Sat, 01 Apr 2000

Sweeping statements

I have read with interest the animated discussion which is presently going on between Chichi Marti, Y. Santo and Bart Van Assen, and have hugely enjoyed Richard Ward's pithy comments in On muddled tale, published in the March 30 edition of The Jakarta Post (I'm willing to bet you are a "True Brit"!).

However, after reading Chichi Marti's emotion-charged letter Evil Colonialism on March 30 (in which Marti showed a distressing tendency to becoming personal by accusing Van Assen of cowardice) I experienced a feeling of what can best be called apprehension. In his letter, Marti said, among other comments, that "I am even more certain now that the Dutch always deny their colonial past ... and the Dutch always think, like their ancestors, that the islanders/natives know nothing". This rather frequent use of the word always gives the unprejudiced, unbiased reader the impression that Chichi Marti is rather too free in making generalizing, sweeping statements -- which, in an intelligent debate between mature and thoughtful adults, should preferably be avoided.


Bogor, West Java