The Social Movement against the Human Right: The Case of Massacre over the Masters of Sihir in the Regency of Banyuwangi 1998


  • Luqman H. Zainuri


Political transition from autocracy to democracy may produce paradoxes. Political succession in Indonesia may be the case in point. The anxiety over massive demonstration, riots and violence often over shadow political successions at the local, regional as well as national level support the above proposition. This article represents a research-based report on one of the most controversial collective violence relates to the monetary crisis 1997-1998 which brought the termination of autocratic era of Soeharto’s regime in May 1998. Since February 1998, in the Regency of Banyuwangi broke out a spiral collective action among the people. Hundreds of local-religious teachers are reportedly to have been killed by an undercover actors called “ninja.” All these phenomena have led to unanswered questions why the massacre against they the Master of Sihir is justified? What do they perceive of the violence? Who did it and how? Who, why and how they do it. As the violence continues almost throughout the year, the report is worth delivering. The aim of this article is to provide a research-based theoretical answers to the question of the nature of violence, the actors, the targets, and modus operandi of the violence. The research was conducted from 2002 to 2005 in the Regency of Banyuwangi and the surrounding areas. The method by which the research was exploratory in kind. Data was collected through snow balling technique while the perspective of the analysis is political sociology. The result shows hundreds of villagers have become victims of the violence most of whom, are village dwellers who are alleged the Master of Sihir. Most of the actors of the violence, if not all, are neighbours who share the believe that magic is benevolent while at the same time is malevolent. Accordingly, they perceive of those who were named the Master of Sihir paradoxically as foe and friend at the sane time. The violence vary degree starting from destruction of house or property, social isolation, expel from the village, and assassination. In conclusion, the chaotic political transition has given a room for the society to produce and reproduce violence. People may say that any violence is against human rights but, for this people, not to the Master of Sihir. For them, violation against the Master of Sihir is socially and politically justified, fair and acceptable.


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How to Cite

Zainuri, L. H. (2018). The Social Movement against the Human Right: The Case of Massacre over the Masters of Sihir in the Regency of Banyuwangi 1998. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 7(3), 147. Retrieved from



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