The Act of Killing

PBS Premiere: Oct. 6, 2014Check the broadcast schedule »

Take Action

Take a close look at the United States-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership agreement ( signed by President Obama and President Yudhoyono. Examine the role that human rights play in the relationship between the two countries. Share what you learn with your community, including your elected federal representatives. Let them know your views on incorporating protections for human rights in policy going forward.

Screen The Act of Killing as part of a violence prevention, anti-gang and/or post-prison re-entry program for violent offenders. Focus on the ways that committing violence affects the perpetrators.

Hold a public debate on whether or not the United States should pay reparations in some form to the victims of Indonesia's 1965-66 purge of communists. Discuss whether the United States has (or should) acknowledge(d) its role in the Indonesian mass killings. Make policy recommendations on what future relations should look like, including whether or not the United States should declassify documents relating to the events of 1965 and other possible actions the U.S. government could take to help bring clarity and healing.

Investigate the work being done by Indonesian human rights organizations today (see the Resources section). Consider ways to get involved.

Promote observance of the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims (24 March). See for more information. As part of the observance, examine the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ( and how it applies to current Indonesian policies.

In July 2014, Indonesia elected a new president (Joko Widodo), who promised to improve his nation's human rights record. Track his progress.

Convene a study circle to look at Hannah Arendt's phrase "the banality of evil" and discuss whether or not it describes Anwar and his associates. Analyze the relationship between Arendt's thesis and calls to bring perpetrators like Anwar and Adi to trial for crimes against humanity and/or for the creation of an Indonesian truth and reconciliation initiative to heal the ongoing effects of the purge.