In our current political moment, questions of civil rights and authoritarian regimes can’t help but float to the surface. How to respond to these concerns is less straightforward. Matt Easton’s book, We Have Tired of Violence: A True Story of Murder, Memory, and the Fight for Justice in Indonesia tells the true story of the killings which took place under Indonesia’s authoritarian rule, calling upon the real evidence to make a case against injustice. Easton’s voice is timely and necessary, providing a blueprint for how to understand the mechanisms and severities of governmental control.
The Center for Fiction was thrilled to welcome author and human rights researcher Matt Easton in conversation with ProPublica Deputy Managing Editor Eric Umansky. Suciwati, Munir’s widow and the founder of the Munir Human Rights Museum, joined the discussion remotely from Indonesia. In this discussion of blending the political with the narrative, Easton revealed the value of both in unveiling the ultimate truth.
We Have Tired of Violence: A True Story of Murder, Memory, and the Fight for Justice in Indonesia
By Matt Easton
Published by New Press
On a warm Jakarta night in September 2004, Munir said goodbye to his wife and friends at the airport. He was bound for the Netherlands to pursue a master’s degree in human rights. But Munir never reached Amsterdam alive. Before his plane touched down, the thirty-eight-year-old—one of the leading human rights activists of his generation—lay dead in the fourth row.
Munir’s daring investigation of the killings and abductions that occurred over three decades of authoritarian rule by the former president, Suharto, had earned him powerful enemies. Undeterred, Munir’s wife, Suciwati, and his close friend, Usman Hamid, launched their own investigation. They soon uncovered a conspiracy involving spies, a mysterious co-pilot, threats of violence and black magic, and deadly poison.
Drawing on interviews, courtroom observation, leaked documents, and police files, this book uncovers the dramatic murder plot and the titanic struggle to bring the perpetrators of Munir’s death to justice. Just as Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing did for Northern Ireland, We Have Tired of Violence tells the story of a shocking crime that serves as a window into a captivating land still struggling to shake off a terrible legacy.
Matt Easton is a writer and a human rights researcher and advocate. The author of We Have Tired of Violence: A True Story of Murder, Memory, and the Fight for Justice in Indonesia (The New Press), he has lived and worked in Indonesia, Timor-Leste, India, and Zimbabwe and now resides in New York.
Eric Umansky is a deputy managing editor of ProPublica, where he has overseen two Pulitzer Prize-winning projects. Most recently, a series he edited on NYPD abuse of “nuisance abatement” laws won the Pulitzer Gold Medal for Public Service. Umansky oversaw much of ProPublica’s Trump administration coverage, including the Trump, Inc. podcast with WNYC, which won a DuPont Award. More recently, Umansky has reported with his colleagues on police accountability in New York City. The work has won the John Jay College/Harry Frank Guggenheim Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting and the Al Nakkula Award for Police Reporting. It has also been credited with helping spur reforms.
Umansky joined ProPublica back when it started in 2008. Before that, he wrote a column for Slate. Umansky has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many others. He is also a co-founder of Document Cloud.
Suciwati and Munir were married from 1996 until his death in 2004. She is the founder of the Munir Human Rights Museum.