Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
Up to half a million people were killed in Indonesia from 1965 to 1966 as part of the anti-communist purges. For many, this was a genocide which has been largely forgotten by some.
One man set out to change that. With his documentary "The Act of Killing", Joshua Oppenheimer has not only earned himself an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature but has also shined a light on one of the 20th century's worst atrocities. Becky Anderson sat down with him ahead of the Academy Awards on Sunday to hear about the film and this bloody chapter in the history of Indonesia.
Oppenheimer offers a remarkable perspective on the killings. He travels to Indonesia and meets not the victims but the perpetrators of the genocide – the men who claim to have killed tens or even hundreds of their fellow countrymen. They appear so proud of what they have done that they're prepared to re-enact the murders for the cameras. Through the film Oppenheimer gives an insight into the mind of a mass-murderer. The central character is Anwar Congo who says he personally killed roughly 1,000 people during the purges. Anwar demonstrates for Oppenheimer the technique he used to minimize blood spillage during his killings.
According to Oppenheimer, Anwar went through a range of complex emotions during the filming, as he is forced to reflect on what he did.
"What's fuelling Anwar throughout the process was him trying desperately to deny the horror of what he's done, to run away from it – the boasting and remorse turn out to be two sides of the same coin."
The mass-killing began after six Indonesian generals were murdered on 1st October 1965. A coup attempt by the 30 September Movement ended in failure and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) were blamed.
This sparked anti-communist sentiment within the army and the PKI were purged from political, social and military life. Following that, anyone who was affiliated or suspected of being affiliated with the communist party or leftist organizations became a target for arrest, torture and murder by death squads.
Oppenheimer says his film has helped provoke public discussion on the topic, that will hopefully lead to some form of reconciliation.
"The media is now able to talk about the genocide as a genocide", he says, "The public is able to debate the links between the catastrophe of the killings on the one hand and the moral catastrophe of the present day regime that the killers have built."
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Earlier this week, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill into law, introducing life imprisonment for those who engage in "aggravated homosexuality." Just one day later, a tabloid newspaper in Uganda published a list of the country's "top 200 homosexuals." Surveys show that 96% of the Ugandan public says society should not be accepting of homosexuality.
But where has this anti-gay sentiment in Uganda come from? One source may be that of American evangelical Christians, who have assumed a growing influence in the country and advocated against gay lifestyles.
One of the most well known is American pastor and lawyer Scott Lively. Becky spoke with him about his missionary work on Connect the World. She began by asking Lively for his reaction to the new law in Uganda.
"I have mixed feelings about that," Lively said. "I support parts of it, the parts that have increased penalties for homosexual abuse of children and intentionally spreading AIDS through sodomy. But the parts dealing with simple homosexuality I don't agree with. They're far too harsh."
Lively said that Ugandan culture and history itself was the main source of the anti-gay sentiment seen there. "No American evangelicals taught the Ugandans how to be against homosexuality," he said.
When asked whether he was an extremist, Lively replied that "an extremist is in the eye of the beholder."
While the world waits to see how the political uncertainty in Ukraine will play out, Becky spoke with Ian Bremmer about the possible outcomes. Bremmer is the President of Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.
Becky asked Bremmer about the ongoing influence of Russia in determining Ukraine's future. He said it remains strong, despite the recent ouster of Kremlin-friendly leader Viktor Yanukovych.
"You and I are talking about Ukraine today," Bremmer said. "In six months, we won't be, but the Russians will still be there and their ability to close this place down to everybody but Russia is pretty significant."
With unrest festering in eastern regions of Ukraine, Becky and Bremmer also discussed the possibility of separation within the country. He said it's not very plausible in the near term, but could be a concern in the medium term – especially as international actors are likely to grow weary of Ukraine's new leadership.
"There's a reason why the Europeans and the Americans didn't bother to give these guys any money until after a hundred Ukrainians were dead," Bremmer said. "And it's because they were saying 'we don't want to work with these folks, they're not going to reform, they're not going to engage.' That doesn't change miraculously just because they've been in the news for a week."