During a torrential downpour on an Italian campsite after my wife and I
had set up a pup tent twenty -five years ago we sought shelter in the camp
restaurant and found ourselves seated with a Dutch couple -.a Lutheran
clergyman and his wife. We made the best of it and wine and conversation flowed
almost as freely as the rain. He was a former Chaplain to troops attempting to
reassert control of the Dutch East Indies and suppress the Republic of
Indonesia declared by the natives two days after the Japanese surrender to the
USA ad Britain in Tokyo Bay in August 1945. The Clergyman went out to as an
Imperialist and soon lost his faith in shouldering the White Man’s Burden. The first move in the struggle to re-establish Imperial control in the Dutch East Indies were the British, under the direction of Mountbatten, who played a similar role in French Indo-China, by giving Japanese troops the task of holding the place against the natives, pending the return of French forces who had been humiliated at home and in their Empire by the Germans and the Japanese..
King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands has been visiting Indonesia and has expressed regret for the conduct of Dutch military during the years 1945-1949, and “excessive violence on the part of the Dutch forces between 1945 and 1949.
“I do so” he said, ” in the full realisation that the pain and sorrow of the families affected continue to be felt today.”
Between 45,000 and 100,000 Indonesians were killed during the fighting, including more than 25,000 civilians, compared with 5,000 Dutch military fatalities.
The leader of the Indonesian independence movement , President Sukarno, was ousted in 1966 in coup orchestrated by a British diplomat which saw upwards of 500,000 ethnic Chinese murdered, much to his joy and that of at least one senior British Minister.
The murderous junta installed in 1966 remains in power today. It’s genesis will be the subject of another BLOG
Most of today’s BLOG is based on a news item in THE TIMES of Marc 11.