International Banned Book: The Fugitive by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (Indonesia)

Plot:  In the twilight days of Japanese power in his country, an Indonesian army officer sparks an insurrection against the occupation army but is forced to flee into the jungle when he is betrayed by one of his own comrades.

Challenge: Banned in Indonesia in 1950, for containing “subversive” material, including an attempt to promote Marxist–Leninist thought and other Communist theories. As of 2006, the ban was still in effect.

“Pramoedya’s writings sometimes fell out of favor with the colonial and later the authoritarian native governments in power. Pramoedya faced censorship in Indonesia during the pre-reformation era despite the fact that he was well known outside Indonesia. The Dutch imprisoned him from 1947 to 1949 during the War of Independence (1945-1949). During the changeover (coup) to the Suharto regime Pramoedya was caught up in the shifting tides of political change and power struggles in Indonesia. Suharto had him imprisoned from 1969 to 1979 on the Maluku island of Buru and branded him a Communist. He was seen as a holdover from the previous regime (even though he had struggled with the former Sukarno regime. It was on the Island of Buru that he composed his most famous work, the Buru Quartet. Not permitted access to writing materials, he recited the story orally to other prisoners before it was written down and smuggled out. Pramoedya opposed some policies of founding President Sukarno as well as the New Order regime of Suharto, Sukarno’s successor. Political criticisms were often subtle in his writing, although he was outspoken against colonialism, racism and corruption of the Indonesian new Government. During the many years in which he suffered imprisonment and house arrest (in Jakarta after his imprisonment on Buru), he became a cause célèbre for advocates of human rights and freedom of expression.”

Text excerpted from Wikipedia article

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