In 1965, in a little known chapter of the Cold War, at least half a million people died in organised military-led killings of suspected communist sympathisers in Indonesia, with the blessing of the United States. For almost 50 years speaking about that time has been taboo, and school history books gloss over the killings. Attempts by the current government to start a process of truth-telling and reconciliation are reopening old wounds and have met fierce resistance from the military and old guard. Communism remains banned in Indonesia and students have been detained for reading Marxist books. But the silence is being broken.
Rebecca Henschke travels across Java to meet some of the killers, those still seeking justice and brave members of the young generation who are seeking out the truth and trying to come to terms with what happened in one of the darkest periods of Indonesia’s history.
(Photo: Pipet’s daughter holding a photo of Pipet’s mum Ani, with others at the detention camp where they were held in the 1960s and 70s) Photo credit: Anindita Pradana – BBC Indonesia
The Cold War Legacy: Brazil
Brazil’s controversial new President, Jair Bolsonaro, has praised the country’s military dictatorship, which took power in 1964 and ruled for 21 years. In an echo of the language used by the generals back then, President Bolsonaro claims he is saving his country from Communism and he has vowed to wipe the reds off the map. His critics say he is a threat to democracy.
In this sharply divided country, some say Brazil is reliving the Cold War. Through history, culture and the classroom, the BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson explores Brazil’s Cold War legacy.
Presenter: Katy Watson
Producer: John Murphy
(Photo: Brazilian army tanks arrive at Guanabara Palace, on 01 April 1964 in Rio de Janeiro during the military putsch. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
The Cold War Legacy: Czechoslovakia
Thirty years ago, communism suddenly collapsed across central and eastern Europe. Soviet rule, that had seemed ruthless and permanent, was ended by people power. And nowhere did change seem more miraculous than in Czechoslovakia. A ‘velvet revolution’ replaced a stony faced politbureau with a beaming playwright, President Vaclav Havel. There was much talk of democracy, prosperity, and a full embrace of Western values.
Three decades on, Chris Bowlby, who knew Czechoslovakia before and after its revolution and split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, returns to see how that change looks now. How far have the hopes of the 1989 revolutionaries been fulfilled? What role has nationalism – which split Czechoslovakia in two – come to play? What do new generations of Czechs, now on the streets fighting their own political battles, feel about the future as well as the communist past? And as Russian and Chinese influence grows – while the West’s commitment seems more uncertain – how do places like this now fit into a world few could have imagined as the Cold War ended?
(Photo: Members of Diky, ze muzem (Thanks That We Can), celebrating 30 years since the fall of communism in Narodni Street, Prague, scene of pro-democracy protests in 1989. Credit: Lukáš Bíba /Reportér magazín)
Dominion: The animals and the poets
Amidst birds passing over or nesting by the Solway Firth in southern Scotland, writer Kayo Chingonyi explores the role of poetry in bringing humans and non-human animals closer. He asks why we turn to poetry to fill the space between human and animal life and discovers ways in which poetry is a powerful human form for entering into the unstructured, more instinctive world of non –human animals. He walks through the wetlands with poet Isabel Galleymore and poetry scholar Sam Solnick. He also talks to newly appointed professor of poetry at Oxford University, Alice Oswald, along with Joshua Bennett and Onno Oerlemans.
The programme features full readings or extracts from the following poems:
Tame by Sarah Howe
Black Rook in Rainy Weather by Sylvia Plath
To A Mouse by Robert Burns
Pike by Ted Hughes
Otter by Seamus Heaney
The Kingdom of Sediment by Jacob Polley
Dear Whinchat by Belinda Zhawi
Limpet and Drill Tongued Whelk by Isabel Galleymore
Self Portrait as Periplaneta Americana by Joshua Bennett
Flies by Alice Oswald
The Moose by Elizabeth Bishop
Elephants by Les Murray
Producer: Kate Bland
(Photo: Kayo Chingonyi with Isabel Galleymore, Sam Solnick and Brian Morrell at Caeverlokc Wetlands Centre. Credit: Kate Bland)
Dominion: The animals and the philosophers
Environmental journalist Gayathri Vaidyanathan considers the impact of Philosophy and Religion on animals as food. In and around Chennai in India, she reveals how India is managing a terrible dilemma in the massive rise of buffalo meat production next to the catastrophe of animal welfare and environmental pollution. She talks to Jains, Hindus and Buddhists and visits fast food restaurants where young people associate eating burgers with independence and modernity. She also spends time at a pioneering dairy along with one of the many animal sanctuaries in the city.
Producer: Rose de Larrabeiti and Kate Bland
(Photo: Buffalo market in Chennai)