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Saturday, February 4, 2012

The "Bersiap" what was it like?

The "Bersiap" what was it like? For most of us(like me) it is too late to ask our parents.I would have liked to ask so many questions.
But it is amazing how much the "Bersiap" time has become a topic of interest lately.
After the bombs had been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese emperor Hirohito had no option but to capitulate and on August 15,1945, Japan surrendered unconditionally.
Now Japan had been beaten, in the Dutch East Indies it became chaos.
With the collapse of Japan's imperial ambitions, Indonesia declared themselves an independent Republic.The days leading up to this event were tumultuous and Hatta and Sukarno were kidnapped by youth members of the students union. They were pressing for a dramatic action on the part of these leaders. The next four years were a period of armed struggle against the Dutch, who were intend to regain control of the East Indies.

Soekarno, 1st president of Indonesia, son of a Javanese primary school teacher, was born June 06,1901 in Soerabaja, Dutch East Indies. He died on June 21,1970.
He went to school in Soerabaja. Dutch was his language of education; he mastered in English, German, French and later in Japanese. He had a photographic memory.In 1942 he welcomed the Japanese invasion as personal and national liberators. During World War II the Japanese made Sukarno their chief adviser and propagandist and their recruiter for Laborers, soldiers, and prostitutes.
In 1968 Sukarno sank into disgrace and dotage(second childhood).When he died he was buried in a simple grave along side his mother.

Hatta,1st vice president of Indonesia had studied in The Netherlands at the Rotterdam school of Commerce in economics. He cooperated with the Japanese in World War II. In 1949 he was imprisoned by the Dutch. Hatta was released to head a delegation to the Hague and there successful negotiated a settlement. He was again vice president of the Republic of Indonesia. He resigned in 1956 after a dispute with Sukarno.
He was born in Bukittinggi,(means "High Hill") West Sumatra on August 12,1902. He died on March 14,1980 in Jakarta.

The Javanese revolutionists are now fighting for their independence,armed with sharpened bamboo weapons and some with riffles from the Japanese army, they were ready to fight.Total destruction followed.Utterly chaos off destruction, murdering and plundering. Bandoeng the capital city destroyed.People scrambling for their lives.

The American soldiers were busy stabilizing other parts of Asia, meanwhile the KNILL officials and military had just been released from POW camps and were in such bad shape. They were not able to assume their former duties.The Netherlands itself was in disarray after the virtual decimation of the home country by the Nazis, so were not in the position to send enough men who could take over the authority of the Japanese.
The temporary government was therefore put in the hands of the British.
On August 17,1945 the Dutch East Indies nationalists Sukarno and Hatta took their chance to realize their ideal, namely an independent Indonesian republic encapsulating all the islands.This was however not acknowledged by the Dutch.The Dutch government wanted the situation to revert back to how it was before 1942.

In November 1945 Soerabaja was attacked by British forces, leading to a bloody street-to-street battle. It was the bloodiest single engagement in the war. The British were reluctant to be sucked into a war it did not need, as a consequence, the Dutch were asked to take back control.There were atrocities and violations of human rights in many forms by both sides in the conflict.
Brigadier Mallaby was killed in Soerabaja during the fight in the city.

At the end of 1945 the Netherlands send troops to try to restore order.The British who tried desperately stay neutral between the Dutch and the natives didn't allow them to enter Java and sent them to Sumatra, Malakka and Thailand.

On Java thousands of Dutch and Indo-Dutch people were murdered. The Japanese had done an excellent job, feeding the young nationals to hate the Dutch.Pemoeda's armed military trained radical youths, were especially chasing the Dutch and the Indo-Dutch.Barbaric practices such as burning and beheading took place. The Bersiap time was the period of the sharp Struggle of Independence. "Bersiap" means : Be prepared. The Japanese were now ordered to protect the threatened people who had returned to the camps, because outside the camps it was too dangerous. The protectors were the same Japanese who had been their worst enemy during the years of occupation.The nationalist feeling spread like wild fire over Java. Anyone who was not 100% Indonesian was treated violently by these nationalists.The Chinese were particularly singled out, because in Indonesian eyes they had committed the twin sins of being a colonial enemy and as a collaborator.

The Netherlands facing of losing her colonies, sent 100,000 soldiers to try to stop the revolution.Four more years of utterly misery , not only for the Dutch and Indo-Dutch and Chinese, but for the Indonesian people as well.The colonial war; 1945-'49.
Some 6,000 Dutch and 150,000 (including civilians) Indonesians are estimated to have been killed.
However the United States and Great Britain feared that re-installing the colonial relationship would reinforce the communism in Indonesia.
With the United States government threatening to withdraw the Marshall Plan funds, which were vital to the Dutch to rebuild after the second world war, The Netherlands was forced back into negotiations.It was now December 1949. The Dutch soldiers had been here now for four years.Christmas under the Palm trees.In the Dutch Indies it is not easy to get in the spirits of Christmas. The soldiers were missing their fatherland, their home.Home sick was in their hearts, thinking about their loved once so far away. Feeling so lonely in the still of the night, standing guard in the tropics in a guard-post hearing all kinds of sounds from animals.
The only road to the South is over this hanging bridge, which is two hundred meters long. This bridge is an important passage to the South and is constantly guarded by the Dutch Marine In the middle of the bridge the Dutch flag is blowing in the cool breeze.

A large electricity power station, lies in Oebroeg close to Tjibadak on West Java. Batavia receives electricity from here.It lies in a beautiful part of the country.Between the two large pipes Dutch soldiers are on patrol.

American "ground" in the harbor of Tandjong Priok.
The"Renville" an American war ship, is laying in the harbor of Tandjong Priok, Batavia. The ship has been offered by the US to be used as neutral ground where the Dutch-Indies and the republican delegation can meet with help of the Commission of Three from the United Nations, to come to a solution of the conflict which already has taken four long years.The discussions are engaged on the middle deck of the ship in the open air; for the crew this part of the ship is now forbidden territory.

On December 27, 1949 Indonesia was recognized independent.
Transfer of the Sovereignty.
Dr.W.Drees signs the Indonesian Sovereignty in the Palace on the Dam in Amsterdam on December 27,1949. To the right of Queen Juliana is Mohammed Hatta,who became vice president of Indonesia.

New Guinea was the only part of the East Indies not given up by the Dutch.
The western part of the island was formerly a Dutch Colony. The Dutch East Indies is now two Indonesian provinces. The Eastern Part forms the mainland of Papua New Guinea which has been an independent country since 1975.
Elections were held across Dutch New Guinea in 1959 and an elected New Guinea Council officially took office on April 5,1961, to prepare for full independence by the end of that decade. The Dutch endorsed the council's selection of a new national anthem on December 1, 1961. Indonesia attempted to invade the region on December 18,1961. Following some fights between Indonesian and Dutch forces an agreement was reached and the territory was placed under United Nations administration in October 1962. It was transferred to Indonesia in May 1963. In 1969 the territory was formally annexed by Indonesia. But the Papuas like to be independent just like Indonesia wished to be independent after World War II in 1945.
In 1961-1962 14,400 left New Guinea(the current Irian Jaya)
There was a strong sense among the Dutch in New Guinea that they were abandoning the local Papua population to an Indonesian fate.

The translation from above letter;

Announcement, Officer in Command,

1. In expectation of what is to come from the UN-Force in the form of Americans, Canadians,and other foreign-countries, I like to give my troops the following lines of action, regarding of your attitude towards these Foreigners.
2. The promise made by The Netherlands to the Papua people to independence in 1970 has been broken through pressure of the UN.We have tried our best to honor Papua New Guinea.The Political attitude of America and the United Nations has resulted in the conveyance of Papua Barat to Indonesia, which forced us to break our promise.
3. To honor the Papua-Civilians and to honor our fallen soldiers and our wounded comrades; it is sound to be friendly to the United Nations. Our attitude has to be polite and business like. To associate in public or in the canteens with them is however not permitted.

The Commander CIV NNG the Colonel,


The Canadian air force on the spot to record the settlement of the Indonesian/Netherlands dispute over the control of West New Guinea.The United Nations is the ultimate organ of arbitration for nations in dispute and is dedicated to the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples.

West Irian Jaya Indonesia( Papua New Guinea)lives in an atmosphere of occupation since the end of 1962.News from the first group of journalists admitted that in West Irian, since Indonesia took over Dutch New Guinea an intolerable situation exist.

Netherlands New Guinea 1961/629analogue photos)

A former Dutch colony as being half of the whole island with the still present Papua New Guinea, together being the biggest island of the world with a population not having any roots with Indonesia at all. After the Indonesian take-over with the help of the American "diplomacy" of John Kenedy and his brother Robert, who feared that the Russian influence with the Indonesians was getting too dangerous in the American eyes they just forced the Dutch to abandon Dutch New Guinea (NNG) very much against the will of the Dutch government and specially named the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Luns(later Navo-Scretary General). A small country like the Netherlands couldn't do much,they left and the country was literally robbed and emptied in a short time; renamed as "Irian Jaya". When I compare this "diplomacy" with what happened in Tibet, overrun by the Chinees, the whole world was looking the other way because the country did not had a lot to offer. This is what has been called "diplomacy"

We want freedom!'

My name is Benny Wenda, I am a West Papuan independence leader and chairman of the Koteka Tribal Assembly. My village was bombed by Indonesia when I was a child and many of my family were killed. Later, I began to campaign peacefully to free my people. For this'crime' I was arrested, tortured and threatened with death.
I managed to escape to Britain, where I now live in exile. Many of my people are still suffering. They have been killed, raped and tortured. Life is hard for them. All we are asking for is freedom that you enjoy every day-the freedom to speak your mind, to live without fear and to choose your own government.
Please hear my peoples'cry for help. Please support the Free West Papua Campaign.

"Mostly we will use the photos to put in Flickr account as you have seen and I saw you uploaded some? We need to see and look back to our history and the situation before Indonesia came here in our land through photos, books or videos. Education to young generations. We do not have library, books, all are banned by Indonesia".

Beautiful and unspoiled West of Papua New Guinea.

The Indonesian government continues to violate the basic human rights of West Papuans. Thousands of West papuans deprived of their land, hundreds are detained and currently imprisoned without trial, and many have been killed by the Indonesian Army. It is estimated that 30,000 West Papuans have died fighting for independence.

Their indigenous culture is being systematically destroyed. This includes all their unique cultural pratices, languages, and livelihoods that are in complete contrast to Indonesian (Javanese) culture.
Has Indonesia forgotten that they were in this situation once??They fought for independence, remember 1945-49, so what are you doing??

What is going to happen to this unspoiled country"West Papua New Guinea", what is going to happen to their heritage?
West Papuans have rights and they will soon be in the minority, they have the right for FREEDOM!

For the past 45,000 years, as long as the Aboriginal people have been in Australia, New Guinea has been home to the Papua Melanesian peoples; comprising nearly a thousand distinct tribal cultures and languages, a fifth of the worlds total of both.During the last Ice Age, when the sea level was much lower than now, New Guinea then part of continental Australia, saw a great deal of contact between the Aboriginal and Papua peoples.
The flute-players with their peculiar organ flutes, which sound the dancers mimic.
Papuans dancing.

In 1948 a Dutch journalist photographer went to Papua New Guinea and made this reportage at a remote village. He was invited, after he gave them a whole lot of tobacco, to watch this spectacle. It is called the hunting festival, which takes place once in a while when there are not enough little Papua baby's born, or when the live-stock or the crops are bad. It is suppose to be a fertility party.They dance from morning till night.

The festivity in full swing! On the wild rhythm of the organ flutes, they dance like devils look-a-likes "ghosts" accompanied by women and girls.They are tireless; they dance from early morning until late at night and this continues for weeks.
A stout son of this happy nation. Very content he is smoking a cigarette and watches the movements of the dancers.

Please don't wipe the smile off his face!!

Always young.

by Win Rainer

Back to the war with sadness I go
The grief of a name makes it so
A young lad like so many others
Forever a heart break to their mothers
Their legacy should have been life and laughter
Not a conflict which led to disaster.
However can we forget them
It's the arbitrators we must condemn
In my tearful eyes of sorrow
They will all in thought still be young tomorrow.


  1. West Papua Have The Rights of Self Determination.
    We The Peoples.

    1. I agree. Indonesia has forgotten that they were once in the same position.They have a very short memory.

    2. So.. when are you gonna leave canada and hand it to the aboriginal Metis people ?

  2. as citizens of Indonesia I hate the corrupt government , like a malignant cancer diseases