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Michael van Zeijl found proof that Indonesia paid too much

During the roundtable discussion at NIOD Michael van Zeijl presented proof of the Indonesian payments to the Netherlands. He found documents at the Dutch National Archives that shows that Indonesia indeed paid a large part of this amount. And even worse, apparently the calculation of the 4.5 billion was just a wild guess, way too high, which means that Indonesia in fact paid for the costs of the colonial war that was launched to destroy them. (Remember that the Dutch government initially even dared to ask for 6.5 billion guilders, which was rejected at the RTC.) In 1956 when Indonesia realized that they were in fact paying for the colonial war, they nationalized all Dutch companies in response, as a way to get their money back. This in contrast to the common belief that the Indonesian nationalization of Dutch companies was mainly rooted in the frustration about the Dutch claim on West-Papua.

It is important to highlight that this highly sensitive discovery has been made by an activist: Van Zeijl is not an academic, he searched the archives in his own free time. Hence, what does this say about the competence of the researchers who are now spending 4.1 million Euros taxpayers money on a study on ‘extreme violence’? How come that the issue of the payments has long remaind vague and unclear? Upon asking the researchers said that the issue of the payments was not a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. They even suggested that Van Zeijl’s findings were just about his personal opinion. As if there are several answers possible. But there is only one answer that covers the truth.

Apart from the Dutch fraud (asking way too much money, presenting it as the pre-war debts of the colonial regime) that has now been proven by archival documents, it is, of course, unnacceptable that the former colonized had to pay the colonizers. Japan as former colonizer of Indonesia was forced to pay reparations, Germany as well had to pay compensations to the victims of WWII. Why in the Dutch-Indonesian case was the victim forced to pay the oppressor? How come the oppressor got away with this until today?