The Dutch government has officially apologized this week for its part during systematic and extreme violence. In Indonesia’s struggle for freedom against Dutch colonial rule in the years between 1945 until 1949.
The apology reverses the official Dutch government’s position following the state-sponsor inquiry that was conduct in the year 1969. This inquiry found the Dutch militaristic excesses during the Indonesian National Revolution were irregular and exceptional.
The Dutch government’s official apology upon Dutch as well as Indonesian historians who’s findings. Their work was finance with the help of the Dutch government through three Dutch research institutes.
The historians have concluded that Dutch leaders during the 1940s in the final years encouraged. Extreme violence through the promotion of impunity for military murderers. The atrocities they commit were largely not punish. Researchers took care to emphasize that their findings placed the blame entirely on individual soldiers.
However, Dutch soldiers personal records particularly amateur pictures hundreds of thousands. Which remain have for a long time contained evidence of the atrocities. They also document other types of violence that are been ignore or not yet received proper attention.
My research has proven that these photos of personal pictures weren’t like secret diary entries. Soldiers copied them and were able to share them. They were sometimes even utilize by military officials.
Photographs Play An Essential Role Of The Government Story
Photographs often the only documents kept by Dutch soldiers. They served as a record of the wartime experiences of soldiers that not include from official accounts.
The photos provide off-the-record evidence of atrocities like the execution. In a single day of Indonesian combatants as well as civilians.
They also offer views on the kind of violence the Dutch believed acceptable. Such as the punishment-based torching of villages, and the massive artillery fire at civilian targets.
These photos also frequently show the police patrols that took place during. Which Indonesians were detain arbitrarily or beaten, tortured and intimidate.
These photos were part of wartime memories that could kept from newspaper reporters. Dutch bureaucrats or even children of veterans however, they circulated around certain groups.
Their opacity as well as forgetting been part of a larger political and social phenomenon that is facilitated by the absence of an official commitment to address the war, or the long-term time span of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia.
Another Interpretation Of The Government Past
In the late 90s Dutch book of veterans used photographs of soldiers from the 1940s in order to demonstrate the mythology of military’s peace-keeping mission, not the start of a war.
general Simon Spoor, chief of staff of the Dutch colonial and national forces fighting Indonesia created the image of humane intervention. This was also the perception of hundreds of thousands of Dutch soldiers and volunteers enlisted as national troops beginning in 1946.
Their photos show disgust and dismay Indonesian civilians who suffer from malnutrition and illness. They blamed this on the lack of attention by the militant terrorists rather than the effects of the current Japanese occupation (1942between 1942 and 1945) or their own Dutch blockades that prevented food and water from reaching areas controlled by the Republican government.
the Real-Life Impact
Cameras of soldiers also documented the atrocities perpetrated by Indonesians. This is a complex and delicate subject which is evident by the recent debate over the use of bersiap to remember Indo-European victims of violence in the Rijksmuseum exhibition Revolusi!.
In Indonesia the recent community and artistic work to acknowledge the persecution by Chinese Indonesians during the Revolution rethinks the long-standing tradition of violence against ethnic groups and their problematic part in a conflict which was at times, about competing visions of a nation and the people who were to be include as it was about a struggle against colonialism.
My research suggests that Dutch soldiers’ photos pose questions about what was require to enable fragile Indonesian civilians to live through the war that follow after the severe deprivations during their Japanese occupation.
Indonesian women for instance were often employ as domestic workers and also serve as companions and sex to Dutch soldiers. The photos of soldiers usually portray a romance which, for women, was a means to make a living.
The records of soldiers reveal the dangers for women. They were likely to be consider a target of suspicion and contempt in a militarize environment, where sexual assault and rape often went without punishment.
Dutch soldiers photos, which a glimpse of Indonesians who are not consider in discussions about who is honored as a hero the perpetrator or victim in war memorials both in Indonesia and in the Netherlands as well as Indonesia.