Moll: “Where are the apologies from Indonesia?”

AMSTERDAM (August 22th 2019) – We all think back to the 17th of August 1945 when Soekarno and Hatta made the declaration of independence for the Republic of Indonesia. Since that moment Indonesia was a very dangerous place for the Dutch (Indos), Chinese and other ethnic minorities. The Dutch government sent soldiers to restore ‘order and peace’. Unfortunately this intervention lead to excessive violence as well.

On the 12th of September 2013 the Dutch ambassador to Indonesia made a formal apology on behalf of the Dutch government for any executions performed by Dutch soldiers during the intervention from 1945 to 1949. Earlier, on the 15th of August 2005 the former minister of Foreign Affairs, Ben Bot, acknowledged that The Netherlands was ‘on the wrong side of history’ with its attempts to violently prevent the independence of Indonesia.

The wrong and right side of history are always controversial viewpoints, however the Dutch government showed humility by its view. The executions were not commissioned by the Dutch government, however they were carried out by soldiers who served the Dutch government. The Dutch government is therefore  not guilty of these crimes, yet they are responsible for them. By offering apologies the Dutch government showed themselves a civilized government.

I will not comment here on the summary executions of Indonesian civilians by Pemudas (republican-nationalist youths) and soldiers of the TNI (the Indonesian national army). That is a matter for the Indonesian government. However, offering apologies for summary executions by Dutch soldiers in the period 1945-1949 should not hide the fact that in the period 1945-1946 – also known as the Bersiap – Indonesian ‘freedom fighters’ turned to Dutch (Indos) in the most horrible way. Whereby they didn’t spare any persons who were just liberated from Japanese concentrationcamps as well as the Buitenkampers.

Pemudas raided – mainly armed with machetes and bamboo spears – Dutch families, which mainly consisted of women and children, because their men were still interned in Japanese concentrationcamps. The Pemudas raped the women, cut off their breasts and in the presence of their mothers the childrens’ throats were cut. Their body were cut to pieces.

These butcheries, particularly in various places on Java, Sumatra and South Sulawesi, were not a response to Dutch military action. After all, there was no operational Dutch military presence there at that time. Nevertheless it is estimated that Pemudas killed between 15.000 and 30.000 innocent Dutch civilians. Around 15.000 people are still missing.

To this day no apologies from the Indonesian side have been made for these atrocities. It would be appropriate for the Indonesian government to show civilization by recognizing the crimes committed by its subjects against defenseless Dutch citizens and apologizing to the Dutch government for that. I therefore appeal Indonesia to this.

Hans Moll, chairman of Federation of Dutch Indos

Bron: De Telegraaf

Tags: Nederlands-IndiëIndonesiëTweede WereldoorlogBersiapLara Nuberg, Jeffrey Pondaag, Michael van Zeijl, De Grauwe Eeuw, Reza Kartosen-Wong, Arjanti Sosrohadikoesoemo, Marjolein van Pagee
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