THE NEW-COLONIALISM; DENOMINATED "INDONESIANS!"
An Address By: Teungku Hasan M. di Tiro
President Of Acheh/Sumatra National Liberation Front
Before UNPO General Assembly
The Hague, January 20, 1995
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen,
Each of us, member of UNPO, has a poignant story to tell. The sum total of our stories would make a collection of the world's saddest tragedies still being perpetrated by proxies of imperialistic Western governments upon us.
When I speak about what happened to my people, the people of Acheh/Sumatra, I do not mean to ignore tragedies that have been perpetrated also against yours peoples. We all have been subjects of distorted communications and outright lies by Western media, by Western business corporations, by directions of Western governments smugly calling themselves "democracies". The resulting distorted communications encouraged "strategic" forms of manipulations and misrepresentations that know no bounds which undermined genuine understanding of our problems and made the solution more difficult.
My country Acheh, on the island of Sumatra, was an internationally recognized independent sovereign state for thousands of years. On March 26, 1873, the Kingdom of the Netherlands made a Declaration of War against the Kingdom of
Acheh, and invaded my country!
That first European major colonial invasion was totally defeated by the defenders of
Acheh. That was the first major European colonial defeat in East Asia, as the TIMES of London described it.
The Netherlands was humiliated and so the second and subsequent invasions were mounted against
Acheh. That colonial war continued for another 70 years until the Netherlands withdrew from
Acheh, for the second and last time, in March, 1942, defeated. But the Netherlands has never signed a Peace Treaty with Acheh as she had declared the war. The final legal settlement of the conflict that had cost so much lives of the Achehnese people has never been reached between the two parties until today.
In January, 1993, during UNPO General Assembly, here in The Hague, I declared that I, as the Head of State of the Successor State to the Kingdom of
Acheh, was ready to sign a Peace Treaty with the Netherlands to end the legal State of War still existing between our two countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands replied to enquiries by the press that "the question of Acheh had been settled with the transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia in 1949."
This reply was legally not acceptable; historically wrong; morally dishonest. Because Acheh has nothing to do with Javanese "Indonesia". The Netherlands had declared war against the Kingdom of
Acheh, not against "indonesia" which did not exist in 1873; and "indonesia" still did not exist when the Netherlands was defeated and withdrew from Acheh in March, 1942. And when the Netherlands illegally transferred sovereignty to
"indonesia" on December 27, 1949, she had no presence in Acheh which was still free and independent from the Netherlands or from Javanese
And there was another relevant truth that was known to all Netherlanders, as documented by
Wekker, "our enemy, Acheh, is a native state, and our own soldiers consist of mercenaries from Java." To claim, as the Foreign Ministry did, to have settled the Acheh War with Javanese
"indonesia" was tantamount to saying that the Netherlands had settled the case of Acheh War with her own mercenaries, the Javanese.
"Therefore, Javanese "indonesia" is totally irrelevant to the case history of
Acheh-Netherlands' legal conflict that must be settled under the rules of International Law and Conventions for ending a war! But what kind of war it was that the Netherlads had waged against the people of Acheh for almost a century, with one-half of the population massacred, that the Government of the Netherlands now can disclaim any responsibility and dismissed the case so cavalierly?
The truth about this war was well-documented by the good people of the Netherlands themselves who wanted to put an end to that barbarism when there was time. Today I pay tribute to these stalwart Netherlanders who said the truth about Acheh War a century ago and I appeal to the silent majority of the decent people of the Netherlands to let us co-operate to settle this matter with justice. There is no permanent conflict of interest between the Netherlands and
I am indebted to the good members of the Netherlands' Parliament, de Tweede Kamer der
Staten-Generaal, who debated the conduct of the war in Acheh on November 5 and 6, 1907, in an attempt to stop the atrocities of the Netherlands' own army. I shall confine myself to merely quoting of what was said during that historic debates:
"It is very difficult for us to admit the fact that after thirty-four long years of war and working very hard to establish our power in
Acheh, we have failed. We can no longer cover-up the truth that we do not rule Acheh but we merely threaten it with our state terrorism. The time had long come for us to make amend.
"The resistance against us in Acheh has been going on for 35 years and this resistance is getting stronger by the days. I will not lie in this matter and I will tell the truth: the Achehnese who had been killed by us were mostly unarmed civilians without means to defend themselves! We have been engaged in exterminating a people of a country!
"The refusal to give protection to the captured has become a universal practice in Acheh among our military forces. When the village of Kuta Reh was occupied, all prisoners were shot dead: 313 men, 189 women, 59 children, 20 severely wounded women, 31 severely wounded children. Not a single prisoner was allowed to live."
"When the village of Kampong Likat was occupied, 220 prisoners were killed. Not one allowed to live.
"When the village of Kuto Lingat Baro was occupied, 344 men were killed. No prisoner was allowed to live. And there were more examples.
"These figures proved that in Acheh we were not waging a normal war but we were engaged in killing a nation!
"Now a barbaric condition is being established in Acheh under the shadow of the flag of the Netherlands. The dum-dum bullets that are forbidden to be used anywhere in the world are being officially permitted for use in
Acheh. People who were not in positions to defend themselves have been targeted. The wounded were killed. In Lingga region, women and children hiding in the pit under ground to save themselves from our bullets were killed like wild animals.
"Our officers used knives to cut signs of the cross on the chests or foreheads of Achehnese Muslim dead who fell to our hands. An eye-witness of this war of national extermination has testified that he had seen our soldiers made mincemeat out of Achehnese dead until nothing was left except patches of bloods and scattered human flesh. Prizes have been given for decapitation of Achehnese and there exist our officers who collect the decapitated heads of Achehnese he had killed.
"In Acheh thousands of people can have their peace only in the grave. We have come to North Sumatra to impose our culture with machine guns. There is no more apt titles for us than robbers and oppressors!
"With regard to head-hunting, a Member had just told us who are head-hunters in
Acheh. It was us, Dutchmen! I have in my possession a photograph showing feet of Achehnese children killed in one of our garrisons. Such activities did not cause any disgust amongst us!
"All of us who read the newspapers remember the propaganda which said that 'we made war on Acheh in order to end slavery, to stop robbery, to put an end to
men-stealings, and so forth. Today, we are the ones who make slavery in Acheh. We captured the Achehnese and forced them to do what we like.
"We, who used dum-dum bullets, who tortured, then murdered prisoners, who killed women and children, we have come to Acheh to refine coarse habits! We have come 'to bring the certainty of justice; to bring peace and
tranquility; to make development possible; to guarantee the prosperous future for the populations of these islands who have been put in our care by the will of the world community' (Note: The echo of these wicked arguments are still heard in Western and Jakarta media today!)
"An extraordinary officer from our Marechaussee Division has had the courage to write a series of articles in the newspaper 'De
Avondpost' of The Hague, with the headline 'How Civilized Netherlands in the Twentieth Century Created Peace and Order in
Acheh' ('Hoe Beschaafd Nederland in de Twintigste Eeuw Vrede en Orde Schept op
"He told us, among other things, how a Dutch officer had tied an Achehnese to the railroad tracks and then let a
locomotive to run over him.
"The officer characterized the actions of the Netherlands' army in Acheh as cruel, uncivilized, barbaric, and bestial. The war had been going on for 34 years and no one knew then when it would end (In fact it went for another 36 years with the Netherlands' withdrawal from Acheh in March, 1942).
"The officer asserted that if this war would be conducted according to the present policy it would last until 30X30 more years, i.e. 900 years and this war would end only with the killing of the last
"Has there been more unjust killings and cruelties in the history of Acheh than now? Has there ever been more houses burnt in Acheh than during this ethnic cleansing under the Netherlands' tricolor? Killings and massacres which we had perpetrated in Acheh were on a very large scale.
"I know I do not effect any change here in Parliament. But I believe that sooner or later the public will know what we have done in North Sumatra and there will be no Ministers, no Governors General, no Governors of Acheh can withstand the coming public condemnation on this!"
Mr.Chairman, ladies and gentlemen,
From this rostrum, I support the call of the honorable Members of Parliament for public condemnation of the colonial war in Acheh and for concluding a Peace Treaty between the Netherlands and Acheh according to International Law and Conventions!
"Indonesia is a nonsensical Javanese fabrication, being forced at gun points on all non-Javanese peoples of the Malay Archipelago; it was against all sciences, illegal and not accepted by the non-Javanese peoples who wanted to preserve their identities and their Rights to Self-Determination. But it has been supported by all European colonial powers because the Javanese scheme opened the door for re-colonization by them of 80% of Southeast Asia. In truth,
'indonesia' is a nation that never was!
The vary concept of "indonesia" is based, and predicated, on the denials of the Right of Self-Determination to the majority of the non-Javanese peoples of the Malay Archipelago. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right of Self-Determination "The effective exercise of a peoples Right to Self-Determination is an essential condition for the genuine existence of other human
rights and freedom." But in today's discussions about human rights in "indonesia" the right to self-determination has been totally ignored, thereby justifying javanese colonialism even more!
"Indonesia must be DERECOGNIZED first, confined only to the island of Java, that is to 7% of the territory of the former Dutch East Indies. The Right of Self-Determination must be restored to the peoples of the rest of 93% of the territory. Only then, after
DECOLONIZATION, Human Rights in "indonesia" can be
properly and meaningfully discussed. What must be discussed most urgently now is the Javanese naked wars of aggression, barbaric military occupations, and massacres of the non-Javanese peoples with total impunity by the Javanese military along the five-thousands kilometers of the equator, from
Acheh/Sumatra to West Papua, with East Timor and Moluccas in-between. These are the proper subjects for the Security Council to take action and not only to be relegated to the toothless Human Rights Commission.
The Western media, in collusion with Western governments, is responsible for these big lies of the 21st century: to deliberately represent Javanese invasions against countries thousands of kilometers away overseas from Java as mere "pacification" - reminiscence of "de politionele
actie" of bygone days; to call Javanese occupation of other peoples' countries as mere "pacification"; to name Javanese occupation troops as mere "security forces"; horrendous massacres of local population being reported as mere violations of human rights remediable by just a polite appeal to the Javanese occupiers; lynching of the innocents are elaborately reported as results of "judicial trials"; heroic peoples who defended their father-and-motherlands from Javanese aggressions being
labeled "insurgents", "separatists", "rebels", even "terrorists". "indonesia" is an illegal and immoral device to keep the administrative unity of the Dutch colonial empire, with area larger than the entire
EU, for Western exploitation while avoiding decolonization that would have required recognizing independence to the peoples of
Acheh/Sumatra, the Moluccas, West Papua, Borneo and the Celebes. But "indonesia" as the sole successor state to a colonial empire is also a colonial empire.
The island of Java, the power-base of the so-called republic of 'indonesia' represents only 7% of the territory of the Dutch East Indies. It is without resources. The other larger and richer islands represents 93% of the colonial territories.
Labeling the entire colonial empire as "indonesia" covered up Java's proxy role, and the Javanese
mercenaries could rule the other 93% of the extremely rich territories. This criminal arrangement, sponsored by the Netherlands and Western allies,
legitimized Javanese colonial rule over the non-Javanese peoples. This was what has been going on for the last 50 years under gun points of Javanese
As it happened, the Netherlands had turned all its colonial empire - as large as Europe from Portugal to Finland, - to its former mercenaries, the Javanese, and backing them up militarily, diplomatically, financially, and mobilizing Western media to make propaganda to gain international acceptance for the fraudulent new-colonial state "indonesia". Western press, businesses, universities, have been mobilized to manufacture "consent" about "indonesia".
To justify the illegal transfer of sovereignty to Javanese "indonesia", the Achehnese were denominated "indonesian"; the Moluccans were denominated "indonesians"; the Papuans were denominated "indonesians"; and so on ad infinitum, although they are actually in different parts of the globe. And being denominated "indonesians" means losing their rights over their lands and resources to the Javanese.
My country Acheh/Sumatra is one of the richest country on earth: the world's largest producer of natural gas; 1½ million barrels of petroleum per day; a major producer of timber, tin, platinum, gold, iron, rubber, coffee and what have you. As Acheh/Sumatra is rich, Java is poor and without resources.
As the wealth of Acheh/Sumatra is being put on Java's lines in the Western banks, as the consequent of the illegal transfer of sovereignty to "indonesia" by the Netherlands, Suharto has been using it as his collateral to borrow unlimited amount of money from them to buy arms for the purpose of killing us, the owners of the countries and resources to maintain Javanese "indonesian" colonialism over us.
Major benefits accrued to the West: the Western banks received interests for extending the loans; Western arms manufacturers got their old profits from colonialism, now done by proxy of the Javanese generals, and best of all for the Western powers, this newly evolved colonial system is bankable, businesslike, self-perpetuating, legalizing stolen countries and stolen properties, and "peaceful" - in the sense that the whole operations do not cost western lives, but plenty of native lives which are duly chronicled in the Western press as victims of Human Rights violations, rebellions, insurgencies, separatism, terrorism, tolerable low intensity wars, but not the victims of Western financed, equipped, trained, orchestrated invasions, aggressions, and new-colonialism!
The Western press has described "indonesia" as "investors' paradise". A courageous East Timor's demonstrator, whose people was the latest group to be "denominated 'indonesians" described the life in "indonesia" like in hell! And that was the truth!
Now Suharto has accumulated some 100 billion US Dollars debts from Western banks. With that money he had bought half of the German navy to guard the 'territorial integrity' of his colonial empire; he had hired the British Aero Space to patrol his air space that takes 7 hours flying time by jet planes to reach from one end to other; how these vast territories were acquired by the latest Swedish guns to mow down anyone demanding the Rights to Self-Determination from the colonial empire of Javanese "indonesia".
This was a stunning armament programmed for a state without identifiable external enemy. The identifiable enemy of "indonesia" is internal: its colonial subjects - the peoples it falsely claimed to be its very own, but in truth, oppressed, exploited, and enslaved for economic interests of Western investors!
Justice must begin with DE-RECOGNITION of "indonesia" and the recognition of the Rights to Self-Determination and independence of the peoples of Acheh/Sumatra, East Timor, West Papua, the Moluccas, Borneo and the Celebes, now!
The Western colonial powers responsible for setting up "indonesia" in the first place, have a moral, political, and legal obligations to effect an internationally supervised election there for the peoples to vote for their own forms of governance!
The campaign of lies and disinformation by Western media, businesses, and governments about "indonesia" must have been so blatantly effective that its geography, history, ethnology are no longer studied in Western universities that grown ups like Mr.Clinton, Mr.Keating, and other leaders of APEC countries could have flocked to Bogor - Suharto's version of Hitlers's Berchtesgaden - without shame and without embarrassment.