By Batara R. Hutagalung
Chairman of the Committee of Dutch Honorary Debts
A few months ago I read the news from the Netherlands Embassy in Washington D.C., United States about the glorification of The Hague, Netherlands:
The Hague "City of Peace and Justice"
The Hague, “the legal capital of the world”
The Hague is “home of the Peace Palace, an international icon for 100 years.”
“Global commitment to defending justice and human rights”
Indeed, for the “Global commitment to defending justice and human rights”, the Dutch persistently hunt the German war criminals.
Flashback to 2010. Heinrich Boere, at the age of 89, a former member of a Nazi SS hit squad during World War II, in March 2010 was sentenced to life in prison in a court in the German city of Aachen for shooting to death three Dutch civilians in 1944 (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16204994)
But, for the atrocities committed by the Dutch soldiers during the Dutch military aggression in Indonesia 1945 – 1950, after the end of World War II, and after the Indonesian people proclaimed the independence of the Republic of Indonesia, the Dutch government and many people in the Netherlands act like the proverbial three wise monkeys, "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." It seems that they are suffering from historical amnesia.
The three "wise" monkeys
The Dutch Government has not even conceded de jure recognition of the independence of the Republic of Indonesia of August 17, 1945. As far as the Dutch Government is concerned, the de jure independence of Republic of Indonesia was on December 27, 1949, when the Dutch Government handed over sovereignty to the United States of Republic of Indonesia (Republik Indonesia Serikat or RIS). But RIS was dissolved on August 16, 1950, and on August 17, 1950, President Sukarno proclaimed the reestablishment of the Unitarian Republic of Indonesia.
Indeed, it is a big dilemma for the Dutch Government. De jure recognition of the independence of the Republic of Indonesia on August 17, 1945 would mean that the Dutch Government has to admit that their so called “police actions” of 1947 and 1948 were in fact acts of military aggression toward an independent nation, and thus the Dutch soldiers would be war criminals.
On the other hand, by not recognizing the de jure independence, and the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia, makes the official relations between Indonesia and the Netherlands a weird “diplomatic” relation. How can two nations have an equal status in a diplomatic relationship, if one nation does not officially recognize the other nation?
One of the hundreds of atrocities and extraordinary crimes that were committed by Dutch soldiers took place in Majene, West Sulawesi.
On February 1, 1947 at Galung Lombok village, West Sulawesi, Dutch soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Vermeulen massacred more than 650 people – non combatants – from Galung Lombok and surrounding villages, in a so called standrechtelijke executie (summary execution). Among the victims were two women and some children. The number of wounded were not even counted. It was like the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, India, that occurred on Sunday, April 13, 1919.
For more than 65 years the Dutch Government has tried to cover up this cruel war crime against humanity, an act that could be categorized as one of the most cruel massacres of civilians in the history of mankind. It was more cruel than the massacre in the village of Rawagede (now Balongsari) in West Java. On December 9, 1947, Dutch soldiers massacred 431 civilians in Rawagede.
On December 9, 2011, at the 64th commemoration of the massacre at the Rawagede Monument, Dutch Ambassador Tjeerd de Zwaan, on behalf of the Dutch Government apologized for the massacre to the widows and families of the victims in Rawagede. See: http://indonesiadutch.blogspot.com/2011/12/dutch-apology-for-1947-indonesia.html
The massacre in Rawagede and in Galung Lombok were not the only war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Dutch soldiers during the Dutch military aggression in the Republic of Indonesia between 1945 – 1950. From December 1946 – February 1947 Dutch elite troops massacred thousands of civilians in South and West Sulawesi. Hundreds of thousands of Indonesian civilians were killed in other parts of Indonesia during the Dutch military aggression. The exact number of the victims is still unknown until today, because systematic research has never been done.
It was surprising that the Dutch, only a few weeks after they were freed from the cruel German occupation and hundreds of thousands were released from the terrible Japanese internment camps in Indonesia, that they did to Indonesian civilians what they themselves experienced during the German occupation and in Japanese detention. In some cases it was crueler than what they themselves experienced. It was beyond all logic. Just amazing!
The victims of the Galung Lombok massacre were inhabitants of the Districts (Kabupaten) of Majene and Polewali Mandar, in West Sulawesi.
The Galung Lombok Monument
From June 17 – 19, 2012, I visited the ‘killing field’ in Galung Lombok village, 8 km from Majene, the capital of the District of Majene. I interviewed one widow and one son of the victims as well as some eyewitnesses of the massacre. See (in Indonesian language): http://batarahutagalung.blogspot.com/2012/06/pembantaian-di-galung-lombok-kesaksian.html)
From left: Sama Unding, eyewitness; Baya Langi, 91, widow of Hadollah;
Hama, eyewitness; Batara R. Hutagalung
Baya Langi, widow of Hadollah, showed the ring given by her husband,
few minutes before token away by Dutch soldiers...and killed
With HM Ali Hatta, son of Hatta, victim of the massacre
Siti Amani, daughter of Nakku, shows the name of her killed father
Siti Amani, in front of the grave of her father
With Fatani Thayeb, 104 years, eyewitness
Victims from the District (Kabupaten) of Polewali Mandar, 237 persons.
Mass graves of the victims
Mass graves of the victims
Mass graves of the victims