Sunday 16 May 2021 | 07:33 | SYDNEY
Sunday 16 May 2021 | 07:33 | SYDNEY

Judging Soeharto


Stephen Grenville

15 January 2008 10:41

One of the central elements is assessing Soeharto’s role in history is to judge the extent and causes of the 1965 killings in Java and Bali, and the degree to which Soeharto himself was responsible. The first part is being decided by a form of auction: by whoever dares to name a higher figure (suitably qualified, of course, by some slippery phrase like 'up to…'). The latest bid in this auction comes from the Financial Times, which today is assessing the numbers as 'anywhere between 500,000 and 3 million'. With this number now established, the next round will just quote the 3 million figure. This is the way The Australian would justify describing the regime yesterday as 'one of the 20th century’s most brutal and corrupt'. Sadly, there was a fair bit of competition for this description during the 20th century.