Date: Tue, 8 Apr 1997 14:22:34 +0100
From: Waruno Mahdi 

Withdrawal of Moluccan Former Dutch Mercenaries to the Netherlands (4)

On Fri, 4 Apr 97 12:23 WET, Chaumont Devin wrote:

>responding clearly to  messages provides an ideal
>way of getting the real Maluku message across.

That at least soothes my conscience in doing the same reciprocally.

>My question is: Why transport Moluccan troops to Holland at all?  The Dutch
>stood by and watched while the TNI killed Moluccans in Ambon, what were a few
>more Moluccans one way or another to the Dutch anyhow?

I already answered that, they were tied by treaties, which had actually also been binding for Dr. Soumokil and friends. One can't hold the Dutch responsible towards Dr. Soumokil to undo the consequences of the latter's decision to back out of those treaties. That they then nevertheless took responsibility at least insofar for their former mercenaries, as to provide a secure place of retreat for them, is just extra.

>         Were the ones who got
>transported to Holland somehow special in some mysterious way?

You said so yourself already, the ex-KNIL people were their former mercenaries. The others were apparently not. Don't forget, East Indonesians, including Moluccans, had also fought on the side of the Republic of Indonesia. The Dutch naturally did not feel responsible for the entire part of the population involved in the hostilities in connection with RMS.

>> They weren't deprived of their liberties until much later (together
>> with the rest of the population of Indonesia).
>I sincerely doubt if any of the RMS freedom fighters would agree with this
>statement of yours.

Can you name me one democratic state, where captured members of an armed rebellion are free to walk around like nothing happenned? With that, I do not wish to condone whatever excesses might have taken place in the concrete treatment of the prisoners. But you see, who am I, living in the comfort of established stable economic conditions, where even there too the police sometimes overreact, to pass judgement on the qualities of army and police actions of a young country only a few months after a prolonged period of war, preceded by an almost just as long period of military occupation. Besides, they were apparently acting on still strong memories of recent treatment of Indonesian freedomfighters by the Dutch colonial forces (these being for the greater part that very same KNIL).

It is quite different today off course, after many decades of independence and stable economic growth, when police and army still brutally maltreat even members of a peacefull and legitimate opposition.

>Why do you speak of an uncompromising federated government when the Moluccans
>all say the round table specified a "united states" of Indonesia?

Like in the United States of America, where you have upto 50 states, but nevertheless also an "uncompromising" (your terminology, not mine) federal government, so also did the United States of Indonesia (which not only "the Moluccans", but everybody including myself always said resulted from the Round Table Conference). The first federal government (still in office at the time of RMS) united representatives of the Republic of Indonesia (one of the states of the federation) with those of the former puppet states, including the "Republic* of East Indonesia", which were now likewise states of the federation on the same par as the Republic of Indonesia. That is why I spoke of a "united government", to stress that, essentially, Dr. Sounokil too was represented in that government, and his action was indeed a rebellion or uprising, and not some act of legitimate opposition.

>                                                    And when
>you say, "instigated the uprising against the united government" are you
>implying that the RMS attacked Indonesia?

At last you got it. The RMS was an armed uprising against the United States of Indonesia in which East Indonesia was an institutional member as federal state.

>  And how can you say, "united," if
>(as you yourself have said) Soumokil was not united in this idea of a greater
>Indonesian federation, but agreed only to a "united states" of Indonesia?

That questioned is addressed to the wrong person. You should have asked Dr Soumokil, why he did not feel "united" in the United States of Indonesia as specified by the Round Table Conference, co-signed by his own superiors in the East Indonesia (puppet)state political establishment.

>Don't you see that you are on the wrong side?

What I see is that you are a bit confused, but that's quite understandable.

>                           Sukarno seems to have betrayed
>ALL his best friends one-by-one, beginning with his false pretexts about a
>"united states" of Indonesia, through his betrayal of all his other
>supporters, and finally ending up in his selling the whole country down the

Here not confused, just badly informed: Under the constitution of 1950 of the United States of Indonesia, we did not have a presidential republic, in which the president is the chief executive (as in the USA or France), but a parliamentarian republic (as in Britain or Germany), in which the prime minister, heading the cabinet of ministers, is chief executive. Sukarno was neither in a position to promote, nor in one to "betray" anyone. The head of the executive administration at the time of RMS was Prime Minister Mohammad Hatta. His dealing of the problems the nation faced has been generally seen as well balanced. The Dutch too, have always regarded him not without respect as a politically moderate statesman and a propounder of democracy and social equity. I don't think you stand any chance of making a bogeyman out of him. Which is probably why you've decided to clobber on Sukarno instead. But that misses the point completely. This was one time he wasn't and couldn't be responsible for whatever the government did.

>                                 Wouldn't you do better to say,
>rather, that Soumokil saw what was coming and wanted out?

No way. The actual motives were actually more than obvious. After two parties have not only been at war with each other for many years, but in a war in which many atrocities were committed (or perhaps all wars are like that), it takes a lot of backbone to then be united with the former enemy in a united administration, a united army, a united police, etc. Nevertheless the majority made it. It required emotional sacrifices from both sides. I can still remember talk between my father (a staunch Perdjuangan fighter) and his friends about the frustrations felt by many who had neglected their education to dedicate themselves for the independence cause, then seeing their ex-NICA colleagues climbing the career ladder because of better upgrading chances while still serving under the Dutch. For all your verbal abuse, the facts stand for themselves: there was no discrimination whatsoever against ex-NICA and ex-KNIL personell joining up together with the Perdjuangan people in the united administration, civil and military service. Many of them, encluding e.g. Anak Agung Gde Agung who lead the "puppet-states" delegation at the UN as counterpart to the Republik Indonesia delegation, made successful careers. Indonesia in the 1950-1957 period was a paragon of democracy by all real-world standards.

But some didn't make it, but lost their nerves. I'm sorry to say that Dr. Soumokil appears to be among them. At first they tried to instigate an uprising in West Java with APRA, then Andi Sele rebelled in Makassar, finally there was the RMS, all parts of one chain. The greatest tragedy of it all is that the Moluccan people undeservedly got pulled in into this quagmire, and suffered great sacrifices for no actual guilt of their own. If you really care about the Moluccans, you should help heal those old wounds, rather than tear them open and risk a renewal of the whole tragedy on an even greater scale.

>What?  Backing down?  And you admit a "Republic* of East Indonesia?"

I assure you, I did so all the time. Just because it was a puppet state set up by the Dutch does not mean it wasn't a thing of reality before the Round Table Conference. After that, it was one of the federal states of the United States of Indonesia, explicitly noted as such in the constitution of 1950, until it united itself into the Republic of Indonesia (but this was after RMS broke out).

>  And still
>you feel that Jakarta had the right, when the Moluccans failed to go along
>with its plans, had the right to come in and level Ambon and kill anyone who
>dared challenge?

Not "the Moluccans", but Dr. Soumokil and consorts, selfstyled as RMS. No not come in and level Ambon, but offer negotiations. When these failed, send a cabinet minister (unarmed, without military escort) into Rebell-held Ambon for further negotiations. These also failed. Now you must understand, that Indonesia was just a few months united under one federal government. People were having great difficulties, overcoming the understandable emotional resistance against immediate reconciliation in a shared new political hierarchy (like "that guy was responsible for the killing of my neighbors!"), pent-up feelings were ready to blow up all over the country. No responsible government, no matter how democratic, could afford permitting something like RMS to go on indefinitely without fearing bedlam breaking out all over the country. Remember, there had already been APRA and Andi Sele immediately prior to RMS. It was in fact an armed rebellion against the by all measures legitimate democratic state. And you can ask any expert or specialist with any inkling on the subject, Mohammad Hatta was most certainly not given to rash decisions. When he finally ordered that troops be sent in, it was indeed the very last resort. It is a great tragedy, that Dr. Soumokil and consorts managed to talk the Ambonese people into defending RMS against those troops.

>> to which the Dutch queen had handed over sovereignty over the WHOLE
>> > country (save West Irian, to be included a year later).
>So now you are claiming rights for Indonesians through some act of the Dutch
>Queen, and not through victory in an armed struggle.  Wily old man, aren't
>you!  But not really funny.

Perhaps you are trying to be funny. I was describing the formal legitimations as Dr. Soumokil and the ex-KNIL people under him had actually been obliged to see them. But quite apart from that, at the time RMS was proclaimed, the United States of Indonesia was together with the Netherlands in the "Dutch-Indonesian Union" headed by the Dutch queen (something like a Dutch version of the British Commonwealth of Nations). The KNIL people were sworn in on the name of the Dutch sovereign. If you met old former Moluccan KNIL soldiers in their Netherlands exile, you would have heard them scold some youngster that he "does not even deserve to kiss the lower rim of the Queen's skirt!". They were absolutely loyal to the Queen. One must know this, to understand the depth of the betrayal that took place in Ambon, getting even the ex-KNIL people (who had had serious doubts about joining RMS) to finally join up in a rebellion against a government which, for them, was additionally legitimized in having recieved its sovereign rights directly from the hands of that Queen! (if they had been informed about this)

>                      What you are saying is that the Dutch Queen had
>the right to decide the destiny of the Moluccan people, and to give Ambon to
>Jakarta like some personal possession when she never had any real rights over
>the Moluccas in the first place.

you shouldn't let your imagination run wild like that. The Round Table Conference stipulated, that upon formation of the united government of the United States of Indonesia, a formal ceremony would take place simultaneously in Jakarta and The Hague, in which the Dutch representative in Jakarta and the Dutch queen in The Hague would hand over sovereignty to the respective Indonesian representative (in the Hague it was Mohammad Hatta). I, seven years old, was in Bangkok at that time, and when Hatta landed at Donmuang airport on his way to The Hague, I was the one who put the welcoming flowerwreath around his neck. There were pictures of it in the newspapers:-).

It was thus not the Dutch queen who "decided", but the Round Table Conference.

>Sure.  It wasn't Sukarno and Jakarta and Java and the Dutch and the Americans
>and all their devils at all.

Quite right.

>                         It was the Moluccans who did it to themselves!
>How neat!  They were just waiting for the opportunity, and when it came, they
>shot themselves in the foot!

There you are doing both the intelligence and the noble hearts of the Moluccans a gros injustice.

No, honest people with an age-old culture formed upon a rustical egalitarian village-community tradition are, it is sad but true, too good for slick modern salesmen or politicians, who may talk them into buying the vacuum-cleaner they don't need, or poison their fields with overdoses of insecticides that harm more than they help, or to take up arms for the RMS. That is not because they are stupid. No, they are used to being honest and to be dealing with fellow people who are also honest. They automatically assume that you are honest too.

>At that time the people of Sulawesi were very poorly educated.

As you never pretended to know much about South Sulawesi, you are excused here. The specialists, particularly Pelras if he got to see it, will surely have read this line with a smile.

>            The people of
>Ambon were more enlightened.  Dr. Soumokil himself was an educated man.  What
>do these facts tell you about what was going on?  We have precisely the same
>problem today, with a poorly educated Moluccan population that is too ignorant
>to know and demand even their own most basic human rights or to know that they
>are being had.

Do make up your mind. Are they "more enlightened" or "too ignorant"?

>There you go again putting words in my mouth!  I have never suggested that the
>RMS had anything to do with the Dutch, intelligence, intelligent, or

No, but you blamed them for not intervening to help the Moluccans against Jakarta. On what grounds, if they were not responsible in having had a finger in RMS?

>           What I am asking is whether American pressure might have had
>something to do with 12,000 Moluccans being transported to Holland for reasons
>unclear and unknown.
>> ever heard of Biafra? An ethnicity, feeling discriminated in
>> Nigeria, tried to separate itself, with sympathies of many
>> international humanitarian organizations (for understandable
>> reasons). The price they had to pay for the attempt (it failed) was
>> too horrible to be described.
>Sounds like yet another Jakarta threat.
>> In Rwanda they tried a more practical method to secure themselves of
>> an ethnically homogenous homeland: the Hutus started killing off all
>> the Tutsis.
>In Maluku the Indonesians (who consider themselves far wiser than mere Hutus)
>are trying to accomplish the same kind of result through "transmigrasi," which
>is their euphemism for rank and shameless Javanese colonization of Moluccan
>lands.  They believe that Maluku will ultimately end up being ethnically
>homogenous Javanese.

Wily person aren't you. First you unbelievingly ask for examples for what I said, then, when I give you some, you conveniently forget what it was all about and merely pick up the theme for further wanton abuse. Reminds me of a tukang jual obat in Jakarta, selling plastic combs. First he extolls his ware saying of what strong and unbreakable material it is. then he flings it to the ground in demonstration of this. But it breaks in two. Without batting an eyebrow he picks it up and exlaims: "look, inside and outside all the same material, all genuine!"

>> Sukarno, incidentally was a half-Balinese.
>Does this explain everything at long last?

Well, I thought it might reconciliate you at least a bit, to know he wasn't one hundred percent Javanese.

>By the way, what gave him such a powerful libido, anyhow?  You know, he would
>have screwed one of my childhood sweethearts if she had let him, and she was a
>married lady!  Do you know that he actually attended church for awhile in
>order to screw a certain Menadonese?  Her parents, of course, were in complete
>agreement with his plan, and so in the end he met with success (the man seems
>to have had a truly golden touch).  I mean he actually did screw her, and she
>was probably a Christian virgin, but who knows about those Menadonese women.
>Then, when he tired of her, he ordered one of his cadres to marry here, and
>that was that.

Yup, and JFK allegedly got shot because a Mafia boss was jealous over his having had something with Marilyn Monroe.....

>And that ALL comes courtesy Jakarta manipulation, right?  I mean, if the
>Moluccas were truly free, do you honestly suppose that any kind of Ambonese
>supremacy could last for long?

if, if, if, if ....

>                               I would envision rather a rapid
>decentralization, with many new schools and universities springing up all over
>as people are given the freedom to move about, own their own property, and
>build their own schools.

That's nothing new. Uncountable people have envisioned such visions. Indonesians, Chinese, Indians, Mexicans, Columbians, Russians, ....

You just keep dreaming, boy (that's from Paul MacCartney, I think).

>I cannot agree.  Some scholars even trace the success of the American
>revolution to American Indian egalitarianism (in other words, white settlers
>learned an important part of it from the Injuns).  As a matter of fact, that
>very important English word, "caucus," is thought to be of Algonquian Indian

It is not a question of whether you or I agree. I don't like it either. But we can't replace reality by wishful thinking, whether we agree or not with the former. That "scholar", incidentally, was merely putting the cart before the horse. It was democratic character of middle class community and its economical interests which brought it into conflict with the despotic authoritarian rule of the British monarchy of the time. But such conflicts put people under stress, require great sacrifices from them, for which they seek spiritual strength from religion or various ideological symbols.

>  Rather than being worthless, traditional cultures are of the utmost
>importance in determining every aspect of our lives, and it is the
>discontinuity, or break in cultural continuity that throws people into
>lethargy and servitude.

Nobody denies that.

>                                                     Your same stupid
>Russians believed they could yank people out of their old cultures by the
>roots and so create their Communist utopian dream.

They were not MY Russians. They were also not stupid, leastways not more "stupid" than you. They merely liked to "envision" utopic dreams of egalitarian society being maintained under conditions of industrialisation (they called that "building communism", that's from "commune", were you have things "in common"). No privat enterprise, all "social"-like.

>                                 All they succeeded in
>doing was to get mega-millions of people killed, and to perpetrate
>incalculable suffering upon untold millions more.

You see? and we certainly don't want that to happen to the Moluccans as well, do we?

>There is no magical "process" through which nations must pass in order to
>reach century 21.

No, it's certainly not "magical", but a strenious path, and what's that "passing into the 21st century" hogwash got to do with it. There is no way around industrialization, whether in the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th or 21st century. But don't try selling that baloney about being able to industrialize without abondoning traditional egalitarianism. Formerly, that was just naive. Since we have seen where that got the Russians to, it now is simply criminal.

>Without Moluccan culture and Moluccan identity, Moluccans are
>nothing but more unwanted blacks.  This is why the annihilation of Moluccan
>culture, and the dispossession of Moluccans from their lands must be fought
>without compromise.

I could use your method and say "I envision that preservation of the great cultural wealth of all the peoples of Indonesia will get prime attention in the course of national reconstruction". I wouldn't be very original, because many, in a more powerful position to see to it that that happens have already said things like that. Do you see it happening? Well, I won't say that I don't see it happenning at all, because efforts are being made, only much too few, and detrimental activities are getting much too much free hand. What one certainly can't say, however, if one is honest and truely objective, is that "the Moluccan culture is being annihilated". The only place, where something near to this is happening, is in East Timor. Then there are several places, where special attention is indeed called for, e.g. with regard to Mentawai, some indigenous cultures in the interior of Kalimantan, in Tanimbar or Yamdena or thereabouts, and particularly in Irian Jaya. But it doesn't help to go verbally berserk.

It doesn't help anyone to fling abusive insults around and make exaggerated wild accusations. That's what radical extremists and terrorists do. Reality is bad enough without exaggerating. You only discredit a just cause, if you think you can only justify it by exaggerations. Do me a favour, no, do the Moluccans a favour, especially the young ones who are more easily impressed by such big talk, don't try lead them into another dead end like the RMS.


Joe gets the Last Word

* Correction: This should be "State of East Indonesia", not "Republic of East Indonesia" as I mistakenly called it.

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