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Things Indonesian [Aug. 4th, 2011|02:47 pm]
Hmm, I've been neglecting this blog, haven't I?

It's been a busy summer. A couple of weeks ago I was in the Netherlands, visiting my many first and second cousins. I managed to get a couple of hours in the military history museum in Delft and there are a couple hundred photos of armour porn from that excursion elsewhere on the web.

I also noticed the ubiquity of monuments to Dutch colonial history while I was there. Since I see that Clausewitz has a fair bit of Indonesian history on his bedtime reading list at the moment, I've put some photos up on my Flickr account.

Plaque, Gouda town hall

This plaque on the side of the town hall in my mother's hometown of Gouda commemorates the Dutch soldiers who fell in the struggle for order and peace in the Netherlands Indies. Whether the soldiers were the ones on the side of order and peace is perhaps a matter for debate.

Kris and pedang from Sumatra

These are the hilts of a very nice kris and pedang in the Dutch military history museum in Delft. There are some twenty other pictures of Indonesian weapons from the museum in the Flickr set.

Eduard Douwes Dekker

This is the statue of Multatuli, a.k.a. Eduard Douwes Dekker, in Amsterdam. He wrote Max Havelaar, a novel famous (though not in the English-speaking world) for exposing Dutch exploitation in Indonesia. It has been called the "novel that ended colonialism" around the world.

When I showed this picture to my father, he told me that Douwes Dekker's grand-niece had been my great-grandfather's housekeeper. When her uncle, Multatuli's son, died in 1930, she went to Nice, France, where he lived, to help tidy up his effects. There she found letters written by his father attempting to blackmail the Indonesian colonial authorities. He wanted them to give him money, or else he would publish Max Havelaar. I don't know if the letters ever made it into the archive of the Multatuli museum.

[User Picture]From: l_clausewitz
2011-08-05 06:05 pm (UTC)
Whether the soldiers were the ones on the side of order and peace is perhaps a matter for debate.

Unfortunately they often were--many of the pro-independence fighters were little more than bandits and looters jumping on the nationalist bandwagon. The new Indonesian government had quite a hard time putting them down after the peace treaty with the Dutch in 1949. Of course, this doesn't usually get into the school textbooks.
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