Lentze: “Does Dutch suffering count too?”

OPINION (February  13th 2019)- Does Dutch suffering count? Followers of the study Decolonisation, violence and war. Indonesia 1945-1950 cannot escape from this question. The premise of the research is hardly open-minded nor independent. Its desirable outcome only appears to be a politic correct conclusion. The research is the result of years of lobbying by a wide variety of dubious activists, who are trivializing and whisking away Dutch suffering.

During 1945-1950 one in every six (Indo-)Dutch had been killed as a result of obvious racist prosecution by Indonesian gangs. Therefore, that there were casualties on Dutch side is a mere fact. However, the researchers state on their website that this Bersiap-period is: “a complex period about which obscurities and myths still exist”. Never before Dutch suffering had been discredited so severely.

Shocking, but simultaneously not astonishing anymore. This ‘academic independence’ is part of a wider trend in which our supposed wrong past has to be dealt with. The former Dutch East Indies is apparently part of this past and in that context there is no space for Dutch victims. The real story of Indisch Nederland is not allowed to be told and slowly swept under the carpet.

In contrary, on the Indonesian victimhood has been extensively expatiated. In the year 2019 no one denies that there were Dutch soldiers who committed crimes between 1945-1950, but nowadays Indonesians seem to be the only victims. It is the result of years of lobbying by fringe pressure groups, who have no respect at all for the stricken Dutch. The pro-Indonesian lobby claims to have access to the absolute truth and in that way they hijack the public debate. The researchers have yielded for this agenda.

While the researchers lay out the red carpet for Indonesian activists, like Sukarno-adept Jeffrey Pondaag, rational voices are kept away. Pondaag is the one who calls Indo-Dutch regularly traitors – please note: a true patriots community that has always remained loyal to nation and fatherland – and therefore he is extremely popular to the self-chastising part of The Netherlands. This might be the reason why the researchers judge him as an interesting voice for the study of the history of (Indo-)Dutch. Who knows.

The end of this insanity is not in view. Despite countless letters, columns, complaints, studies, law suits, compensations, etcetera, aggrievement and embitterment keep pursuing the activists. It is never enough, something perfectly illustrated last week when ‘historian’ Lara Nuberg published an article in the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant (‘Research ‘East Indies’ together with victims’), which again the dogmatic ideology of exclusive Indonesian victimhood proclaimed.

This historian was adamantly silent upon the fact that the Indonesians do not want to make a fuss about their part in the bloodshed. Not a single word on the Dutch suffering. It is not to be included in the activist’s narrative. The hypocrisy of these ‘magnanimous’ activists is clear. Never will they lift a finger to invoke justice for the victims of Indonesian brutality, nor – to mention something –  for the backpay for former civil servants and soldiers of the Koninklijk Nederlands-Indisch Leger (KNIL). But why these people would not count?

Dutch suffering does not exist for these activists. The pro-Indonesian lobby hardly speaks about the victims of Indonesian gangs armed with bamboo spears and machetes. Even in case they speak about such atrocities at all, they white-wash them. Meanwhile the activists use any resource offered by our democratic society. It is time The Netherlands put up a fight and stand up for our stricken people. If we do not, who will speak up? There is no one else who cares about Dutch suffering. Clearly we cannot expect anything from the present ‘academic’ study that lets itself be browbeat so easily by dubious activist groups. Liesbeth Zegveld.

Micha’el Lentze, board member of Federation of Indo Dutch

Bron: De Volkskrant

Tags: KILTV, NIMH, NIOD, Soekarno, Jeffrey Pondaag, Lara Nuberg, KNILMarjolein van Pagee