90-year-old Indonesian accuses Dutch colonial army of torture


This 2008 video is called Torture prison, from Dutch colonialism in Indonesia.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Indonesian claims compensation from the Netherlands for torture

Today, 09:49

In the court in The Hague a 90-year-old Indonesian says he was tortured by Dutch soldiers in the former Dutch East Indies in 1947. He claims 50,000 euros compensation from the Dutch government.

The man named Yasman himself is not present in The Hague. The trial goes through a Skype link with a court on Java. The case was instituted by the Dutch Ereschulden Foundation.

It is the first time that an Indonesian charges the Dutch state for torture in former Dutch East Indies. The state has already paid damages for executions and rapes during the Dutch military actions there, but so far not (yet) for torture. That makes the case important, says lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld who defends Yasman.

Electrocuted

The torture is said to have occurred in 1947, in the first military campaign of the Netherlands to stop Indonesian independence.

Zegveld: “The man was in training at the Indonesian army at that time, was detained and imprisoned in a sugar factory in east Java near Kebon Agung, was tortured there, beaten with sticks on his head, cigarettes burned on his skin and he has been electrocuted. That way he has been imprisoned for thirteen months.”

Whether Yasman’s story is correct is difficult to determine because there is no evidence, Zegveld acknowledges. “That’s why it is so important for the court to hear the man. It depends very much on his statement, but his story is quite detailed, and his sister says he was gone for a long time. When he returned, he was greatly famished. May be that all is enough.”

“There is not much more available, but his story is useful in the context of the [so-called as euphemism] police actions when violence was used.” The term ‘police actions’ describes the Dutch military actions in Indonesia.

Injuries

The Dutch state acknowledged that the places where Yasman said he had been imprisoned were indeed prisons. The Red Cross has also written reports stating that in those places things happened “incorrectly”.

The purpose of today’s hearing is to hear Yasman’s story. If the court continues with the case, then, according to Zegveld, an expert will go to Indonesia to look at the man’s injuries.

He must then judge whether the dents on his skull and the burns on his skin are indeed the result of the abuse in the 1940’s.

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Blonde rescued orangutan named Alba


This video from Borneo in Indonesia says about itself:

Meet Alba, the Albino Orangutan

15 May 2017

Following a global campaign to help us find a special name for the 5-year old albino orangutan, BOS Foundation is delighted to announce that this little girl is named Alba, which means ‘white’ in Latin and ‘dawn’ in Spanish. Hopefully a new dawn will come for these precious animals. The name Alba was selected from thousands of suggestions sent from around the world at name@orangutan.or.id or on social media quoting the hashtag #albinoorangutan.

A veterinarian says that in the ten days since Alba was saved from her captors, being very thin then, has already added 4.5 kilos to her weight.

Dusky scrubfowl searches for food


This video says about itself:

13 July 2016

Dusky Scrubfowl are a member of a family of birds called megapodes, meaning “large feet.” This individual is using its feet to search through the leaf litter for food such as insects and other invertebrates.

This species lives in eastern Indonesia.

‘Structural Dutch crimes in anti-Indonesian independence war’


Indonesians about to be executed by Dutch army, ANP photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Extreme violence in the Dutch East Indies was structural”

Today, 16:03

In the former Dutch East Indies structural mass violence was used and Dutch soldiers committed war crimes, with the political and military leadership in The Hague and Batavia [now: Jakarta] knowing that.

This is the conclusion of the new historical study The burning villages of General Spoor [De brandende kampongs van Generaal Spoor] by historian Remy Limpach, which was presented today.

Limpach consulted official archives for his research, as well as diaries, letters and memoirs. “I encountered in them thousands of cases of extreme violence. All forms of violence that you can imagine. Torture, rape, the killing of prisoners and the burning of villages.”

The governments in Batavia and The Hague, the main culprits, did not intervene. “They had started the war and approved the policy. They also had made available little resources and manpower, and that stimulated the occurrence of extreme violence.”

According to Limpach the government demanded the impossible from soldiers. “There was not enough material. Soldiers had to monitor huge areas with too few troops. That meant that the soldiers were exhausted and weary. Through grueling long patrols they got a short fuse.”

Excesses report

More than 200,000 Dutch soldiers fought between 1945 and 1950 against Indonesian independence. In 1969 Parliament had asked for a so-called Excesses Memorandum. Historian Cees Fasseur was commissioned by the government to investigate the violence in Indonesia. In the report were listed 110 cases of exceptional violence. Fasseur spoke then of “excesses” and not of war crimes.

How many soldiers were involved in extreme violence, Limpach can not say. …

The government does not rule out a new investigation into the war which the Netherlands waged in the Dutch East Indies, said Ministers Koenders (Foreign Affairs) and Hennis (Defense) after the publication of the book by Limpach.

See also here. And here. And here. And here.

Also from Dutch NOS TV today (translated):

“It’s been a lot dirtier war than we had assumed for a long time or wanted to face,” said Peter Romijn at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. He talks about a new publication by historian Remy Limpach.

Pilot whales beached in Indonesia


This video says about itself:

16 June 2016

At least eight pilot whales have died after around 32 whales were found stranded on the coast of Randu village in the Bojonegoro Regency of Indonesia’s main island of Java, Thursday, reportedly due to extreme weather patterns occurring over the previous few days.

The stranded whales, discovered on Wednesday, prompted a rescue-attempt by hundreds of locals in the East Java province, including fishermen and local officers, who attempted to push the whales back to sea using their vessels.

Some locals took to the water using their boats to drive other whales in the area further out of the area in fear of further whales being stranded, while rescuers used tarpaulins to wrap around the beached sea mammals and pull them back out to sea.

A total of 23 whales were successfully pushed out to sea, however despite their best efforts, at least eight of the whales had died by Thursday morning with several left extremely weak.

The situation is thought to have been caused by recent changes in sea temperature. Local residents are preparing the deceased whales for burial, as part of a local tradition grounded in the belief that whales purposely come ashore to end their journey.

From the International Business Times:

Dozens Of Pilot Whales Stranded On Indonesia Beach, Several Feared Dead

By Mary Pascaline On 06/16/16 AT 7:55 AM

Over 30 whales were stranded on a beach in Java, Indonesia an official said Thursday. At least eight of those are reportedly feared dead.

The whales are most likely short-finned pilot whales that live in tropical and subtropical waters. At least 32 of them came ashore during high tide early Wednesday in Probolinggo, East Java province, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

“At first there were just one or two whales swimming near the shore, and the nature of whales is that if they are sick they will come near the shore,” a spokesman for the local maritime and fisheries office told AFP. “But whales have such high social interaction – when one fell ill, they approached the sick one to swim back to sea… When the tide fell, all of them were trapped.”

A mass rescue operation involving hundreds of fishermen and local officials managed to pull most of the stranded whales into deep sea. Rescuers used tarps to wrap around the stranded whales and pull them out to sea while swimmers dove into the water to drive others out of the area.

The number of whales feared dead is unclear with some reports saying at least eight whales have died while others report numbers as high as 15.

Indonesian wild birds and cage birds


This video is called Birds of Indonesia.

From BirdLife:

One more in a cage; no more in the wild

By Shaun Hurrell, 27 May 2016

A new study shows that, without action, soon the only places to see and hear Indonesian bird species will be in cages.

Keeping birds as pets is an integral part of Indonesia’s national culture. From town to village throughout the archipelago, you’re very likely to find caged birds in restaurants, shops and homes. But as with many things, when a trend becomes popular, it can get out of hand. Beneath the sweet sound of a restaurant songbird or the colourful feathers of the family prized-and-caged-possession, a chaotic demand for pets is decimating Indonesian bird populations.

The work showed that 13 bird species found in Sundaic Indonesia are at serious risk of extinction. Surely holding the status of Indonesia’s national bird would render the Javan Hawk-eagle Nisaetus bartelsi immune to wanton over-harvesting? No, even this incredible species is rapidly disappearing.

The study, which is co-authored by BirdLife’s Research Fellow Dr Nigel Collar, also found that an additional 14 bird subspecies are in danger of extinction.

Besides the Javan Hawk-eagle, the other full species at risk include the Silvery Woodpigeon Columba argentina, Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil, Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea, Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus forsteni, Javan Green Magpie Cissa thalassina, Black-winged Myna Acridotheres melanopterus, Bali Myna Leucopsar rothschildi, Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus, Javan White-eye Zosterops flavus, Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush Garrulax rufifrons, Sumatran Laughingthrush Garrulax bicolor and Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora.

Although most of them are kept as pets, the Helmeted Hornbill is an exception: thousands of these birds are being illegally killed and traded for their unique solid bill casques, carved as a substitute for elephant ivory, to meet demand in China.

The Javan Green Magpie was recognised as a full species as recently as 2013; it was simultaneously documented as being in grave danger of extinction owing to trade pressure. In direct response, the Threatened Asian Songbird Alliance (TASA), operating as a formal body of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), initiated a programme of captive breeding in a number of zoos, creating assurance colonies for security and propagation purposes.

Such conservation breeding is the last hope for some of the taxa affected. According to the study: “Regrettably five subspecies…are probably already extinct, at least in the wild, due primarily to trade.” They include one subspecies of a parrot (Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet), three subspecies of the accomplished songster White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus and one subspecies of the Hill Myna Gracula religiosa, popular because of its ability to mimic human voices.

“Whether it’s species or subspecies, the message is the same: excessive trade is wiping out Indonesia’s wild bird species at an alarming rate”, said Dr Chris Shepherd, TRAFFIC’s Director for Southeast Asia and a co-author of the study. “Despite the alarming scale and consequences of the bird trade, governments and even conservation organisations often don’t view this issue as a high priority. This hampers efforts to prevent further losses.”

The solutions to the bird trade crisis in Indonesia lie in a combination of better law enforcement, public awareness campaigns, in situ management, conservation breeding, conversion of trappers to wardens and field, market and genetic surveys, say the study’s authors.

Meanwhile as certain favoured species disappear because of trapping, others are targeted as “next-best” substitutes, while commercial breeders sometimes hybridise taxa for “better” effects, leading to further conservation complexities.

The study’s authors also consider whether commercial breeding could help alleviate the situation, but conclude that “while attractive in theory, [commercial breeding] presents difficulties that are probably insurmountable in practice.”

Adapted from TRAFFIC press release.

The 2016 Red List reveals that Indonesia’s love of songbirds is a tainted love; unsustainable trapping is driving many endemic species towards extinction: here.