The Indisch Monument in The Hague was plastered with red and white paint the day before the national commemoration of the Japanese capitulation. “Kami belum lupa” was sprayed on the monument: “We have not forgotten.” And “4 juta korban”, or “four million victims”. Cleaners were immediately called in to remove the paint, so that the commemoration can continue on Saturday. The action has been claimed by an action group that states that the commemoration commemorates only ‘people with European status’. The organization contradicts that.
A private memorial will be held at the Indisch Monument on Saturday for the people who have fallen victim to the war against Japan, “both in the Netherlands and in Indonesia”, writes the organization of the National Commemoration on 15 August 1945 in response to the daubing. King Willem-Alexander, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the Indonesian ambassador will be present. “The defacement of the Indisch Monument is disrespectful to the victims and particularly painful for all relatives and those involved, both in the Netherlands and abroad.” The municipality, owner of the monument, has filed a report. In the run-up to the commemoration, extra security will be deployed.
The action was claimed by Aliansi Merah Putih, who said there is no regard for Indonesia’s four million indigenous people who have also been victims of oppression and violence. The group speaks of a ‘racist commemoration’ because after the Japanese capitulation there was another battle between the Netherlands and Indonesian independence fighters. “When one legitimizes the commemoration, one automatically legitimizes colonization,” said the group.
Japan occupied the former Dutch East Indies in 1941. During the occupation, many tens of thousands of Dutch people were imprisoned in internment camps, also called Japanese camps, and thousands were killed. The United Nations estimates the number of victims who died in Indonesia at four million, both indigenous people and Europeans.
Also read about the Pekanbaru Railway that was completed on the day of the Japanese capitulation: The rails have disappeared, there is still a locomotive in the utility room
Sukarno, who would become Indonesia’s first president, declared independence two days after the Japanese capitulation. This was followed by years of struggle between the Dutch government and Indonesian independence fighters. In December 1949 sovereignty was transferred to Amsterdam.
The commemoration will take place on Saturday, but will not be publicly accessible this year due to the corona virus. However, the meeting will be broadcast on television and via the internet. On Friday, the Indian plaque in the House of Representatives commemorated the victims of the Second World War in the former Dutch East Indies.