Statement Histori Bersama concerning Anne-Lot Hoek and her husband Ewout van der Kleij
On February the 25th, 2022 One World published the article ‘Wat kan Indonesië juridisch met Ruttes ‘diepe excuses’? (What Legal Steps Can Indonesia Take with Rutte’s ‘Sincere Apologies’?) The article is written by Fitria Jelyta, an Indonesian freelance journalist and chair person of Histori Bersama. On February the 26th, Dutch historian and journalist Anne-Lot Hoek e-mailed a complaint to the editorial staff of One World. According to her the article contains false information, as the introduction reads that ‘the researchers’ of the research project ‘Independence, decolonization, war and violence in Indonesia 1945-1950’ avoided the term ‘war crimes’.
As Hoek participated in the study, she is not happy with the implication that all researchers were on the same page regarding the terminology. She explains that she was critical of the project’s decision to avoid ‘war crimes’. As proof she refers to her book De Strijd om Bali (The Struggle For Bali) in which she did not avoid the terminology.
In her email to the editors of One World she accuses Jelyta of not being objective. According to her, Jelyta is not an independent journalist as she is chair of Histori Bersama, an organization that allegedly ‘attacked’ her.
Book publication November 2021
This goes back to November 2021 when we published a short video of Hoek’s book publication. In the accompanying text we drew a link between the book publication and her participation in the Dutch government-sponsored research. Although Hoek could not deny her participation, she was angry that we suggested that her Bali-research was partly financed by the research project. As a response she blocked HB-founder Marjolein van Pagee on Facebook and sent an angry email to Fitria Jelyta threatening her with legal steps. She also made sure that we were forced to remove the short video from our website.
In her e-mail to One World, Hoek also accused Jelyta for calling her “bitch”. It seems as if she wanted to warn the editors that Fitria Jelyta is unreliable as journalist, not to be trusted.
Hoek however, ignored the context in which this was said: an Instagram-story, not a formal publication. On social media it is quite common to use informal, popular language. In this case, Jelyta was frustrated about Dutch researchers glossing over the fact that the study was only financed to bring the K.U.K.B. court cases to an end. That is why Jelyta responded negatively on Hoek’s book presentation in which she referred to K.U.K.B. chairman Jeffry Pondaag as an important player, without explaining the link between the court cases and the research project.
Hoek ignored the open letter of Pondaag and Pattipilohy
In 2017 Hoek joined the research project. She did not leave the project after two Indonesians, Jeffry Pondaag and Francisca Pattipilohy, raised their concerns in an open letter. HB-founder Van Pagee supported the letter and published English and Indonesian translations. That is how Histori Bersama became the platform for the critics of the study. This project has been framed as a way to take responsibility, while in reality the Dutch State consistently rejected all legal claims that Indonesian war victims submitted through Pondaag’s KUKB organization.
In a private conversation with Van Pagee, Hoek once said that she, as participating researcher, felt uncomfortable by the critique. She also said that “of course” she could not openly criticize the project because she was part of it.
This is not true as she could have become one of the critics at that very moment. It rather means that Hoek at that time was not ready to become a whistleblower, which would endanger her position. Knowingly and willingly, she preferred to remain part of the research team and decided to ignore the letter, including the two Indonesians who wrote it.
OVT radio 1
In her complaint to One World, Hoek claims that Jelyta failed to mention her role as critic in a recent debate on Dutch national radio 1 (OVT). In other words, she considers Jelyta’s article inaccurate as she did not give her credits for criticizing fellow researchers. She basically concludes that, since Jelyta did not mention the discussion on the radio, she is not an objective and independent journalist.
The One World editorial staff defended Jelyta, and concluded that she reported fairly, correctly and truthfully. The editors did however, make a minor adjustment to the introduction. They replaced ‘researchers’ with ‘the research’.
Hoek’s husband attacks Jelyta behind her back
This was not the end of the story. A few days later, Jelyta received a call from a fellow journalist at de Kanttekening. He told her how Anne-Lot Hoek’s husband, Ewout van der Kleij, contacted him in an effort to “cancel” her.
Van der Kleij told him that Jelyta is not an objective and independent journalist. As the chair of Histori Bersama she was influenced by founder Marjolein van Pagee who is jealous of the success of his wife. Van der Kleij reduced it to a personal matter of envy and did not talk about the bigger picture and the reasons why the video of the book presentation was shared on Histori Bersama.
Van der Kleij also said that his wife never did anything wrong to them (Van Pagee and Jelyta). He thinks that Van Pagee convinced Jelyta that Anne-Lot Hoek needs to be destroyed. He even accuses both Jelyta and Van Pagee of sending hate-emails to his wife’s clients in order to destroy her career.
This is not true; we never did such thing. In fact, it is the other way around. Both Van der Kleij (by contacting Jelyta’s colleague) and Hoek (by sending emails to One World) are doing exactly what they accuse Jelyta of.
Hoek’s husband also referred to the Instagram post of Jelyta and that she said that Hoek was not allowed to do research in her country of origin, Indonesia. Van der Kleij claims that his wife was willing to talk to Jelyta (the truth is she threatened her and Histori Bersama with legal steps) but that she only wanted to talk when she could write about it for De Kanttekening. He also mentioned that Jelyta should not write about Indonesia anymore as she is not objective, he thinks that the chief editors of de Kanttekening should be aware of this.
Van der Kleij also assured that in case the editors of de Kanttekening were going to take measures against Jelyta, he and his wife would be willing to cooperate.
The true story can be verified with the e-mails between Anne-Lot Hoek, Fitria Jelyta, Marjolein van Pagee and the editors of One World. The screenshots of the intimidation campaign of Ewout van der Kleij, and his messages to the journalist at de Kanttekening, are in possession of Jelyta. We published a selection of the e-mails on our website.
Statement Histori Bersama
By contacting the media for which Jelyta works, both Anne-Lot Hoek and her husband Ewout van der Kleij have started a campaign of intimidation to silence Fitria Jelyta, a critical Indonesian voice in the Netherlands.
In their allegations the couple suggests that the postings of Histori Bersama, Jelyta and Van Pagee are personal attacks against Anne-Lot Hoek. This is not the case. We have published countless posts about other participating researchers too. Our only concern is the systematic racial exclusion of Indonesian critical voices in the Netherlands. We particularly care about the work of K.U.K.B. and Jeffry Pondaag, including the initiative of him and Francisca Pattipilohy to criticize the research project. By joining the project Hoek chose her position in 2017, she willingly contributed to an investigation that was financed by the Dutch government in order to stop the legal actions of K.U.K.B.
As Histori Bersama, we firmly condemn these actions of both Anne-Lot Hoek and her husband. Instead of reflecting on her own decision to join the Dutch government-sponsored investigation, for which she received salary, she rather harasses critical Indonesians. All those years she ignored the open letter from Pondaag and Pattipilohy, which contains extensive criticism on why this study is colonial and not independent. Given the fact that this letter and the initiators have been sidelined and ignored for more than 4 years, we find it inappropriate that Hoek now accuses Jelyta of ignoring her. Instead of mentioning the open letter, Hoek contributes to this silencing, and makes it even worse by turning the problem around, pretending that harm has been done to her. If she really cares about (racial) exclusion and truth, why didn’t she care about the harm that has been done to Pondaag and Pattipilohy and all the critics of the study? She only cries and complains when we, a small organization, highlight her actions and confront her with the consequences of her own choices.
To conclude: this is not a personal matter, the sidelining of Pondaag and Pattipilohy and their followers is a structural problem. The response and attitude of Anne-Lot Hoek and her husband are not exceptional. We see it as our responsibility to make you aware of what happens to critical Indonesian voices in the Netherlands.