Genocide: A World History Chapter 7

Chapter seven of Genocide: A World History was about three different anti-communist genocides. The three that were addressed were Guatemala, Indonesia, and East Timor. What was fascinating about this chapter was that I haven’t heard about any of the genocides mentioned. I have actually never even heard of East Timor. The first genocide mentioned was in Guatemala. Younger Guatemalans, leftists, and labor activist all joined to form an insurgency against the government. The government launched a major counterinsurgency campaign in response. A special commando unit formed in January of 1967, and they carried out abductions, street assassinations, bombings, and executions of communists and alleged communists. During the Panzo massacre of May 29, 1978, special forces fired on a peaceful protest of mine workers and their families. 150 people were killed. There were more than 30,000 people killed between 1966 and 1981. The Mayans suffered the most during the genocide. The genocide in Indonesia was against the PKI and Gerwani. The killing of the communists took place once troops moved into the various localities. Local vigilantes would often decapitate¬†and mutilate people and display their body parts. The U.S. embassy gave a list of 5,000 names of communist cadres. This was useful because the Indonesian military was targeting communists for their killings. The genocide in East Timor was from 1975 to 1999. The people who carried it out were mostly Javanese Muslims. The victims were mostly Roman Catholic¬†Timorese. Jakarta wanted to absorb East Timor into Indonesia. The decline of Portugal’s will to maintain its colonial empire posed difficulties for East Timor. Fretilin, a left-wing party with some communists rose to power and wanted an independent East Timor. They declared independence hoping that it would stop Indonesia from invading. It did not, and the Indonesian military invaded East Timor in Operation Komodo. Timorese of all ages were killed. Fretilin fighters were sent to transit camps and then settlements. The Santa Cruz massacre of November 12, 1991, was when 2,000 young people marched through Dili to the grave of a young person killed by the pro-Indonesian militia. They were surrounded by Indonesian soldiers and were fired upon. 270 people were killed. On May 21, 2002, East Timor finally gained independence. I found this chapter very eye-opening because I knew absolutely¬†nothing about any of these genocides. It was also interesting to hear about U.S. involvement.

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