Oleh : Dita (Free Borneo Campaign)
Colonialism is a relationship between an indigenous (or forcibly imported) majority and a minority of foreign invaders. The fundamental decisions affecting the lives of the colonized people are made and implemented by the colonial rulers in pursuit of interests that are often defined in a distant metropolis. Rejecting cultural compromises with the colonized population, the colonizers are convinced of their own superiority and their ordained mandate to rule.
Types of colonialism:
-Settler colonialism involves large-scale immigration, often motivated by religious, political, or economic reasons. It pursues to replace the original population.
-Exploitation colonialism involves fewer colonists and focuses on the exploitation of natural resources or population as labour, typically to the benefit of the metropole. This category includes trading posts as well as larger colonies where colonists would constitute much of the political and economic administration. Prior to the end of the slave trade and widespread abolition, when indigenous labour was unavailable, slaves were often imported to the Americas, first by the Portuguese Empire, and later by the Spanish, Dutch, French and British.
-Surrogate colonialism involves a settlement project supported by a colonial power, in which most of the settlers do not come from same ethnic group as the ruling power.
-Internal colonialism is a notion of uneven structural power between areas of a state. The source of exploitation comes from within the state.
After the Dutch colonial power burdened by international pressure – had ceded control of all East Indies territories in 1949 (except for the western half of New Guinea), the young nation faced the difficult task of governance and nation-building through a parliamentary system. Soon it became clear that the nation contained various groups that all competed for political power and wanted to impose their views upon the new nation.
Previously, during the colonial period, these groups had already been present. However, they had one common enemy – the Dutch colonizers, which meant that they somewhat set aside their differences. After Independence in 1949, these differences came to the fore. Through his Pancasila concept (referring to the five principles or the official philosophical foundation of Indonesia), introduced in 1945, Sukarno tried to unite these different forces within the new (and highly pluralistic) nation.
Indonesia’s Pancasila is a fusion of elements of socialism, nationalism and monotheism and functioned as the common denominator of all ideologies that were present in Indonesian society (in fact Sukarno’s successor Suharto would use this Pancasila concept as a powerful tool of repression during his authoritarian New Order government). The only group that objected to the Pancasila as formulated by Sukarno were the stricter Muslims. They wanted to add the provision that Muslims should implement Islamic Law (Shariah), which was not agreed upon by Sukarno as it would jeopardize the unity of the nation. Although containing the world’s largest Muslim population, there are millions of Christians, Catholics, Hindus and Buddhists as well as a large group of nominal Muslims in the country (who would not support the introduction of Islamic Law).
The lack of consensus among the various groups about what sort of nation Indonesia should be meant that governing the vast archipelago was a hazardous undertaking. Other issues were problematic as well.
For example, the Outer Islands (blessed by an abundance of natural resources) resented the political and economic dominance of the island of Java. As a result, a series of regional rebellions occurred in the 1950s.
These were the Darul Islam in West Java, a secessionist movement in the South Moluccas, and the PPRI/Permesta rebellions. Also West papua and Aceh resented Javanese domination.
From the end of World War II, Indonesian republicans (Java) had been trying to secure Indonesian independence from Dutch colonial control. From 16–25 July 1946, the Dutch organised a conference in the town of Malino on Celebes (Sulawesi) as part of their attempt to arrange a federal solution for Indonesia. The Malino Conference resulted in plans for a state in Borneo and another for East Indonesia (then called the “Great East”), areas where the Dutch held both de facto and de jure control. Later that year, the unilaterally declared Republic of Indonesia agreed to the principle of a federal Indonesia with the Linggadjati Agreement of 15 November. The Denpasar Conference of 18–24 December was held to work out the specifics of a state to be called the State of the Great East (Indonesian: Negara Timoer Besar). That state was established on 24 December and, on 27 December, renamed the State of East Indonesia (Negara Indonesia Timoer or NIT. With the realisation of the United States of Indonesia on 27 December 1949, East Indonesia became a constituent of the new federation. In much of Indonesia, the federal USI was seen as an illegitimate regime foisted on the islands by the Dutch, and many of the federal states began to merge with the Republic of Indonesia.
However many in East Indonesia, with its non-Javanese population and greater number of Christians, opposed moves toward a unitary state. East Indonesia had already dealt with the “Twelfth Province” secessionist movement in Minahasa in 1948. The formation of East Indonesia’s last cabinet in May 1950 with the intention of dissolving the state into the Republic of Indonesia led to open rebellion in the largely Christian Moluccas and the proclamation of an independent Republic of the South Moluccas (RMS).
-The USI was dissolved on 17 August 1950 and the rebellion in the Moluccas was crushed in November of the same year.
-The East Sumatra revolution
The East Sumatra revolution, also known as the East Sumatra Social Revolution, began on 3 March 1946. Across 25 “native states”, many sultanates were overthrown and mass killing of members of the aristocratic families were performed by armed groups (Indonesian nationalist). To the opportunistic pergerakan militants (especially Partai Komunis Indonesia Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) Communists: Karim Marah Sutan and Luat Siregar), the revolutionary movement was seen as one of the means for East Sumatra to be freed from colonial overlordship and to join the larger Indonesian National Revolution.
Participants of the revolution were believed to be provoked by leaders to kill aristocrats and create violence. These belligerents had three prime objectives: to eliminate the sultans and aristocrats (who were seen as Dutch allies), to seize their wealth (as sources of funding for the Indonesian independence campaign) and to eliminate the region’s feudal social structure. The revolution brought about the formation of Negara Sumatera Timur (NST/the East Sumatran State), which was dissolved when the region became part of the Indonesian republic.
Twelve of the original thirteen members of the committee that formed to demand autonomy for East Sumatra were Malays or Simalunguns.
East Sumatra’s first, and only, head of state was Dr. Tengku Mansur, uncle of the former Sultan of Asahan and leader of the prewar Malay organization Persatuan Sumatera Timur (East Sumatra Association). The new government did not attempt to reinstate the traditional sultanates of the region, but it also made no attempts to hold democratic elections or incorporate “moderates” of other ethnicities into its administration, in spite of constant Dutch pressure to do so.
Following the Dutch-Indonesian Round Table Conference in late 1949, the Dutch withdrew military support from the State of East Sumatra and its local authority began to collapse. Dr. Mansur entered into negotiations with Mohammad Hatta to reunify East Sumatra with the Republic of Indonesia in May, 1950. East Sumatra merged with Tapanuli to become the province of North Sumatra on August 15, 1950.
Republic of South Maluku 1950-1963
The Japanese occupied all of the Dutch East Indies from 1942 to 1945. Unlike the collaborationists found in the Western Indonesian islands, the Moluccans retreated to the mountains to maintain guerrilla war against the Japanese, eventually forming a South Moluccan brigade. And, at war’s end, they saw in the approaching independence of the 3,500 once-Dutch islands, the realization of the dream of South Moluccan statehood.
Indonesia became a semi-autonomous nation under the Linggadjati Agreement of 1947 which made The Netherlands East Indies a federation of “autonomous states” as part of the greater Dutch Commonwealth under Dutch military authority. Java and Sumatra were the principal states. The South Moluccas technically became part of the State of east Indonesia, which also included Celebes and the predominantly Moslem North Moluccas (The South Moluccan brigade was incorporatecd into the Dutch forces of Eastern Indonesia and helped repulse a Jvanese invasion in violation of the Linggadjati Agreement.)
Representatives of the Netherlands, together with those of Java, the South Moluccas and all the other autonomous states of the East Indies, gathered in 1948 at the Round Table Conference in The Hague. Here the ‘United States of Indonesia” was formed. Parties present agreed as follow:
· That the new federation would be composed of self-governing states
· That the people of each state would have an opportunity to agree or disagree with the“definitive” constitution;
· That where one of the autonomous states refused to agree to the conditions, the state would have the right to negotiate a special relationship to both The Netherlands and the United States of Indonesia; and
· That pending the completion of a constitutional structure, each stae would posses equal rights.
However, as soon as the Javanese assumed control in Jakarta, they violated the Round Table agreement. Java’s President Soekarno sought unified nationhood dominated by the principal island.
Failing in its attempts to negotiate with Sukarno, the democratically elected Daerah (Assembly) of the South Moluccas declared its independence as a republic on April 25,1950.
This meant war. In addition to the forces which had fought the Japanese, new recruits prepared to meet invasion from the western islands. And outside of the islands, some 4000 soldiers of the Moluccan brigade of the Dutch army thwarted in their efforts to join their countrymen. Instead of being discharged, they and their families – 12.000 in all – were transported without their consent to the Netherlands.
The preliminary Javanese invasion occurred at Buru on July 13, 1950 with more than 1,000 soldiers killed. On July 25, the South Moluccans petitioned the United Nation to intercede. Mediation efforts were spurned. The principal invasion was a landing at Ambon on September 25, 1950; and more than 15,000 Javanese-led troops fell before the city was taken on November 5th. On December 5th, the South Moluccan army withdrew to the mother island of Ceram.
The Acehnese revolted soon after its inclusion into an independent Republic of Indonesia, a situation created by a complex mix of what the Acehnese regarded as transgressions against and betrayals of their rights.
Soekarno, the first president of Indonesia, had reneged on his promise made on 16 June 1948 that Aceh would be allowed to rule itself in accordance with its religious values which had been in place for centuries. Aceh was politically dismantled and incorporated into the province of North Sumatra in 1950. This resulted in the Acehnese Rebellion of 1953–59 which was led by Daud Beureu’eh who on 20 September 1953 declared a free independent Aceh under the leadership of Sekarmadji Maridjan Kartosoewirjo. In 1959, the Indonesian government attempted to placate the Acehnese by offering wide-ranging freedom in matters relating to religion, education and culture.
Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia 1958.
Prior to the establishment of the PRRI, there were several “rebellions” led by the various regional Army commanders in Sumatra. These events were the result of growing dissatisfaction with the Central Javanese Government and Indonesia’s faltering economic development. The Central Government was seen by some in the outer islands (i.e. outside of Java) as disconnected from the Indonesian people. Some Army commands in the outer islands began covertly operating smuggling operations of Copra and contraband items to improve their financial position. These operations were soon followed with requests for greater economic and political autonomy from the Central Government in Jakarta. After their demands were not met they began to rebel against the government, conducting a series of bloodless coups within their regional command areas, and setting up alternative local government systems. The rebel army commands included:
-Dewan Banteng (Banteng Council) in Central Sumatra which on 20 December 1956 under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Hussein (Commander of the 4th regiment of the Territorial Army in Sumatra) began to take over the local government of Central Sumatra.
Dewan Gajah (Elephant Council) in East Sumatra which on 22 December 1956 under Colonel Mauluddin Simbolon (Supreme Commander of the Territorial Army in Sumatra) began to take over the local government in East Sumatra and cut all relation with the Central Government.
-Dewan Garuda (Garuda Council) in South Sumatra which on 15 January 1957 under Lieutenant Colonel Barlian took over the local government of South Sumatra.
It is important to note that Governor Roeslan, who yielded powers to Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Husein, said that “the Banteng Council in particular and the people of Central Sumatra in general have no wish to build a State within a State, because relations between the Regional and the Central Government of the Republic of Indonesia will certainly return to normal when there is a Cabinet that can eliminate all the feelings of confusion, tension and dissatisfaction that threaten the security of the Indonesian State and People”.
West New Guinea 1950-1962
Even after Indonesia’s independence in 1949, West Papua was retained by the Dutch for various reasons. However, Javanese claimed all of the territory of the former Dutch East Indies, including the Dutch New Guinea holdings. The Javanese repeatedly launched military operations against West Papua in 1961 and 1962, but these failed. It was agreed through the New York Agreement in 1962 that the adminsitration of West Papua would be temporarily transferred from the Netherlands to Indonesia and that by 1969 the UN should oversee a referendum of the West Papuan people, in which they would be given two choices: to remain part of Indonesia or to become an independent nation. This vote was referred to as the ‘Act of Free Choice’.
However, the vote was in fact conducted by consensus decision-making, or consensus of elders, numbering slightly over 1,000. 1,000 of these men had been selected by the Indonesian military.
This body was coerced at gunpoint into unanimously voting to remain part of Indonesia; the territory was named as the province of Irian Jaya, later Papua.
The result of the compromised vote was rejected by West Papuan nationalists, who established the Free Papua Movement (OPM). The independence movement for West Papua has continued, primarily through peaceful protest and international pressure, but also guerrilla warfare against the Javanese administration.
Indonesian colonization of East Timor 1975-2002
The Indonesian occupation of East Timor began in December 1975 and lasted until October 1999. After centuries of Portuguese colonial rule in East Timor, a 1974 coup in Portugal led to the decolonisation of its former colonies, creating instability in East Timor and leaving its future uncertain. After a small-scale civil war, the pro-independence Fretilin declared victory in the capital city of Dili and declared an independent East Timor on 28 November 1975.
Claiming that its assistance had been requested by East Timorese leaders, Indonesian military forces invaded East Timor on 7 December 1975 and by 1979 they had all but destroyed the armed resistance to the occupation. Following a controversial “Popular Assembly” which many said was not a genuine act of self-determination, Indonesia declared the territory a province of Indonesia (Timor Timur).
Immediately after the invasion, the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council passed resolutions condemning Indonesia’s actions in East Timor and calling for its immediate withdrawal from the territory.
Australia and Indonesia were the only nations in the world which recognised East Timor as a province of Indonesia, and soon afterwards they began negotiations to divide resources found in the Timor Gap. Other governments, including those of the United States, Japan, Canada and Malaysia, also supported the Indonesian government. The invasion of East Timor and the suppression of its independence movement, however, caused great harm to Indonesia’s reputation and international credibility.
For twenty-four years the Indonesian government subjected the people of East Timor to routine and systematic torture, sexual slavery, extrajudicial executions, massacres, and deliberate starvation. The 1991 Santa Cruz Massacre caused outrage around the world, and reports of other such killings were numerous. Resistance to Indonesian rule remained strong; in 1996 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to two men from East Timor, Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and José Ramos-Horta, for their ongoing efforts to peacefully end the occupation. A 1999 vote to determine East Timor’s future resulted in an overwhelming majority in favour of independence, and in 2002 East Timor became an independent nation.
The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor estimated the number of deaths during the occupation from famine and violence to be between 90,800 and 202,600, including between 17,600 and 19,600 violent deaths or disappearances, out of a 1999 population of approximately 823,386. The truth commission held Indonesian forces responsible for about 70% of the violent killings.
After the 1999 vote for independence, paramilitary groups working with the Indonesian military undertook a final wave of violence during which most of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed. The Australian led International Force for East Timor restored order and following the departure of Indonesian forces from East Timor, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor administered the territory for two years, establishing a Serious Crimes Unit to investigate and prosecute crimes committed in 1999. Its limited scope and the small number of sentences delivered by Indonesian courts have caused numerous observers to call for an international tribunal for East Timor.
Oxford University held an academic consensus calling the occupation of East Timor a genocide and Yale University teaches it as part of its Genocide Studies program.
Last stage: Colonization by transmigration 1950-present.
the resettlement of people loyal to a central government – is the main tactic for “smokeless wars” of invasion and occupation by Third World states against Fourth World Nations and peoples.
Java’s war on the peoples it claims as Indonesian civilians is called transmigrasi (Transmigration).
It represents the world’s largest invasion force. The 1984 – 1989 Five Year Plan called for the movement of 5,000,000 people from Java, Madura and Bali specifically to those areas that resist Java’s imposed sovereignty: Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Moluccas, East Timor, and West Papua.
Over the next 20 years, some 65,000,000 more people will be moved to Javanize Fourth World territories claimed by Indonesia.
Java no longer gives overpopulation as the principal reason behind transmigration. Centralized political and economic goals – not humanitarian ones – are the justifications.
The Jakarta government lists seven goals for its transmigration program: To promote national unity, national security, an equal distribution of the population, national development, the preservation of nature, help to the farming classes, and improvement of the condition of local peoples.
What transmigration has actually accomplished is very different: The spread of poverty, forced displacement of indigenous peoples from their homes, communities and lands; deforestation and soil damage at the rate of some 200,000 hectares per year (to total 3,600,000 deforested hectares by 1989); destruction of local governments, economies, means of sustainable resource use; forced assimilation programs; widespread use of military force to “pacify” areas and to break local resistance by bombing and massacres of civilians.
The program, however, has been controversial as fears from native populations of “Javanization” have strengthened separatist movements and communal violence. The incomers are Madurese and Javanese.
The program has recently been abolished in 2015 by the new president Joko Widodo.
Indigenous groups of the Republic Indonesia who seek independence of colonial Javanese rule;
Proposed state: Republic of Aceh
Militant organisation: Free Aceh Movement (negotiated peace with the Indonesian government in 2005, and now it is a civil movement, but the separatism still has supporters).
Proposed state: Kalimantan Borneo or Malaysia.
Proposed state: South Moluccas
Government-in-exile: Republik Maluku Selatan (member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization)
Advocacy group: Maluku Sovereignty Front.
Proposed state: Gerakan Kemerdekaan Minahasa.
Proposed state: Republic of West Papua
Militant organisation: Free Papua Movement.
Proposed state: Riau.