Raymond Westerling

May 21st, 2010, in News, Opinion, by

Captain Westerling, hero against Javanese imperialism or villain of its Dutch counterpart.


Hero or Villain - New Turk Westerling Movie

Having long had an interest in history, and having taken the time and trouble to read as much as I can of Indonesia's history since I came here (largely because, like most Brits/ Canadians/Americans, though not all Australians, I knew almost nothing of the country) I was fascinated to read the following article in the Jakarta Post Weekender.

Westerling's War

For many Indonesians, Captain Raymond Pierre Paul Westerling (31st August 1919 - 26th November 1987), nicknamed "the Turk", remains the most notorious Dutch military figure from the young republic’s war of independence. With a Dutch director now planning to make a film about Westerling’s rampage in South Sulawesi, a closer look reveals a multifaceted man who continues to symbolize a thorny episode in Indonesian–Dutch history. Lina Sidarto reports.

The name Westerling still evokes images of evil and inhumanity for most Indonesians raised on history textbooks that describe the violence committed by the Dutch officer against people in various parts of the archipelago.

In his memoirs, he described an act of terror designed to subdue groups that had been attacking European soldiers in North Sumatra.

[pullquote]"We planted a stake in the middle of the village and on it we impaled the head of a Terakan [half-Japanese, half-Chinese inhabitant]. Beneath it we nailed a polite warning to the members of his band that if they persisted in their evildoing, their heads would join his."[/pullquote]

Dutch director Martin Koolhoven believes Westerling is, of course, a very interesting person for a movie.

"There are still people now who adore him [in the Netherlands], while others see him as the personification of evil."

While many Dutch films have been made about World War II, Koolhoven is currently working on a script for the first movie highlighting the years just after 1945.

"It’s not a period in our history that we can be most proud of. It won’t be a biopic about Raymond Westerling, but a film about the men who served under him in Indonesia."

There's no need for me to publish the whole JP item which you can find for yourselves, but what it moves onto is possibly the most intriguing part of the Westerling story - just how much support did he really have among local people?

I wrote a novel which included a brief review of his role ("Westerling's Legacy", morfinybooks@yahoo.ca) several years ago, and my own researches then led me to conclude that his support was far from negligible. Not talking about Java but about the outer islands, where the present regime is still so terrified of calls for self-determination that they not long ago gave a guy a life sentence for waving an RMS flag. If it is purely a cause of elderly exiles, why the draconian panicky reaction?

Back to the article.

Westerling had a disdain for the authority of the Republic of Indonesia under Sukarno.

"The formation of a republic in Java … simply means replacing Dutch rule with Javanese rule. Out of these two, many prefer the Dutch."

He also had little respect for the various youth groups striving for independence, regarding them as “terrorist gangs” who plundered, raped and murdered innocent civilians.

In a matter of months, he had built up a reputation for successfully routing those who were branded rogue elements by the Dutch authorities, sometimes using unorthodox methods such as his purge of the Terakan. In the book "Westerling’s War", Dutch historian Jaap de Moor noted that by February 1946, British newspapers already carried stories about Westerling’s deeds.

"His fame as a fearless commando, a lone fighter for justice, was established."

Westerling saw himself as a savior of the weak.

"I couldn’t stand that one of the kindest and most pleasant people in the world were defenseless against the violence of the Javanese guerrillas and former collaborators, the militias who were trained by the Japanese in carrying out savagery."

So Westerling had no hostility towards those who would become Indonesians. And if we examine the facts of that time, we can't really challenge many of his assertions.

The reality of Javanese domination, which he predicted, has manifested itself, not solely because Java has many more people, but because they are used as colonialist vanguards in Sumatra, Papua, Aceh and elswhere, via the dictatorship's transmigration programme, which reformasi has not discontinued, much less reversed.

Lots of the Republic's men were sometime collaborators, and I've heard it said that Sukarno himself did little or nothing to resist the Japanese slave-labour system.

Like many Third World 'liberation' heroes, Sukarno was a little Mussolini who trampled democracy down when it obstructed his megalomaniac ambitions. The Red Youth were indeed a blood-thirsty crew who butchered many harmless Sumatran royals and I guess similar episodes can be found in other parts of the archipelago.

The end of empire here, and in the British realms, was not notably marked by free choice. Kenyans and Ghanaians protested at the departure of the British and their ethnic identities were ignored, as were those of the Barotse people in Zambia.

As for his methods, he was fighting terrorism, not a conventional war, and in the light of the craven character of Western countries today, there are many who might prefer a tough stand (I refer in particular to this week's report from UK, where a court blocked deportation for two known Al Qaeda scumbags, because, poor wee souls, their own police, in Pakistan, might 'torture' them. Might do them the world of good!

My last film review was spiked here, but I hope one day I'll get a chance to review this movie about a man who was no cardboard cut-out but a real hero - or villain, depending on your point of view!


59 Comments on “Raymond Westerling”

  1. avatar Gantz says:

    “Equally spurious is the strawman agrument that we have only been independent for 60 years, democracy for 12 or other countries are doing or not doing. All we are talking about is looking at Indonesia’s in total. Judgements after that will always be subjective.”

    And I’m saying that progress TAKES TIME…

    Ideally of course with the end of the New Order era, every crook, every corrupt official, every unjust laws, hell maybe everything… should just be erased and we start anew with a clean white sheet…

    but it doesn’t work that way does it..??

    Now if the dutch that has been a liberal democracy for 60+ years, her citizens living in relative prosperity and security, and a with an excellent free education provided by their government still cannot admit the sins and crimes they did 65 years ago, why would you expect that we could do so overnight..??

    Oh I can imagine the many atrocities our pemudas did during the revolutionary war… those that never made it to the history books, nor the novels, nor the movies… and i’m sure it’s not pretty or heroic… but they did it for OUR independence.. a worthy and noble goal… while those massacres by Westerling… u tell me what that’s for!

    Regarding the ‘Royals’…
    Oigal, I don’t care nor respect those so called ‘Royals’ and especially the sultan that supported that dog Westerling… Dutch queen’s ass kissers, they were mere collaborators that had enjoyed a good and privileged life under the dutch at the expense of the masses… so of course they preferred the status quo ante bellum.. and no wonder they were then destroyed by their own people…

    but to ease your longing for those royals… I am happy to say that they are all sprouting back these days… they even have some sort of ‘Nusantara Royal’s Society’ or something.. forgot the exact name.. but membership are already in the hundreds it seems.. 😉

    Also I’m actually very interested in this movie… I have always wondered how this so called liberal and open minded dutch view their war in Indonesia… can they finally accept that they were on the wrong side of history.. or can’t they..? I think this movie will provide a glimpse of what’s going on in their heads regarding this matter… very interesting indeed..

  2. avatar madrotter says:

    hmmmh…

    seeing how much money the dutch people send after the tsunami, looking at how many projects for the poor, the orphans, the handicapped in indonesia are being sponsored with dutch money i think some of ’em do….

  3. avatar Oigal says:

    And I’m saying that progress TAKES TIME…

    Ideally of course with the end of the New Order era, every crook, every corrupt official, every unjust laws, hell maybe everything… should just be erased and we start anew with a clean white sheet…

    Is it me?? Am I being that vague??

    No one is saying anything about allocating blame (except for the neo nationalists perhaps). As Timdog point out much more concisely than I. It’s about the accuracy of history nothing more nothing less.

    but to ease your longing for those royals… I am happy to say that they are all sprouting back these days… they even have some sort of ‘Nusantara Royal’s Society’ or something..

    This proves the point, who said anything about a “longing” for the royals thats just rubbish. I do have a longing for knowledge and make no apologies for that and if that upsets those who relish ignorance and cliche’ history mores the better.

    As for the movie, perhaps they could make it a double feature with the Balibo Five. I would love to go.

  4. avatar Odinius says:

    Gantz said:

    Now if the dutch that has been a liberal democracy for 60+ years, her citizens living in relative prosperity and security, and a with an excellent free education provided by their government still cannot admit the sins and crimes they did 65 years ago, why would you expect that we could do so overnight..??

    Sure Indonesia’s not special in this regard, but I think the lesson there is that it’s embarrassing in both cases, not that it’s okay in either.

    Why is Indonesia still banning books related to G30S?

  5. avatar ET says:

    “Today’s reactions to Dyer’s deed are of course uniformly damning … but if the Amritsar district, Punjab region or southern India generally had carried on in revolt, many more than 379 people would have lost their lives.”

    Am I dreaming or is this an apology of terrorism?
    If my interpretation of this statement is correct then massacring unarmed defenceless civilians, no matter what colour or creed, could be considered a prophylactic measure to avoid eventual loss of life in an undetermined future. Just like chopping off the hands of a few thousand natives would ensure the rest of the populace suddenly becomes industrious.

    Statements like the one quoted above definitely deserve to be printed on toilet paper.

  6. avatar timdog says:

    ET – we really do agree on rather a lot, so long as we don’t mention… um, that thing that I won’t mention… 😉

    Yes, you’re spot on.
    After deliberately and without warning massacring hundreds of unarmed civilians in an enclosed space (and thereby apparently saving us all from the horror of brown folk running amok) Dyer did some other nice stuff in Amritsar too.
    He had his men go and piss in the drinking wells on the street where the precious white woman got dragged off her bicycle, and put guards on duty to make sure that every Indian passing the spot had to crawl on his belly and lick the ground (to make all this even more rib-ticklingly funny, the unfortunate woman had actually been rescued and sheltered by the residents of the street in question; her attackers came from elsewhere). Any Indian in town who failed cringingly to salaam to a white man – any white man – was subjected to ritual humiliation too.
    Patriotic hero, eh, Mister Ross? Worth his weight in gold; don’t make ’em like that any more do they?

  7. avatar Odinius says:

    How dare those savages not realize that their massacre is in their best interests?!

  8. avatar Ross says:

    No, I don’t approve of the TimTim outrages, and for the simple reason that RI had no business being there.
    Better the Portuguese had never left, and it is notable that the options they were finally given precluded any chance to return to Portugal, which had never been especially cruel and had no real opposition apart from a handful of ‘intellectuals.’
    Many of whom, of course, were ardent marxists, which is why the lefty junta that ran Portugal at the time handed Timor over to them. Portugal Asian empire was not lost through mass revolt but from aggression (Goa, where India allowed no referendum) force majeure (Macao, where the massive might of Red China gave very little option)) and the unique circumstances of Timor.

    I’m glad you support the unfettered right to review and debate history, Timdog/ Some of your allies in this thread seemed quite happy to have David irving locked up.

    But please stop playing the racist card with these references to ‘brown people.’ it doesn’t work well when your opponents are known to be pro-‘brown in most every aspect of their lives. Atrocities in India were committed against brown, white and presumably other shades. The exact details are colour-blind.

    Oya, Roberts is quite a good, readable historian. Max Lane, as you say, could make a night on Jaksa as dry as dust.

  9. avatar Odinius says:

    By “lefty junta” do you mean “first democratically elected government of the post-fascist period, which abided by the rules and procedures of democracy and left office when voted out?”

  10. avatar timdog says:

    So Ross, let me get this straight – mass slaughter of unarmed civilians is not in any way OK if you , Ross, happen not to agree with the wider political context in which such a massacre happens (regardless of the fact that the people involved – Indonesian soldiers in Timor, for example – would most certainly have been labouring under the impression that they were “doing their duty”).
    If, however, you happen to agree with the wider political context (the mighty Anglo-Saxon Empire, stiff upper lips, is-there-honey-still-for-tea? what-these-people-need-is-a-sound-thrashing), then opening fire on a crowd of unarmed village plgrims in an enclosed space can be defended as “doing your duty”?

    If this is the case, Ross, then you’re being patently absurd.
    I suspect it may not actually be the case though. What I think probably happened is this – you didn’t really know anything about the Amritsar Massacre, other than that it was often held up as a prime example of colonial bad behaviour, which gave you an innate predisposition to suspect that maybe it was a good thing, but then you recently came across a rather wacky reinterpretation of it in a book by a low-brow (nothing wrong with being lowbrow) presenter of historical material (not quite the same thing as being a “historian”, but give him his due, he does entertaining radio programs and I’m sure his books are in the same mould).
    Roberts clearly knew next to nothing about the Amritsar Massacre himself (like, where in India it actually happened), had certainly never looked at contemporary accounts, archive materials, detailed accademic assesments of the contexts and consequences (all the stuff that real historians do), but, doubtless in rather fine style presented his own radical take on it, conveniently brushing asside the fact that the people Dyer slaughtered were not amok-running rioters but non-rioting civilians, including women and children, trapped and with nowhere to run, and neglecting to mention all those other gentlemanly Anglo-Saxon things Dyer did (pissing in the wells, having Indians lick the ground etc).

    Now, having “learnt” about the massacre from this one highly dubious source, your inherent tendencies meant that you were now prepared to dismiss 90 years of real scholarship, not to mention the mass of documentary evidence surrounding the event, as “myth” (what did you actually mean by that Ross? That it didn’t really happen? That they had it coming to them?). This is just silly.

    Leaving asside the question of why you think that RI had “no business” being in Timor but presumably feel that the British had every right to be in the Punjab, I would just point out the absurd hypocracy of your position: the troops who opened fire at Santa Cruz in 1991, without doubt, were acting under orders and felt they were doing their duty to their country, a position they no doubt held with utmost sincerity. When Dyer ordered his men to fire low into the body of a huge crowd of unarmed, non-demonstrating civilians he clearly harboured simlar sentiments.
    Why then is the one defensible as “patriotic duty” and the other not? (clue – the answer is, um, actually they are both exactly the same and neither is more or less defensible).

    I think you need to rethink your position Ross, unless you’re happy for the following to be true:
    Ross thinks that warcrimes, attrocities and the mass slaughter of unarmed civilians is fine, good even, if he happens to believe that the general reasons for those who committed such horrors being in the country are valid. Are you sure that’s a position you’re willing to take Ross?

  11. avatar Dirk says:

    The real hero was Poncke Princen.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poncke_Princen

    Read that !

  12. avatar Oigal says:

    Better the Portuguese had never left,

    Ross, you have obviously never seen what the Portuguese did (or perhaps never did) in TL. Of all the colonial/s the ports really did represent the rape, rob and plunder and leave nothing behind mob. These were not nice guys in any shape or form. Unlike the brits and to a lessor degree the bolanders they never even pretended to bring anything of value to the local people.

  13. avatar Oigal says:

    Just for controversy sake. Personally, it was extermely logical for East Timor to remain part of Indonesia. Assuming of course, you accept the notion that post colonial boundries rather than ethnic/traditonal boundries are justification for the creation of a nation state.

    It’s unlikely LT will ever be a fully functioning nation without massive on-ongoing external support and aid. However, Indonesia itself by acting in the very worst traditions of colonisation ensured that was never going to happen (some lessons are better off not learned perhaps). Unfortunately, it would appear that even the appalling example of TL continues to this day in varying degrees.

  14. avatar Odinius says:

    There’s three reasons LT left:

    1. It had declared independence and its independence had already been recognized by its ex-colonial power when Indonesia invaded.

    2. Indonesia used excessive violence in its occupation of LT, particularly during the first 6 years.

    3. There was a vote, and 70% wanted to leave.

  15. avatar Oigal says:

    There was a vote, and 70% wanted to leave.

    and its sad that had to happen, in the long term bad for TL and bad for Indonesia. Not saying any way it was ever going to be avoided thanks to point 2 from Ody.

  16. avatar Ross says:

    No, timdog, you are not on track, in that I heard a guy on BBC years ago, debating Amritsar, and he made the point that it was the local Indian leaders who went out of their way to thank Dyer for restoring order, after not just a case of a lady being terrorised but several Brits killed by mob action, and of course Indians too unable to go about their lawful business due to the street violence.
    So I figured it was a case in point of the rights and wrongs of historical writings and records being open to debate.

    I see you claim to be a scholar of Indian affairs – and I don’t say that sarcastically – and you have obviously been rooting out lots of arguments from various sources, so you may well be correct and Roberts wrong.
    It’s no disgrace to admit such a possibility; self-doubt is not a vice but rather sometimes a virtue, tho it is seldom evident on IM.
    I tend to think our imperial forebears whom you mock so condescendingly did a very good job wherever they went, and certainly I’m proud of my children’s ancestors, in Canada and Australia, who turned wildernesses into fine modern countries (tho I hope the current crew of PC establishments don’t multi-cult them back into barbarism.)

    As for Portugal, they were supremely non-racist empire-rulers, only seeking to assimilate everyone into Lusitanians of whatever colour. But I can debate that another day, as I have better fish to fry this arvo.

  17. avatar Ross says:

    While I’m frying some eggs -prior to departing for fish-frying elsewhere, I can take another few mins on Portugal.
    I recall back when South Africa was being berated for insisting that Bantu kids were educated in their own tribal lingos, thus cutting them off from outside influence, allegedly. The same circles who railed against SA also railed against Portugal, for schooling their young African subjects in Portuguese, rather than their own languages, thus cutting them off from their cultural roots. Can’t win, these wily occidentals.

    Penguin published an African Series in the 60s which i read avidly, until I learned that much of it was written by former or current active Communists. So in order to get the truth, which was clearly not going to be available from Reds, I spent some time delving.
    Frelimo, in Mozambique, and its counterpart in Angola, took power and held it for years without any pretence of free elections, not until the evil empire’s collapse propelled them into a more realsitic attitude did the opposition get a fighting chance.

    Much the same in TimTim, where Fretilin was openly communist apart, maybe, from its embryonic days. Fretilin’s regime was hardly a model of either democratic practice or good government.
    Reading a variety of material, it would seem the monarchists would have had a good chance had the reds not held control of all the propaganda media.

    A better solution to the country’s probs would have been to unite it with its kin in West Timor, and the tribal kings did have talks on this subject. Given its share of the undersea resources, it could be a wealthy nation, same as Papua could be, if it were on its own.

  18. avatar Odinius says:

    Oigal said:

    and its sad that had to happen, in the long term bad for TL and bad for Indonesia. Not saying any way it was ever going to be avoided thanks to point 2 from Ody.

    I’m not sure why it’s so bad for Timor Leste. Is West Timor really all that modern and sleek in comparison? Kupang isn’t exactly Surabaya. Of course, it’s true that independence is no panacea either.

  19. avatar shorty says:

    you cannot judge/evaluate past events by todays’ values. in reality, it’s probably egotistical to try. i/we/youweren’t there.

    besides, the true historian records without judgement.

    westerling, the dutch and the emerging ri freedom fighters fought their war according to the values and aspirations of the day.

    events in other colonial jurisdictions are irrelevant. even if you establish a pattern, modus opperandi, whatever….so what? colonialism is dead.

    back to the main topic – a westerling film – i hope they’ve deep pockets. it wil probably be banned in ri, and outside holland who’s heard of him?

  20. avatar alistair cordon says:

    Well I think he’s a villain.

    How could he say he’s against Javanese imperialism and ended up massacring people in South Sulawesi, Tarakan, etc? Including in Java of course.

    As for the youths who ended up butchering the sumatran royals during the “social revolution” hmmm….do they have a good reason for hating the royals? I’m sure the french people had a good reason sending so many nobles to the guillotine.

    Did Sukarno collaborated with Japan? Yes. Why not? I doubt he felt any loyalty toward the Dutch. Hell, I’d do that too. As for the slave labor, I wonder how much he knew about it or if he thought it was a necessary evil.

    Out of these three movies, “The Year of Living Dangerously” , “Balibo” and this move about Westerling, I only disagree on the banning of the first one. Don’t mistake me, I think ALL movies are propaganda.

    Movies show only what the director or producer want us to see. The difference is, some are more subtle about their propaganda than the rest 🙂

  21. avatar Odinius says:

    I agree with you on Westerling, alistair, but I don’t agree on film banning. Why should the state have the right to monopolize the “truth?”

  22. avatar Ross says:

    French people killing nobles? The French Terror was not a democratic phenomenon, but a small elite of radical extremists, who were soon devoured by their own evil; the instincts of France were monarchist for at least a hundred years thereafter, although the exact form of their monarchy varied thru Bourbon, Orleanist and Bonapartist models.
    I haven’t found any sign of Sumatran royals having done anything dreadful. They were murdered as an exercise in class-hatred.
    And Sukarno unaware of the Japanese use of his fellow-countrymen and women as slave labour…unlikely, to say the least.
    Can’t see why any of the 3 movies mentioned should be banned. Though I’ve only seen TYOLD and Balibo.

  23. avatar surya says:

    George McTurnan Kahin’s Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia, especially pp.454-5 provide a terrific reading on the matter. Even KNIL officers despised him 😀

  24. avatar Luke says:

    Does anybody know where I can get a copy of Jaap de Moor’s book “Westerling’s oorlog”?

  25. avatar Torkis says:

    I agree with alistair. Yup, how come this Westerling Kompeni said he waged war against javanese while he massacred non javanese people? that just not make any sense, btw, i have watched the film i downloaded from torrent and you know what? my statement above confirmed the irrationality. I’m still preparing my full critics about this film. just wait till i finished.

  26. avatar Chris says:

    There are some large articles about Raymond Westerling in the current edition of Tempo magazine. Here are some of the titles (in the English edition):

    Westerling: Executioner and Prince of Justice

    Was Westerling Backed by Kartosoewirjo in Bandung?

    Getting Westerling to an International Tribunal

    Unfortunately, the Tempo website doesn’t have the articles online, so you’ll have to go to your local Periplus bookshop to pick up a copy for Rp30 000.

  27. avatar Arie Brand says:

    from the blog Sejarah Kita 16 dec 2006:

    Ada sebuah surat tertanggal 13 April 1977, ditandatangani oleh Let.Kol Dr M.Natsir Said SH selaku ketua Team Penelitian Sejarah Perjoangan SULSERA Kodam XIV (alamat jalan WR Supratman no.2 Ujung Pandang), yang bekerja sama dengan Universitas Hasanudin dan IKIP Ujung Pandang. Isinya berupa jawaban atas surat terdahulu tertanggal 8 Maret 1977 dari RPP Westerling yang meminta keterangan mengenai angka 40.000 korban Westerling di Sulawesi Selatan pada ahir tahun 1946.

    Dijelaskan oleh Let.Kol Natsir bahwa angka 40.000 muncul pertama kali setelah aksi polisionil pertama di Jawa. Angka ini dinyatakan oleh Kahar Muzakar (selaku komandan dari TRI Persiapan Sulawesi), KS Masud, Muhammadong, M.saleh Lahade dan perwira lainnya dari Sulawesi selatan beserta para perwira dari Markas Besar tentara Republik Indonesia. Dan inilah yang dilaporkan kepada Presiden Soekarno. Let.Kol Natsir juga menjelaskan bahwa dari data-data yang didapatkannya dari Onderafdeling Jeneponto, tercatat korban yang mati antara tahun 1945 – 1950 adalah sebesar 565 orang. Dimana 256 diantaranya berasal dari periode bulan Desember 1946 sampai Februari 1947.

    Apakah surat ini benar ?. Adakah surat dimaksud mendapat persetujuan dari Masyarakat Sejarawan Indonesia pada masa lalu dan sekarang ?. Rasanya ini perlu dikaji ulang kembali, khususnya berkaitan dengan 60 th peringatan “Korban Keganasan westerling di Sulawesi Selatan” Foto atas : Peringatan 1 tahun korban Westerling tanggal 11 Desember 1947 di Kepatihan Yogyakarta.

    POSTED BY RUSHDY HOESEIN

  28. avatar Arie Brand says:

    Rushdy Hoesein asked whether this letter by the Indonesian war historian Lt.Col. Dr.M.Natsir Said to Raymond Westerling is authentic. Here one can find an alleged copy of this letter, which is written in flawless Dutch. It couldn’t be copied for some reason:

    http://gdb.bloggertje.nl/note/14110/kapitein-westerling-en-de-fabel-van.html

  29. avatar Arie Brand says:

    Here is a translation of some of the crucial passages in this Natsir letter:
    “The first public statement concerning the 40,000 victims in South Sulawesi was made directly after the first politional action in Java …

    At that time a wagon with 40 soldiers of the TRI fell into a river between Jombang and Surabaya – this made 40 victims. The Republican side protested violently at the UN about the cruelty of the Dutch armies that had lured the TRI soldiers into an ambush. Kahar Muzakkar was of the opinion that people should not make such a fuss about these 40 victims of a train accident while in South Sulawesi 4,000 or perhaps 40,000 people were killed by the Dutch army. He reported this last case to the late President Sukarno who was very moved by listening to his account. From that moment this number of “korban 40,000” was always used in the speeches of Indonesian leaders to boost the morale of their own troops and to generate sympathy abroad.

    After further research in the subdivision Jeneponto I obtained a list with (the names of) 565 victims in the period 1945-50 of which 256 in the period from December 1946 to February 1947. I could but establish that most of these victims fell at the hands of the “Barisan Poke”- a crowd organized by the Dutch army and under guidance of local aristocrats. This was also the case with our legendary heroine Emmy Saelan who belonged to the guerilla warriors in the environment of Makassar who came to her end in the kampong Kassi-Kassi.

    I am convinced that this was also the case in other parts of South Sulawesi so that, in my opinion, the (number of) 40,000 victims that the special KNIL units under your command have been saddled with is, on the one hand, exaggerated and, on the other, not all made by this KNIL unit …

    (The writer then urgently requests Westerling to cooperate with his historical research and goes on to say:)

    This correction of historical data can, in my opinion, only lead to a diminution of the guilt of the KNIL and the erstwhile Netherlands East indies administration.”

    Signed by Let. Col.Dr. M.Natsir Said, SH, Cooperative Historical Research of the Armed Forces Head Quarters Kodam XIV/HN, University Hasanuddin and IKIP-Ujung Pandang.

    The same officer is quoted in the Dutch language edition of Wikipedia as saying: “Each military man knows that in a state of war people are shot on the spot. That is normal. Such executions were not only performed by Westerling but also on our side. We shot quite a few spies of the Dutch after an inquiry on the spot. We surrounded such a desa and when the people said : “He is a mata-mata, a spy of the KNIL …to the tree”.

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