Friday, December 09, 2011

Indonesia / The Netherlands / Colonialism

Netherlands Apologises for 1947 Rawagede Massacre in Indonesia
Associated Press dispatch in The Guardian, December 9, 2011
"The Netherlands has apologised after six decades for a notorious massacre of up to 430 men and boys during Indonesia's bitter struggle for independence. Tjeerd de Zwaan, the Dutch ambassador to Indonesia, made the announcement in front hundreds of villagers in Rawagede, the scene of the killings on 9 December 1947 of hundreds of boys and young men by Dutch troops. The military, which was clinging on to a retreating colonial empire, arrived in Rawagede before dawn and opened fire, sending residents scattering from their homes in panic. The soldiers were looking for resistance leader Lukas Kustario, known for ambushing Dutch bases. When villagers said they didn't know where he was, nearly all the men were rounded up and taken to the fields. Squatting in rows, with both hands placed on the backs of their heads, they were shot one by one. The apology was given in a ceremony at the Rawagede Hero cemetery, where many of the victims were buried in a mass grave. 'Today, December 9, we remember the members of your families and those of your fellow villagers who died 64 years ago through the actions of the Dutch military,' said De Zwaan. 'On behalf of the Dutch government I apologise for the tragedy that took place.' The apology followed a landmark ruling earlier this year by a Dutch court in a case filed by nine surviving relatives that said the state was to blame. The relatives' lawyer, Liesbeth Zegveld, said the Netherlands would pay each of the nine relatives €20,000 in compensation. After the apology, the crowd erupted in cheers. Tears rolled down the cheeks of surviving widows, now in their late 80s and early 90s, some of whom had started to doubt they would ever hear the words. 'It makes me feel my struggle for justice was not useless,' said Cawi Binti Baisa, who was 20 when her husband of two years headed to the rice paddy in the morning never to return."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch]

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Its the dutch way to do bussiness .For the past few hundred years and in the future .Its only EU contry here Drugs and Prostitution (femele explotation ) its legal bussiness control by the guverment and inforce by police


Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ