THE HAGUE (March 14th 2020) – King Willem-Alexander surprised friend and foe this week by making apologies to Indonesia. According to Hans Moll, chairman of Federatie Indische Nederlanders (FIN, Federation of Dutch Indos), the apology is affecting the great Indo-research efforts by KILTV, NIMH and NIOD into the decolonization period.
“The King’s apology is a strange way to get ahead of the results of the research effort. It is as if he is at the steering wheel saying “Boys, this is allowed. You got my royal permission to say that Dutch veterans have committed war crimes in the former Dutch East Indies”” Moll said. The researchers claim they are not influenced by the apology. In a statement publicized after the King’s speech, the researchers state they heard the apology, but “it does not influence the ongoing research program”. Moll points out that the researchers “at least experienced the king’s statement as a helping hand”.
The research is spurring up unrest for a longer period among those directly involved, especially in the Dutch Indo community. The community regards the research as an effort to reach an socially desirable conclusion. In this conclusion the researchers are only interested in Indonesian victims, while Dutch suffering is ignored. It was because of this that FIN presented in 2019 an open letter with criticism regarding the research. The royal apology gets ahead on the research conclusion. Moll did not want to speculate about the researchers being still impartial. “They (the researchers, eds.) are still – within quotation marks – ‘unbiased researchers’. We will have to wait and see”
— Federatie Indo (@FederatieIndo) March 16, 2020