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Buru Island


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About the Author

Hersri Setiawan (born in Yogyakarta, May 3, 1936; age 83 years) is an Indonesian writer who was long held on Buru Island for his involvement in the People's Culture Institute (Lekra) in the 1950s. He studied sociology at Gadjah Mada University and the Academy of Drama and Film Arts in Yogyakarta. Since college he has been active in press and cultural publications. He later became an activist for the National Front and Lekra, and became the Chairperson of the Central Java branch of Lekra. In 1961 - 1965 he was appointed as an Indonesian representative in the Asian-African Authorities Association and placed at the center of the organization in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Because of the political upheaval caused by the regime's change in the country, in August 1965 Hersri returned to Indonesia. But in the country of his birth, he faced a much greater upheaval, namely the G30S incident which occurred a month after he returned to Indonesia. Because his organization was considered to be associated with the Indonesian Communist Party, Hersri was considered involved in the G30S, and was therefore arrested and became a New Order political prisoner. He was detained moving from RTC (Special Detention House) Salemba, to a Tangerang prison, then languishing on Buru Island for nine years (1969 - 1978). After Buru, he worked as a writer, editor and translator. However, due to the stigma of ex-political prisoners, during the New Order period, his works often appeared without names or by using pseudonyms. He has been an editor for 7 Indonesian "Encyclopedia" published by PT Ikhtiar Baru-Van Hoeve. Between 1987 and 2004 Hersri lived in exile in the Netherlands. In 2004, Hersri returned to his homeland and now lives in Jakarta and Yogyakarta.

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