Fitria Jelyta responds to the book publication of Anne-Lot Hoek
Instagram, November 27, 2021, By: Fitria Jelyta
[comment on video] “Nothing to see here. Just another white person capitalizing on systemic colonization by silencing the voices of the indigenous and colonized, because they don’t align with pro-colonial propaganda…”
When my family moved to the Netherlands and I went to high school, my Dutch history teacher taught me that indigenous people, and the people whose cultures are part of the Indonesian nationality did not matter. They did not matter as much as the Dutch economy or what the history books back then liked to call “de Nederlandse schatkist” (the Dutch treasury).
I tried to ask him about it during class. He was talking about how it thrived in “the Dutch colonies” because the Dutch brought economic activities to Nusantara. When I asked him about the indigenous people being segregated, humiliated and murdered by the Dutch, he just shrugged at me. That was part of history, but not an important one according to him, because back then colonization of other countries was normal. Nothing personal, just business as usual.
Now the 4 year study of “decolonization” initiated by the Dutch government is supposed to shed light upon Dutch colonial history between 1945-1950 (Indonesian independence included) as a whole. An initiative that could potentially lead to rewriting history books. You would think that indigenous voices are now finally being heard and their stories told. But think again.
Why now? Why all of a sudden do they decide to care about “the dark pages” of Dutch colonial history now when they had 75 fucking years to reflect upon it? They would say: because decolonization is a hot topic nowadays. Yeah, but how come?
They will never admit this, but the direct cause of this Dutch government funded study are the lawsuits of stichting K.U.K.B. led by Jeffry Pondaag against the Dutch state for the atrocities they committed upon the indigenous people that are now part of Indonesia. Jeffry Pondaag won a series of these lawsuits for the widows and relatives of Indonesian victims. The Dutch state actually had to pay from their “schatkist” to the people they oppressed to build their precious economy in the first place.
The same white researchers praised for their “reflective” abilities and for calling out the Dutch state for being oppressors are the same researchers that were hired to defend the Dutch government during the litigations of K.U.K.B., the only non profit organisation that represents indigenous voices of Indonesia. So excuse me while I sit here and eye roll at another Anne-Lot Hoek telling us just how evil the Dutch colonial state was (and still is). Bitch. Please.
Indonesian voices are still being silenced and cancelled in favour of the Dutch state or pro-Dutch narratives such as the ones told by the Indisch communities and some of the Moluccans who fought in the Dutch army against Indonesian freedom fighters. But people like Jeffry Pondaag, Francisca Pattipilohy, Ady Setyawan, Christa Soeters and Marjolein van Pagee will never cease the fight against colonialism, and for Indonesians to be heard. And neither will I.
If you’re interested in what Indonesians have to say about all this (as you should be if you rely upon truth), check out stichting K.U.K.B., Histori Bersama and Nusantara Kita and link in my bio for articles and live casts on the Dutch colonial history as told by Indonesians.
Fitria Jelyta is a freelance journalist and chair person of Histori Bersama