Police interference with the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival’s program was the latest sign of paranoia about 1965-related events. Two sessions unrelated to 1965 were also cancelled at UWRF: a panel called ‘For Bali’ about large-scale water and mangrove reclamation plans, big businesses, and the environmental movement, Bali Tolak Reklamasi (Bali Says No to Reclamation); and the launch of the novel From Now On Everything Will Be Different.
In a country as diverse as Indonesia—with hundreds of ethnicities, many faiths, and with an authoritarian history, it can be difficult to talk about controversial issues. Since the fall of the New Order, Indonesia has taken steps to guarantee freedom of expression. Unfortunately, laws that contradict those steps have also been passed.