Video message by Fia Hamid-Walker for the Dutch researchers that are taking part in the Dutch government-sponsored study on violence in Indonesia (1945-1949.) Her video message was shown during the Roundtable discussion that was held at NIOD, Amsterdam on Thursday, January 31, 2019. Fia talks about the political aspect of history education, the ongoing impact of colonial attitudes, and she questions the exclusion of critical voices, such as those of Francisca Pattipilohy and Jeffry Pondaag. (4 min. video):
Fia is an Javanese-Indonesian living in Melbourne and active as a political campaigner and international development practitioner and one of the signatories of the open letter that was sent to the Dutch government in November 2017.
“Hi there distinguished researchers,
Before I introduce myself, I would like to acknowledge that I’m standing here today on the stolen land on what always was and always will be the land of the Kulin Nations. I pay my respect to the elders past, present and emerging, as well as to all aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people in the wider community and beyond. Indigenous sovereignty has never been ceded in so-called Australia and I try to be mindful of this in everything I do.
My name is Fia Hamid-Walker. I’m an Indonesian-Australian and I am one of the signatories of the Open Letter tante Francisca Pattipilohy and bung Jeffry Pondaag initiated.
The truth is I’m not a Historian. I’m a political campaigner and an international development practitioner. I learnt the history of Dutch colonialism at schools when I was spending my formative years growing up in Surabaya. I was taught to remember the years, events and people for the sake of passing examinations, and not to critically comprehend the historical conditions given. Were the historical lessons in those classrooms made for the benefit of the Dutch government or the Indonesian government? I did not know and I will never know. We need more research on the politics of history education in schools, am I right?
And that is why your research into “the Independence, Decolonization, violence and war in Indonesia in 1945 to 1950” has attracted my attention… If I’m not a historian, why bother?
I give you an ‘I-perspective.’
Here is what most people forget about how it feels to be a postcolonial subject like myself. I did not experience how it was being under the Dutch colonialism nor was I part of the independence struggles in 1945-1949, but I do experience what it meant to be constantly expected to follow the footprints of colonialism, from how should I look to how should I value my success.
And as an international development practitioner… [I know] these colonial values are still pretty much well and alive. So that’s the nexus between myself and this research.
I cannot recall how I found out about your research, it was most likely from the social media. I have been living in Australia and I have supported the indigenous struggles for sovereignty. So when I heard about this research, I jumped out with excitement just because it is called “decolonization” and I think it’s about the time. But I guess I was wrong.
I couldn’t find anything substantial on your website regarding this project. How the research is going conducted, used, and for what purpose, who are involved, and so on. It has been very difficult for me to conclude the impartiality of this research if everyone involved in this research keep talking passing each other. You do not actually address the concerns most people are having. You claim that this research is going to be critical. But you have in fact excluded critical voices.Those of tante Francisca and bung Jeffry Pondaag from participating and contributing in the decision-making process that led to this project… Why? Inviting Bung Jeffry to speak for 10 minutes in one single event for the purpose of disseminating this research Is not considered participation or contribution. It is tokenization, one of the colonial characteristics…
Instead, you engage the “local” Indonesian researchers, who according to Frantz Fanon, they are the brown faces with white masks.They will do whatever to make their masters happy.
As historians I’m pretty sure you have heard the tactic of “divide et impera”. I adored this term when I first encountered it in the secondary school. It sounds so sexy and deadly. The only time I used this tactic was when I hate someone and wished them all the bad things in the world will struck them. I guess I have been internalizing a colonial tactic, subconsciously, but don’t you use the same tactic for this research too? What do you think?Thank you for your time to listen to my video question.”