life stories

Welcome to Coconut Connections

Real life stories

Friday, February 25, 2011

A poem dedicated to my mother and aunt and all the women who were in Japanese Prison Camp in the Dutch-East-Indies(Indonesia)

It's Friday February 25,2011.

This morning I got up, and it is snowing again.Done my shopping yesterday, so I do not have to go out. I don't like driving in the snow, but who does? I am always worried about my daughter in law, she has to drive to work every day for about an hour.Our children are always on our minds, no matter how old they are now, a mother always worry..I hope spring weather will be here soon.
Last night I tuned in on the news, and was sorry I did. What a mess in the world, fighting, earthquakes, floods, people dying.
Memories came flooding back, to a time so long ago.I feel for the people in LIBYA, who finally have had enough, and want to have a better life for their children.Freedom, a place to live, a place for happiness, a place for laughter, a place to work,a place for hope,a place to dream, a place to sit in a summers breeze.But as long as there are Fanatic's in Power, there will be this heavy blade. Young people have the right to live their life without a fight.How hard for a parent to tell their child "everything will be all right". They have the right to enjoy the beauty of the world.To see the sun come up every day. To see the sunsets every evening.

Rays of hope.


Many years have since past
But memories forever last.
Women, children in prison camps
Where nobody was able to give them a hand.
Put there by the Japanese regime
With soldiers who were so terrible mean.
Although it is so long ago
My mind goes back to 1944.
How our mothers shed their tears
In that hell for three and a halve years.
These Japanese were brutal and vicious
Cruel and heartless and twisted.
Endless roll calls just for fun
Everyday in the hot, hot sun

They screamed"KIOTSKAY!","KIRAY!",NOWRAY!"and waved their whips'
And our mothers knew better than to give them lip.
They kept their wits together
Because their children was all that matter.
When I am thinking about those years,
They come back with so much fear!
Swamped by misery, grief and pain,
They hoped God would hear his name.
They sang of his glory and begged to be heard,
They prayed and we pleaded, but never a word.
They reached for the last straw in despair,
And hoped somebody out there would care.
Why, oh why was it, no help came
They were pleading and called your name.
Why was it you let innocent children die?
My mother will never forget that you passed by.
There was thunder and lightning all around,
She was sure you would strike these Japs to the ground.
Our mothers were in so much agony, grief and pain,
They hoped for mercy, but it never came.
There in that horrible prison camp
"YOU" never offered a helping hand.
Most women lost their fate,
For thousands freedom came to late.
And when my time comes to face YOU,
I only have one question...WHY?????
Would YOU let innocent children die???

This poem written by: Tetske T. van der Wal. February 25, 2011.

"KIOTSKAY" (attention)"KIRAY"(bow)"NOWRAY"(stand up) The "NOWRAY" came usually after hours standing in the"KIRAY" position. When "NOWRAY" came it was hard to stand up strait.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Japanese gorvernment and the Dutch government both have the moral and social responsibility to rectify the wrong doings of the Japanese Imperial Army.

It snowed again last night.My son, his wife and little girl went up north to the cottage. I hope they are not snowed in. It is a long weekend this week. Family weekend. The whole family is at the cottage. Hope they are having a good time.Just spoke to my brother in law Bert on skype. My mother in law is doing fine she is 95 years old.They live in Holland and my mother in law is in an old age home. She is very frail, but in good spirits.She loves her game of soccer on TV and her beer. At night she has a typical dutch drink, which is called an advocaatje( it is very thick eggnog with some alcohol in it and whip cream) She loves it with a small platter of a few pieces of cheese and sausage, and she will be all set for the evening. My sister in law Carla makes that for her every day, and it sits in the fridge for her.The nurse will give it to her at night, when she is ready to sit in front of the tube.This way she has her little party every evening.How good it is to have a positive attitude.She has lots of it. April 10 she is going to be 96 years old.Her life has not always be a path of roses,but her spirit is, and I admire her.We are going to see her in May.
She looks so good.
Wisdom will not automatically comes with old age. Nothing does except wrinkles. It's true, some wines improve with age. But only if the grapes were good in the first place........Abigail van Buren. 1918-1978

I was going to write about history of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts, and about the Dutch Government that they too have a social and moral responsibility to redress the past and come to a final acknowledgment in paying the so called Back Pay to civil servants and military and the war damage resulting from political decisions made by the Dutch Government in exile in London, during world war2.The Dutch government, who did not consider the human rights aspects of the situation, the Dutch government had already reached a settlement on compensation under the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty. The Japanese government and the Dutch government both have the moral and social responsibility to rectify the wrong doings of the Japanese Imperial Army, and go further than settlements made in the 1951 treaty and the Yoshida-Stikker agreement later, which were inadequate.
One must take into account the effects the Japanese occupation had on the Dutch and in particular the physical and material losses resulting from this occupation. But also the way both governments have avoided the moral issues in this matter.All claims were settled with the Peace treaty of 1951 and dismissed the members claim. In view of the Stikker-Yoshida agreement which was concluded after the signing of the 1951 Peace Treaty, this conclusion was incorrect, but the Japanese High Court concluded that claims were dealt with in that Peace Treaty and so dismissed the case.This was a great disappointment. However it was the Dutch government who signed the Peace Treaty and waived the ground rights of its Dutch East Indies citizens. So we hope to prove that the Dutch government has in fact taken over the Japanese Liability.I do not propose to discuss the details of Japanese brutality. It is sufficient what the Dutch government knows about the crimes the Japanese army committed and are documented outside Japan, and are "appalling". The expert opinion of Dr. Hermans on the after effects of internment and in particular the brutal treatment by Japanese soldiers is from great importance.In modern times in modern democracies it is common practice to consider not only the legal sides of a conflict but also the moral issues. Considering the moral issues is evidence of a reliable nation in the international world of the United Nations that can play an active role in the international bodies.

Japan says that they, the second economic power of the world, want to play an important role in the international bodies and are advocating permanent membership of the Security Council of the United Nations. It should therefore consider very careful the moral aspects of it's past and in particular the brutal way in which the Imperial Army conducted the war. Contrary to Germany, Japan has adopted a policy of a strictly legal approach, avoiding any moral responsibility.The legality of its approach may be questioned also, as Japan's Imperial Army's acts against humanity still stands as proven war crimes which can not be overruled or absolved by an independent Peace Treaty.This Peace Treaty should be considered as a moral issue which was signed due to political reasons.
We hope therefore that the Japanese and Dutch governments ultimately will acknowledge that they have a moral duty towards the Dutch from Dutch East Indies. That the Japanese and Dutch government want to be recognized as nations fighting for peace and justice, who take their responsibilities in the international bodies seriously, playing significant roles in human rights, conflict mediation and peace keeping forces. We believe that in doing so, they must consider their past and rectify their wrong doings.
Each second Tuesday of the month the Foundation members demonstrate at the Japanese Embassy in the Hague.

In May I will be in Holland and will be at the demonstration in the Hague with my cousins who like me were in Japanese prison camps.We honor our parents who have suffered tremendously under these brutal Japanese Imperial Army.They are gone, but we are still here and we will ask for recognition and acknowledges of the plight of the Dutch from former Dutch-East Indies and acceptance of the moral obligation of the Japanese people to redress Japan's past.
We hope that the Dutch Government acknowledge that justice needs to been done and the people from Dutch-Indies are compensated for loss of income and health as a result of the Japanese occupation of Dutch East Indies.
Many studies show that the Dutch government has taken a view that they could not afford to help their countrymen from overseas and that they have done enough in accepting their return home. The discussion with the Dutch government is that they too have a social and moral responsibility to redress the past and come to a final acknowledgment in paying the so called Back Pay to civil servants and military and the war damage resulting from political decisions made by the Dutch Government in London.

Considering the history of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts one must conclude that we continue the fight for justice and redress on moral and social grounds. The legal issues are important and in particular as one consider the future. This symposium was organized by the Foundation in order to pay attention to the individual plight in getting compensation from belligerent parties and that those compensations can not be waived by special treaties and local interpretations by judges. This is an investment for the future, which we hope both Japan and the Netherlands take at heart.

On behalf of the board of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.

J.F. van Wagtendonk. president

To honor our parents who suffered so tremendously under the occupation of the Japanese Army.Justification and recognition will come! Rest in Peace.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Things you never forget!

It is Saturday today. It is a bright sunny day, but some snow flurries are expected. I am so looking forward to spring, so I can work in my garden. I love gardening, it's good for the soul.My husband and I are looking forward to a trip to Holland to visit his mother who is going to be 96 on April 10, also looking forward to see the rest of the family. The most wonderful thing happened a week ago, when after a long search I found my cousin Toby, we had grown up together in Japanese prison Camp. She is my cousin, who I wrote about that we had not bowed for the Japanese commander who passed by and our mothers got a severe beating from him.We were only 3 and 4 years old and we waved and smiled to the Japanese commander, but little as we were, forgot to bow for him.Our mothers were told that they were not educating their daughters in a proper manner, and if this would happen again and their daughters did not bow, he would not only beat them but further actions would be taken,and he would set an example for all the women in camp,to make sure that all children would be taught how to bow.It was an insult to his emperor Hirohito if you did not bow for your superior.

 Later in life when we returned to the Netherlands from the east Indies and were living with her parents in Kolhorn a small town in the North of Holland, my mother overheard me telling my friends, that I loved it in this camp, because I did not have to bow for men in funny suits anymore and that in this camp we had more to eat, in the other camp the food was horrible. I showed them how you had to bow, and told them; if you do not bow deep enough, my mother would get spanked with the whip. My mother said that the kids looked at me as if I came from the moon.
It was so nice to hear from my cousin.I have written a book, which just came out in November.So sad in a way, because my cousins had some stories to tell, and I could have added some of their stories in my book. My cousin Toby has an older brother, who has never spoken about camp life. He told me that he will open up, and has some stories to tell. He has never been able to talk about it, but now he will. I hope he keeps his promise. I will see him in May.He said it will be very difficult for him.He was barely alive after the war was over.
My cousin Fop van Driel, he barely survived.

This is us, just back from Indonesian 1046. My cousin Toby on the left with her brother Fop and me on the right. We are wearing the clothes we received in Ataka,Egypt.
My cousin Toby on the right. How we talked and talked and cried and cried.
My cousin Toby and my aunt Eke, my Mom's sister. How they suffered during the Japanese occupancy.

Today I read a poem from the internet written by; Caitlin Moreby.


War is triumph
War is gain
War is heartache,
War is pain.

War is duty
War is creed
War is stupid
War is waste.

War is brother
War is Dad
War is mother crying
War is sad.

War is death
War is tears
Wars don't end
They last for years!