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Home arrow Religion arrow Islam and the making of the nation: Kartosuwiryo and Political Islam in 20th Century Indonesia

From rebellion to martyrdom?

I am a child of DI-TII who is ready to sacrifice himself for Islam. Remember, oh mujahidin of Malingping, how our imam, S.M. Kar- tosuwiryo, built and upheld and proclaimed the independence of the Islamic state of Indonesia with the blood a,nd lives of martyrs, not by relaxing and fooling around the way we do today. If you are serious about seeing the glory ofthe buried Islamic state of Indonesia rise again, shed your blood so that you won’t be ashamed to face Allah, you who acknowledge yourselves to be children of DI-TII}

Kartosuwiryo was executed in September 1962. His death was announced through a military communique, his body never released to the family and the place of his burial never made known. In the late years of Soekarno’s premiership, after thirteen years of armed rebellion, Kartosuwiryo’s body was not the focus of the public attention that would many years later be lavished on the coffins of the Bali Bombers Imam Samudera and Ali Ghufron, which were accompanied to Tenggulun, East Java, by large crowds in 2009.[1] [2] Kartosuwiryo’s memoirs, if they existed, were not published, and the media only reported on his execution at a later date. Even today there is little certainty regarding the location of his burial, and after half a century of silent grieving, his grandchildren are publicly demanding DNA tests on a grave on Onrust Island, off the northern shores ofJakarta, which could be Kartosuwiryo’s final resting place.[3]

This snapshot is symbolic of the changing debates about Karto- suwiryo, which rest at the centre of four broadly delimited stages in the development of public attitudes towards political Islam: condemnation, reconciliation and glorification; it is only since 2010 that works have appeared testing a fourth approach that aims at balancing the previous ones, a trend for the most part spearheaded by non-politicized authors.

In this final chapter I reflect on how the Darul Islam and Kar- tosuwiryo’s actions were received and represented from 1947 until today. This is the final step in developing my argument on the contemporary relevance and legacy of the Darul Islam and Kartosu- wiryo to Indonesian politics and Indonesian Muslims’ identity.

  • [1] Last Testament of Iqbal, alias Arnasan, alias Acong, October 2002. I am grateful to Ms SidneyJones of the International Crisis Group, Jakarta, for sharing this document.
  • [2] ‘Govt, media blamed for bombers’ martyrdom’, 10 November 2009, The Jakarta Post.
  • [3] ‘Still a mystery after 45 years’, in ‘Kartosoewirjo’, special edition, Majalah Tempo, 24 August2010, p. 46.
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