HOW CIVILIZED NETHERLANDS CREATED PEACE AND ORDER IN ACHEH IN THE 20TH CENTURY

 

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BOOK REVIEW:

By: Dr. Teungku Hasan di Tiro

 

"HOW CIVILIZED NETHERLANDS CREATED PEACE AND ORDER IN ACHEH IN THE 20TH CENTURY"

BY: WEKKER (EX:-OFFICER OF THE ARMY OF NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES) PUBLISHED BY DE AVONDPOST, THE HAGUE, 1907, 160PP.

 

("HOE BESCHAAD NEDERLAND IN DE TWIN-TIGSTE EEUW VREDE EN ORDE SCHEPT OP ATJEH",

DOOR WEKKER (OUD-MARÉCHAUSSÉE-OFFICIER VAN HET NEDERLANDSCH OOST-INDISCH LEGER), DE AVONDPOST, DEN HAAG, 1907, 160P)

 

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Reviewer's Introduction.

 

 

The publication of Amnesty International's SHOCK THERAPY: RESTORING ORDER IN ACHEH, 1989-1993, which described and documented the atrocities committed by the Javanese invaders against the people of Acheh, led this reviewer to seek precedent and if possible, explanation to such behavior.

 

The Javanese, now masking themselves as "Indonesians" to justify their colonial rule over other peoples and countries, had been used since 15th century as source of cheap local mercenaries by the Dutch to avoid bringing soldiers from Europe that entailed higher cost. Over the centuries Java had developed its mercenary culture - a group of population has become hired professional killers. Suharto, Murdani, et al, are archetypical descendants of these mercenaries.

 

What happened in Acheh during Holland-Acheh war (1873-1942) fought for Holland largely by Javanese mercenaries, was described and documented in HOW CIVILIZED NETHERLANDS CREATED PEACE AND ORDER IN ACHEH.IN THE 20TH CENTURY, published in 1907.

 

Despite it was published 87 years ago, the gruesome tales it was telling may yet give some clues to the present situation. At some points the pages of Amnesty's SHOCK THERAPY seems to have been lifted right from the pages of HOW CIVILIZED NETHERLANDS CREATED PEACE AND ORDER IN ACHEH. The similarities between strategy and tactics used in Acheh by the Dutch before and by the Javanese now is overwhelming as to suggest continuity rather than disruption!

 

After colonizing Java for some 300 years, the Netherlands formally declared war on the independent Kingdom of Acheh on March 26, 1873, and invaded the country with the biggest European force ever assembled in Southeast Asia up to that time in history, numbered 10,000 men, under command of general Kohler.

 

On April 23, 1873, that force was completely defeated by the Achehnese defenders and general Kohler himself was among the dead. As the result the Dutch withdrew from Acheh to Java and prepared for the second invasion.

 

The second invasion took place on Christmas Day, 1873, with much larger force under command of general Van Swieten who was called from retirement to lead the second invasion of Acheh betraying Dutch succeeded in capturing the Citadel of Acheh - Kuta Radja - by the end of January, 1874. The Dutch thought that after they took the palace, all resistance would cease, as happened in the rest of the Malay Archipelago. They thought the fall of Acheh's Citadel was the beginning of the end of Acheh War.

 

What actually happened was, that was the beginning of the "One-Hundred Yeas War of Today" as American Harper's Magazin wrote in its famous article.

 

The Dutc was about going to know the big difference between Acheh and Java. In Java, when palace of the kings fell, resistance collapsed. In Acheh, the capture of the palace does not end the resistance. To end resistance in Acheh, the Dutch would have to occupy the whole country which is twice as large as the Netherlands.

 

The writer of this book was an officer in the Netherlands East Indian Army who served in Acheh and witnessed all the atrocities committed by the Dutch military there which he characterized as cruel, uncivilized, barbaric, and bestial.

 

The Dutch were finally defeated in Acheh by the Achehnese and withdrew for the second time from Acheh in March 1942, 35 years after the publication of this book and 69 years after the Declaration of war on Acheh. And never to come back again.

 

 

SUMMARY OF THE BOOK

 

The war has been going on without stopping in Acheh since 1873. We are now in 1907 - the date of publication of this book. That is a period of 34 years. And no one can tell here when this war will come to an end.

 

For decades what was called our "policy of enlightenment" in Acheh consisted of massacring innocent civilians, men, women, children and old men, and burning of whole villages.

 

Only finally it did occurred to us that Achehnese are also human beings like us. There are feelings also in their hearts. Wives who waited for their husbands to come home; mothers who waited for their sons to return; but none arrived because we had killed them. Those who returned only to see their homes had been reduced to ashes. All these have nurtured the feelings of anger in the hearts of Achehnese towards us Dutchmen.

 

Books about Acheh could be divided into two categories: those which contain "official truths" and those which contain "unofficial truths". The official truths we heard from the mouths of Ministers, and from other government officials. Unofficial truths we heard from words of mouths, and from newspapers.

 

It has become very obvious that we have been walking on the wrong path in Acheh. Our wrong politics and wrong economics will cause incalculable disasters. If this war will be conducted according to the present policy it will last 30X30 years more with continuous lost of money, energy, and blood. And this war will end with the killing of the last Achehnese.

 

Dutchmen, wake up from your slumber!

 

You have listened to the "official truths" for too long without proof of their veracity. Lend your ears now to someone who had lived in Acheh for years and in the position to know the truth about our position there.

 

The truth about our position in Acheh is that we have no power there! The acts of cruelty have been perpetrated there to cover our own powerlessness. And we have duped ourselves into thinking that we could conquer the Achehnese by acts cruelty.

 

This land is populated by young men and young women whose fathers we have killed and wanted to retaliate against us; by widows who want to avenge their husband and wanted to retaliate against us; by widows who want to avenge their husbands who have been murdered by us; by a people who were previously rich and powerful but we have made them poor and disunited; by a nation who has been made hard and strong by suffering 34 years war we imposed upon them; by a people who will fight us with all possible ways and also with impossible ways; by a people who are warlike, brave, strong, conscious of their destiny, lovers of freedom, not adverse to drinking their enemy's blood, and loyal to their own in the struggle against the infidel.

 

Killings and massacres which we had perpetrated in Acheh were on vary large scale due to the decision that had been taken by our official policy makers there that we look to the entire Achehnese nation as our enemy, to be treated as enemy, to be called "jahats" (criminals) who must be shot dead, if necessary all of them. This decision lies behind the practice of never taking prisoner in Acheh: those who are capturedor arrested were shot dead as a rule.

 

An official Decree (Decree N.224, article 3, dated 18 may, 1885) stated: "All Achehnese who do not possessed Dutch issued Identity paper and found carrying fire arms or knife, to be considered enemies and must be shot dead."

 

What took place in acheh is a guerilla wa. In general, a guerilla was is the most difficult to wage of all wars. And the most cruel even when waged among civilized nations. In the present case, our enemy is a native state, and our own soldiers consist of mercenaries from Java. This fact should imposed extreme caution to our commanders to limit cruelty to a minimum because our self-interest and humanity demand this from us as a civilized nation.

 

During these last years acts of cruelty, barbarism, and bestiality are on the increase. Vandalism has spread all over Acheh (an oblique reference to general Van Daalen, the Dutch governor of occupied Acheh and the commander of Dutch forces in acheh).

 

It was a daily occurrence in Acheh when the commanders of our troops on patrol entered a village they ordered the local people to climb the coconut trees to pick up the fruit. When the first coconut fell to the ground, the commanders were reliable reported to have said: "Oh, there is an ape! I will shoot!" Then they shot down the Achehnese who fell to the ground from high tree, dead. This was the truth. It happened so often in Acheh.

 

The universally used M95 bullet was considered not powerful enough to kill an Achehnese by one shot, because he could still get up and fight after being shot with that standard bullet. Therefore our troops were allowed to use the internationally forbidden dum-dum bullets against the Achehnese. The bullets were considered inhumane by International Law.

 

The Dutch Supreme Commander, in his Note No.4159/154, 1905, to the Governor of Acheh did complain that one milliun dum-dum bullets were shipped to Acheh from jakarta that year! The Dutch military in Acheh gave no protection to those captured or arrested by them. Al captured and arrested persons, men, women, children, were shot dead. So many examples were given in this book, complete with names, dates, and places.

 

When the village of Kuto Reh was occupied in Lingga, Central Acheh, 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, 344 men were killed, 1 who was gravely wounded was also killed. No prisoner was allowed to live.

 

The occupation of the village of Kuta Tampeng also ended in slaughter. To protect themselves from our bullets, the unarmed villagers had dig holes in the ground for refuge. Our troops surrounded the holes and rained them with bullets until everyone was dead: me, women, children. A commandant who took part in that gruesome action told me: "Lieutenant, my men made the whole affairs an amusing game". It was shameful that the Government of the Netherlands had made such bloodbaths necessary!

 

All gardens and plantations that could be found in the mountains of Acheh were burned down and whoever present there, men, women, and children, killed without any question asked. For example, when a plantation was found at Krueng Tadu, in the middle of 1904, two women and a sucking baby were shot dead. In the village of Samuti, on November 9, 1905, an old woman and a young woman were shot dead. In the village of Putjok Wojla, in November, 1905, a women was killed. In May, 1904, in the garden of Pang Adam, a woman was shot dead. On July 29, 1905, 1905, nine persons were shot dead in the town of Manggeng, 5 of them women. In August, 1905, the troops on patrol from Meulaboh shot dead 20 persons, found a plantation where 15 persons were shot dead, 4 of them. Between January 16 and 26, 1907, our troops shot dead 9 men, 1 women, and 1 baby.

 

The once dencely populated districts of Geumpang, Anoë, Serbojadi, Samarkilang have been made empty by massacres conducted by our soldiers because those districts were suspected bases for "peace disturbers".

 

In Acheh we separated the "good people" from the "bad people" by forcing everybody to carry identity papers issued by us. But we knew that "peace disturbers" could get the identity paper also through their sympathizers. Generally the "good people" stayed in their villages but "bad ones" stay in the mountain plantations or they move from place to place.

 

We demand from the villagers: (1) That they live in their village without moving around; (2) To report immediately to us when the "peace disturbers" arrived in their village; (3) To work for us, 52 days a year, without pay, to make our military road to make it easier for us to chase the " peace disturbers"; (4) To pay fines to us whenever we imposed on them for whatever reason. In short, we asked from them a lot, but we gave them nothing.

 

We could not even give protection to the population against the guerillas. The Dutch troops, 6000 according to Government statement, are not enough to control Acheh whose territory twice as large as the Netherlands.

 

We allow to the Achehnese to keep two long knives to protect their household from wild swines. But it cannot be carried outside the house. If found with knives outside their homes, they will be shot dead, or fined to work for us for 50 days without pay, or pay us 25 Dutch guilders!

 

In the Order No.96, dated August 13, 1903, signed by the Dutch Commander, was stipulated: "Women and children captured in the mountains must be taken and delivered to the civil administration." QUESTION: what has to be done to male prisoners, old and young? No written answer has ever been given to this question.

 

What actually happened was that all of them shot dead. The most often used excuses to kill prisoners were "resisting arrest" or "trying to escape". What actually happened among Dutch military in Acheh was "who killed more are more honorable", and "the successful officers are the ones who killed more achehnese."

 

Even prizes are given for each Achehnese killed. This is the order of the day in many military garrisons. See for example, the Journal of garrisons of Matang Glumpang Duwa, Panton Labu, Paja Bakong, Guntji, Babah Rot, from May 1 to November 12, 1905.

 

The refusal to give protection to the captured has become a universal practice in Acheh among our military force. This competition to murders has a very bad effect on the mind and moral of younger commanders; on those who are ambitious; on those who are fighting for promotion; in short rendering useless our entire peace-and-security policy in Acheh that had led to the killing of anyone found in the plantations. An officer recorded in a garrison Journal for July, 1904, that to add the score of his killings he murdered 2 more innocent Achehnese women and a baby.

 

The aftremath of legitimazing the chasing for Achehnese dead was the establisment of a betting system for it among Dutch military and money was made out of it. In West Acheh, a garrison commanding officer distributed gifts to military units that had killed the larger numbers of Achehnese each month during 1904-1905.

 

Dutch officers are betting among themselves in military garrisons about how the best way to kill Achehnese innocent passers-by outside in the public street nearby. IS THIS THE CIVILIZATION THAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE BRINGING TO ACHEH?

 

In discussions in Parliament in The Hague, it has been concluded with sufficient evidence on record that in European wars the ratio between the wounded and the dead stood at something like 3-5 to 1; that is to say, for every 3-5 wounded, usually you have I dead. But in Acheh, the ratio between the wounded and the dead was I against 300. That is for every wounded Dutchman or mercenary 300 Achehnese were shot dead. "This is the truth!"

 

Another great political mistake was to call those who opposed us "robbers" and "peace disturbers". This was a very great political mistake!

 

From 1899 to 1907 (not include 1873-1898) by Government own admission, we have killed 17,953 Achehnese, men, women, and children.

 

In 1906, the Dutch Government acknowledged having killed 2151 Achehnese. The numbers of guns confiscated 269 pieces. This means those 611 persons killed were unarmed men without means to defend themselves!

 

In the middle of 1907, that is 34 years after the Declaration of War against Acheh, the Government acknowledged having shot dead 700 Achehnese.

 

In another accounting of the Achehnese dead, the Dutch government admitted having killed 18,700 Achehnese during the first 8½ years of the war.

 

 

THESE FIGURES PROVED THAT IN ACHEH WE WERE NOT WAGING A NORMAL WAR BUT WE WERE IN KILLING A NATION!

 

It can be seen in Acheh War that too many women had fallen victims to our military murderers. Within a period of one year and five months 66 women were killed along with 14 children and 80 other victims. The Minister of Colonial Affairs insisted that was because Achehnese women wore trousers like men, and the Dutch soldiers thought they were men. This is impossible Government's policies.

 

The wanton killings of unarmed civilians in Acheh have become daily occurrances whether they had "identity paper" or not. These took place everywhere in Acheh and the instances are too many to mention here. These have become part of daily life for the Achehnese people since a third of this century.

 

The Dutch army also engaged in highway robberies as well as stealing as Captain Van der Maaten documented it in his written report of May 20, 1903.

 

The truth is that we rule Acheh with whips and swords. Murders and tortures are ways and means to threaten the Achehnese in order to make them accept our policy of peace and order according to our own definition.

 

 

ACHEHNESE ARE TORTURED TO GET INFORMATION

 

The commandants must have news, information about enemy activities, otherwise they are consider incompetent, and will not get promotion. Because of the tactis used to get that information, we are not trusted by the population. Therefore there left only one way to get information: by coercion and torture.

 

The people who already lived in fear became, in addition, the victims of a torture system in order to give us the secrets of those who opposed our occupation of their country. The torture was conducted in many ways: by flogging; by piercing the tender and thin part of the body like nose, lips, ears, eyes, mouth, with sharp thin metal or with picks from coconut leave to draw blood; by hanging upside down or by the wrists; by cricifying; by slowly burning the prisoners with open fire under him until he confess or otherwise until he dies. This is done because we are impotent, having not other means to get information.

 

One day in June 1904, an Achehnese prisoner was brought in my garrison. The prisoner did not want to tell us where was the hiding place of his comrades. He was taken out of the garrison and tied to a tree. Two Javanese coolies were ordered to whip him with rattan until he speaks. After being whipped 84 times he lost consciousness. Several pales of cold water were thrown on his face to make him recover his consciousness. Then the whipping resumes. After being whipped 100 times he began to talk. But now he could no longer walk because his injury to show the place. It took two days for him to be able to begin to walk again.

 

In another garrison, a young woman was brought in after her arrest. According to report she was the wife of a well known resistance leader. She denied that report. She said she did not even know the man. Therefore she was tortured by tying her to a tree and two Javanese coolies were ordered to flog her until she became unconscious for 7 hours. Later it was proven that the woman was not the wife of the resistance leader.

 

In another garrison, a woman who was accused of giving food to a "peace disturber" was arrested and hanged by her ankles. After being hanged like that for two hours she began talking and gave the information asked from her. In the garrison of Glumpang Dua an Achehnese prisoner was so severely beaten by the commandant until the commandant himself became sick. News are widespread in Acheh how a Dutch commandant barbecued his prisoners to get information.

 

In Acheh, it seems that all elements coalesced to blur the distinction between the good and the bad, between the humane and the bestial, among the officers and soldiers. That mad them look upon lives as being nothing. That attidue had made them so irresponsible that they could no longer live in a normal civilized community with accountability. They are the ones who spread terror in Acheh by burning villages and houses with people still inside. This had taken place in Peusangan with 12 persons died for being burned inside a house.

 

 

CORPSES ARE CUT TO PIECES

 

A Dutch officer in Meulaboh has a hobby to decapitate the Achehnese he shot dead. Another commandant like to carve a sign of the cross in the forehead or chest of his victims. He considered these the signature of his company.

 

The head of Pang (Achehnese commander) Budiman was decapitated and brought with fanfare from Glumpang Dua to Lhok Seumawe and back to Glumpang Duwa.

 

In 1905 the head of another Achehnese Pang was decapitated at the Battle of Blang Mane and was brought with ceremony to our garrison in Bireuën.

 

I knew a Dutch officer who kept many decapitated Achenese heads for his collection.

 

There are stories about our cadavers that had fallen to the hands of the Achehnese being cut up also. Because now, we too, hed seen the mountain of enemy flesh stacked-up by our soldiers, we have to be polite to the Achehnese not to say anything it, if they too had done it to us.

 

 

MURDERS OF OUR OWN GUIDES

 

In the Journal of the Civil Administration in Takengon, there was written that an Achehnese guide was shot dead because he did not show the right path to resistance's hide out.

 

On the road to Tundjang, a guide was shot dead because of suspicion that he did not show the correct way.

 

In another Journal in the Laut Tawar region, was annotated that a guide was shot dead in front of an Achnese collaborator for not showing the right direction.

 

In the margin of a Journal in Lhokseumawe, the present Dutch Governor of Acheh wrote: "This man should have been shot dead immediately." The note was written on the spot where it was reported that the guide had caught on the road in certain place as if he was alerting the guerillas of the presence of our troops there.

 

All these cruelties are known to the Dutch Governor of Acheh and Conquerred Territories and other officialdom. They knew very well that although we have been fighting the war for 34 years, we have not succeeded in influencing the Achehnese much less gaining moral ascendancy over them. This very important to remember.

 

All things that we do in Acheh based on force and coercion: we force the Achehnese to work for us without paying them anything; we coerce them to pay all kinds of taxes to us; in fact we have come to enslaves them; and there are official taxes and unofficial taxes; every garrison has its two budget system, one official and another one unofficial and secret; to get the money we tax the Achehnese with many devilish excuses: for example for reason that "their gardens are not clean", "their fences are several centimetres higher than we prescribed", "they arrived late for work", etc.

 

The Achenese entertained genuinely deep-seated anger and hatred towards us. This is because of the war and our cruelty towards them. A peace and order that we based on our moral superiority is out of the question in Acheh.

 

Today, after 34 years of war, they still can shoot us in Kuta Radja (the capital of Acheh), lam Njong, Rumpet, until Kuta Alam, and Peuniti (all in the capital district). The polpulation is still on the side of those who opposed us; they give money and food to them; Keureutoë and Lhok Sukon (imporatnt region) have become resistance territory again; Sawang, another important region, has fallen again to enemy hands; Peusangan, another vital region, has lost to us again; Mukim Tudjôh, adjacent to the capital, is full with rebels. At the beginning of 1907 we have to send troops from Kuta Radja (Bandar Acheh) to protect Seulimum and Indrapuri, two vital cities of this very region.

 

Now, our hard hearted Supreme Commander (reference to general Van Daalen) has had his troops wallowing in cruelty and barbarism; they become hangmen and arsonists who burned the villages and the whole countryside; emissaries of fear, hate, and revenge. This is the true situation in Acheh at the end of 1906 - thirty-three years after the commencement of the war.

 

Today, it is no longer possible to reduce the scale of revolts against Holland in Acheh. On the contrary, the resistance has become stronger. In fact, after we fought a war for 34 years, we are in Acheh today only the master of a piece of land on which our garrison stand and over another square meter of land over which our guard post stands.

 

The commander of Leubu garrison wrote to me recently: "The situation is not hopeful here. I have just shot 20 peace disturbers. But afterwards came 20 more. They are brave because they have nothing left to lose except their lives and they did not value that like we do."

 

PEOPLE OF THE NETHERLANDS: DEMAND FROM YOUR MINISTERS TO END "VANDALISM" IN ACHEH WHICH HAS PRODUCED BARBARIAN PRACTICES!

 

(This writing by Wekker, first appeared as serial articles in 'De Avondpost' The Hague, later in book form, roused public opinion until the Dutch Parliament decided to debate

the matter on November 5-6, 1907)

 

 

 

 

DEBATES ON ACHEH IN DUTCH PARLIAMENT

The Hague, 5-6 November, 1907

(HET ATJEH-DEBAT IN DE TWEEDE KAMER DER STATEN-GENERAAL)

 

 

 

VAN KOL, MP:

 

I realize that the situation in Acheh is worse than in the past, after 34 years we waged war there to bring civilization, peace, and disciplin to that country which we have conquered.

 

Now a barbaric condition is being establish 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 to be used in Acheh. People who were not in a position to defend themselves have been targeted. The wounded were also killed. In Lingga region, women and children hiding in the pits under ground to save themselves were killed like wild animals.

 

It is not so 'parliamentary' to mention it here, but in Acheh they have made manslaughter a game for fun.

 

Only in the stories of cruel tortures in the Middle Ages could we read such barbarism practised. Today Achehnese are hanged by their wrists with their toes barely touching the ground.

 

The guides are shot dead; peasants who carried 'rampagoë' - Achehnese pocket knife to cut beetlenuts - we shot dead under excuse of carrying weapon; Achehnese are forced to climb coconut palm trees then deliberately shot dead falling to the ground; Achehnese who refused to kowtow to our soldiers were tortured; Achehnese aristocrats were forced to wear Javanese coolies garments and these returned to their villages will not they kill Dutchmen without remorse to avenge their dignity? Is it true or not, houses have been burned knowing that there were people inside?

 

Our soldiers made mincemeat out of Achehnese dead: evidence has been found.

 

Our officers used klewang (Javanese long knife) to cut the sign of the cross on the chests of foreheads of Achehnese Muslims' dead who fell to our hands.

 

Prizes have been given for decapitation of Achehnese and there exist our officers who collect the decapitated heads of Achehnese he had killed.

 

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.

 

We can keep silent if we heard stories of some barbaric tribes who still from time to time cut the throat of another for his head. For us, there is no more beastly attitude than to remain silent when our own army did such thing! Obviously those who rule in Acheh today on our behalve are people without moral, who have become wild, and mad, and bloodthirsty.

 

An officer from our Maréchaussée Division has had the courage to write a series of articles in the newspaper 'De Avondpost' with the headline: "How Civilized Netherlands Created Peace and Order in Acheh in the Twentieth Century."

 

He told us there, among others, how a Dutch officer had tied an Achehnese to railroad tracks and then led a locomotif to to run over him! He told us also how an Achehnese headman because of his inability to pay a fine that our officer had imposed within 24 hours, the headman was shot dead! Has there been ever a time when Acheh was ruled by more cruel oppressors than the present? Has there ever been more unjust killing and cruelties in Acheh than now? Has there ever been more houses burnt in Acheh than during this ethnic-cleansing under the Netherlands' tricolor?

 

Therefore, Mr. Chairman, we have talked enough about this problem. We must stop all this atrocities and barbarism at once!

 

 

DE STUERS, MP:

 

Pacification system is based on the use of force to instil fear in the mind of the natives towards us.

 

Now we are talking a people, a good many of them we have killed with swords and fire arms in order to make them understand three decisive words 'disciplin, peace, order'. Not only that, now we also want them to betray their own people and their own relatives. These are impossible demands, morally and materially.

 

An Achenese can not be a head-man with us if he did not endorse arrest, fine, exile, dismissal, even killings of his own people - if they acted contrary to our order. Usually all Achehnese who have collaborated with us can no longer return to their village without being guarded by our patrol because they were marked by their relatives, by their village community, and by the entire population of Acheh.

 

What we demand from our Achehnese collaborators are impossible to be accomplished because basically we have forbidden the use of the fire arms by them. First, we have confiscated their fire arms. Then we asked them to oppose the rebels without giving them arm to defend themselves. And we ourselves have not enough troops to guard them. In Lhok Seumawe 2400 meters of railroad tracks was destroyed without our ability to do anything about it. Therefore what the Government demands from friendly Achehnese seemed childish.

 

Presently in Acheh, and in other 17 provinces, there are many people being shot dead and slaughtered. We all knew this. Thousands of people over there can have their peace only in the graves. What the Governor General of the Dutch East Indies has to say about this?

 

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 menstealings," and so forth. To give even deeper impression to each of this word was given further explanation, thus "to stop selling and buying slaves, to stop piracy at sees"…and so on…

 

Let us think about talks of abolishing slavery in Acheh. I have just read that in Bali slaves are registered. In Acheh we registered everything: the people, the animals, the guns, and the slaves. We suppose to have come to Acheh to abolish alavery. Are not we ourselves doing it in Acheh? Today wwe are the one who make slavery in Acheh. We captured the Achense and forced them to do what we like. Recently we marched 800 of them, all handcuffed, to Kuta Radja. About our wish to abolish slavery, is not that too expensive to be paid with 18,000 dead?

 

The fact was that Article 115 of Government Regulation stated that the abolition of slavery must be done slowly, step by step, - not by killing 18,000 men!

 

With regrd to head-hunting, Mr. Van Kol had just told us who are head-hunters in Acheh!

 

"These victims" said the Governor General, "have been made necessary in order to lay down the foundation stone to purify the coarse feelings and to refine bad habits".

 

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 tranquillity; to make development possible; to guarantee a prosperous future for the population of these islands which has been put in our care by the will of the world community!"

 

These loose talks are enough reason for me to call this Governor General a clown!

 

It is not widely know but the fact is that we are in Acheh because of the treaty we made with the British where we gave Guinea Gold Coast (Ghana) to them and they gave us free hands to take Acheh."

 

In North Sumatra the entire population has been made hopeless since 34 years ago. The greatest hatred was reserved for us. We have come there to impose our culture with machine guns. There is no more apt titles for us than robbers and oppressors!

 

I know that I do not effect any change here. 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 and Conquered Territories can withstand the coming public condemnation of this!

 

 

BOGAARD, MP:

 

The morality of the Netherlands East India Army is not high. This I must declare openly.

 

I believe that no one can touch the heart of a nation with the point of the bayonets. It cannot be made to follow our orders by threats of automatic weapons alone….

 

 

VAN DEVENTER, MP:

 

It is very difficult for us to admit the fact that after 34 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.

 

 

VAN BYLAND, MP:

 

With regard to the war in Acheh, enough have been written and debatted. But I think this war was based on other than what most people think. This war was not against the Achehnese (sic) but against Islam. This is a religious war. This is what I fear most about this war.

 

Islam is the greatest enemy of our politics and civilization throughout our colonies.

 

 

THOMSON, MP:

 

When I was in Acheh I knew what happened.

 

I have condemned without hesitation the burnings of entire villagers, the cutting of fruits trees, the destruction of abandoned animals.

 

How was the feelings of persons who saw only scattered ashes left on the place where their houses stood before? This is the sort of thing we have not thought about.

 

I saw one of our soldiers using his boots turning round the body of a dead Achehnese while searching the cadaver's pockets for golds. I also have in my possession a photograph showing feets of Achehnese children killed in one of our garrisons. Such activities did not cause any disgust amongst us!

 

In the officers' clubs in Acheh it is now forbidden to mention "cutting throat" because, they say, people in Holland do not like it. But it is all-right to say just "cutting…" and what is cut is the male organs - which in Holland people do not dare to say it in public.

 

This war has produced inhuman acts. With acts of cruelty that certain to produce hatred we cannot pacify a people like the Achehnese. We must abandon this barbaric system.

 

 

LIZERMAN, MP:

 

One morning, in January 1874, while I was working outside the town of Solo, in Central Java, I heard the sound of cannon shot fired from our garrison in town. It was followed by 99 other shots st few second intervals. The same cannon shots were fired from every garrison throughout the Dutch East Indies to announce to the populace that the Palace of Acheh has fallen to the hands of the Dutch army. Everyone thought involuntarily : now the most difficult task has been accomplished. This must be the beginning of the end of the Acheh War.

 

Ever since, the optimistic note has been followed by the pessimistic one like mountain ranges are followed by the valleys and back to the mountain ranges again and infinitum. Now, we are again in the pessimistic period.

 

The optimistic view was based on our lack of knowledge about our real situation in Acheh and due to our ignorance about Achenese history and about Achehnese nation.

 

The Achehnese are not like other peoples in the East Indies who easily surrender especially when the palace of their kings have fallen to our hands, then nor further resistance was offer. In Acheh the situation is vastly different: if we had not controlled all, we have no control at all!

 

The killings and the cruelty must be stopped forthwith. It has been more than enough time to make the Achehnese, who did not ask their country be made part of the Dutch East Indies, to have an opportunity to appreciate that they had become subjects of the Netherlands.

 

 

DE STUERS, MP:

 

Three years ago, when I was involved in the bloody events in Lingga and Alas, I had felt then that we might be involved in international difficulties with Britain, France, Germany and others not yet known to us who would attack us for violating humanitarian law so brazenly in North Sumatra. Now we also being criticized for treating our subject people oppressively.

 

The resistance against us in Acheh has been going since 35 years. This resistance has nothing to do with our debate here. It has been offered independently from what we are saying here and this resistance is getting stronger. I said this because there are some who said that our criticism of the Government is strengthening the resistance.

 

I will not lie in this matter and I will tell the truth: the Achehnese who have been killed by us were mostly unarmed civilians without means to defend themselves!

 

The imbalance in tha ratio of confiscated fire arms and the numbers of Achehnese shot dead by us proved that this is not a normal war which we have been waging; we have been engaged in exterminating a people of a country! For me this is a sympton of unhealthy situation!

 

THE RESULT OF THIS DEBATE WAS A RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE GOVERNOR GENERAL OF THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES TO GO PERSONALLY TO ACHEH TO INVESTIGATE THE SITUATION AND TO REPORT HIS FINDINGS TO PARLIAMENT FOR FURTHER ACTION.

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