Wed, 09 Nov 1994

Dutch colonialism

Mr. de Kort, I remember you. You are the one who wrote that there were no airplanes involved in the battle of Surabaya. How wrong you were!

You are the person who, while we were celebrating our "Heroes Day," Nov. 10, 1993, was belittling our struggles and battles for independence and showed no respect for our people's sufferings and sacrifices (of lives, feelings, goods, etc.). But we always have our honor and our will to fight for our rights as humans.

Who are they (including Mr. Pronk) to tell us about Human Rights, while they themselves kept it from us, stole our freedom, suppressed us and stepped on our dignity?

Mr. de Kort, we regard our country as A Whole, that is Bumi Indonesia which belongs to Bangsa Indonesia. The Dutch came and colonized Indonesia; in the beginning under the pretension of "trade"--pepper, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, coffee, tea, rubber, copra, chinine, tobacco (Deli tabak for the famous Dutch cigars), palm-oil, tin, oil, (Bataafse Petroleum Maatschappij-BPM), iron, etc. etc. you name it, you know the rest.

Indonesia at that time consisted of many wealthy Kingdoms, each with their own high culture. No comparison at all with other Dutch colonies you mentioned, which did not produce anything at that time. (The Dutch even had to take workers from Java to Suriname, because there were no people to do the work).

You can twist your words any way you want, but the fact is and remains the same: Holland became wealthy and important because of its main and long-time rich colony: Indonesia! Nobody can deny this. So, don't try and change history!

The Dutch indeed liked to cut us to pieces, since their motto is Divide and Rule! The VOC was fully supported by the Dutch government, e.g. if you planted other crops (fruit trees and vegetables to eat) than was ordered by the VOC (for export), then the Dutch Government would burn down your house and belongings plus the plants you planted.

The Indonesians who dared to drink coffee made of coffee beans would be hanged, even if they owned the tree. We were allowed to drink Kopi Daun (coffee made of fallen coffee leaves). My father- in-law and his parents experienced this in Sumatra and until now enjoy Kopi Daun. The coffee beans had to be handed over to the VOC but the hangings, beheadings, burnings, tortures, etc. was done by the Dutch Government.

As for Westerling: Don't wash your hands in onschuld. He might have had Turkish blood, but he was a Dutch citizen and served as a captain in the Dutch army (where did Westerling get his commands from? You know better!). His car bore the sign MTD (Militaire Transport Dienst). He belonged to an elite/exclusive group in the army, who called themselves Angkatan Perang Ratu Adil (APRA -- Army of the Queen of Justice -- at the time it was Queen Wilhelmina). This group had Carte Blanche (they could do whatever they liked). Back in Holland he was promoted to Major (for killing 40,000 Indonesians!).

How can it be that you don't know Indonesia asked for Westerling's extradition? Because it was in the newspapers, even in Vienna (where I read it). Apparently this is the way you work; assuring things which are not true; imposing your will upon others, hoping they don't know the truth; trying to put attention onto other things to distract from the main issue (one of your letters mentions Japan). Reading your many letters, it does not take an expert to come to that conclusion.

Being the opposite of you, Indonesians are, in general, physically small but with big hearts, no hard feelings, but if you stir up or dig up oude koeien uit de sloot, you open old wounds.

Try, have a big heart and admit what was wrong. Don't we all make mistakes sometimes and learn from them? Let bygones be bygones, because no one can undo what's been done. Let's look to the future, work together towards a better world.