hit the country. As Purdey notes, given the uncertain and tense atmosphere looming over the country in early 1998, it would not be difficult to instigate violent episodes against this ethnic minority on a national scale. 

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20年前,印尼發生了對社會帶來嚴重傷害的98「排華」事件。

光是首都雅加達,就有幾千多家華人工廠、店鋪、房屋遭燒毀,華裔婦女遭強暴的悲慘情狀更震驚國際。然而,在封閉的政治脈絡下,這個事件被歷史掩蓋,成為印尼人心中「大家都知道,卻沒人討論」的痛。

這一次,獨立評論特別邀請與此領域相關的作者群,從歷史分析、實地訪談與親身經驗中,拼湊出當時的故事:爪哇人真的痛恨華人嗎?族群與宗教間的糾葛是如何形成?身為當事人,他們又看見什麼?

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