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No Flowery Path: Buru Island Memoir in Sketches

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Gregorius Soeharsojo Goenito is an artist/painter in Surabaya, East Java. After graduating from Perguruan Taman Siswa, Madiun, he constantly painted, played music, drama, and theater under Institute of People’s Culture (Lembaga Kebudayaan Rakyat/LEKRA) in the beginning of 1960s. The 1965 atrocities forced him to ‘travel’ from prison to prison, and finally exiled as political detainee in Buru Island, in the New Order regime.

His political detainment in Buru Island lasted for ten years (1969-1979). Under the command of Buru Island Rehabilitation and Resettlement Executive Body (Bapreru), Gregorius along with other political detainees faced torture, forced labor, and separated from his family. However, he decided to endure and try to gain as he believed each person had his own capacity to last and struggle.

Through hardship,  his memoir and sketches were born. Gregorius illustrated memories, histories, and reflection as political detainee; and it wasn’t just an anger, but also laughter. “I don’t want to remember Buru Island as bitter memories. After all, paths of life weren’t always meant to be cheerful and all-beauty,” he said.

This book is published by INSISTPress, with the partnership of several human rights NGOs, Asia Justice & Rights (AJAR) and Ikatan Keluarga Orang Hilang Indonesia (IKOHI), East Java chapter.