Short video of the book presentation of ‘De strijd om Bali‘ (The struggle for Bali.) The book is written by Dutch historian Anne-Lot Hoek. Her research was partly funded by the Dutch government-sponsored investigation on 1945-1949 of which the results will be presented in February 2022. For 2 years she participated as researcher in this project.
At the book presentation of November 24, 2021, Harm Botje (editor of ‘Vrij Nederland’) interviewed Hoek about her motivation to start researching Dutch crimes on Bali. She declared that the court ruling of 2011, following the K.U.K.B.-law suits against the Dutch state, triggered her to learn more about what happened between 1945-1949. Hoek claims that Pondaag is “a very important person to her” whose legal attempts to fight the Dutch system were “an eyeopener” that helped her “to connect the dots”.
However, there is no contact between Hoek and Pondaag anymore. In the summer of 2020, she and editor Botje promised to write a feature story about him and get it published around August 17, Indonesian Independence Day. After that, Pondaag sent them several e-mails with information on how he experienced systematic exclusion by Dutch media and academics. In a phone call Anne-Lot explained to him that it was not exclusion that he experienced. She also started to lecture him about how to view the so-called ‘Bersiap’. Then Pondaag sent both of them an e-mail in which he wrote why he found it unacceptable to be lectured on issues like that. Soon after, editor Botje called him and said that the project was put ‘on hold’. The reason: they were ‘very busy’ writing books. Pondaag kept asking what they meant by ‘on hold’. Was it canceled? They eventually replied him that they decided not to publish anything.
But already back in 2016 the relationship got sour when Hoek published an article on a Dutch massacre in Rengat. She got the information from K.U.K.B. They provided her contact information too. Yet, for the publication in NRC-newspaper she refused to mention the name of the foundation because she said that if she did that, she would not get the article published.
Currently, Hoek’s book ‘the struggle for Bali’ is being published as one of the first results of the study that received 4.1 million euros from the Dutch government. When the 4-years-research-project was launched in 2017, Pondaag, together with Francisca Pattipilohy, wrote an open letter to the Dutch government to protest against the study. Although the Dutch researchers acknowledged that the law suits were important in putting the matter on the agenda again, they did not invite Pondaag to the kick-off of the research. Both Pondaag and Pattipilohy as initiators of the open letter, are being ignored. As participating researcher, Anne-Lot Hoek never publicly mentioned or commented on the open letter, let alone its content. In contrast to Pondaag, Pattipilohy and other critics of the study who have great difficulty in getting articles published, Hoek has full access to Dutch mainstream media. Like the other researchers of the study, she ignores these two Indonesian critics. So what does it mean when she says that Pondaag is such an important person to her?
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