Dutch colonial mass murder in Sulawesi, Indonesia


This video says about itself:

Apocalypse now! Captain Westerling

8 December 2016

Raymond Pierre Paul Westerling (31 August 1919 – 26 November 1987), nicknamed the Turk, was a Dutch military officer of the KNIL (Royal Netherlands East Indies Army). He waged a massacre in Sulawesi during the Indonesian National Revolution after World War II. He was also responsible for a coup attempt against the Indonesian government in January 1950, a month after the official transfer of sovereignty. Both actions were denounced as war crimes by the Indonesian authorities.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

‘More victims of mass executions in Sulawesi in 1947′

Today, 08:52

During mass executions by Dutch soldiers in Sulawesi, more Indonesians died in 1947 than was known so far. This is the conclusion of journalist Manon van den Brekel after months of investigation in the Indonesian island. According to her, not 1,200 but 1550 Indonesians were executed by troops led by the officers Jan Vermeulen, Jan Stufkens and Berthold Rijborz.

Van den Brekel, who works for De Correspondent site and others, concludes this in a new book about Dutch actions in Indonesia in the late 1940’s. On evidence of witnesses, she found five places of mass executions about which nothing could be found in Dutch official archives. She also found a place about which “summary information” was available in the Dutch National Archives.

The executions took place between mid-January and mid-February 1947. During that same period, also the infamous [self-styled war criminal] Captain Raymond Westerling participated in “purifications” in Sulawesi, which also executed people summarily, with the agreement of the Dutch government.

These actions are also estimated to have cost hundreds of Indonesians their lives, although the executions under Westerling’s leadership have never been investigated thoroughly, as has now been done with the actions of Vermeulen, Stufkens and Rijborz.

‘Many more witnesses’

Van den Brekel says to the NOS that she was amazed at the number of villagers on Sulawesi that could recall the events. She spoke for her research with over 90 witnesses, the youngest of whom was 75 years old. “But there were more.”

NOS correspondent Michel Maas sees the new execution figure as a footnote. “The Dutch army was guilty for a lot more executions than has been admitted,” he says. Indonesia says that there were 40,000 victims just in Sulawesi.

Dutch colonial murders in Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia: here.

Hog-nosed rat discovery in Sulawesi, Indonesia


This 1 October 2015 is about a newly discovered rat species in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

From the Journal of Mammalogy:

A hog-nosed shrew rat (Rodentia: Muridae) from Sulawesi Island, Indonesia

Jacob A. Esselstyn, Anang S. Achmadi, Heru Handika, Kevin C. Rowe

29 September 2015

Abstract

We document a new genus and species of shrew rat from the north peninsula of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. The new taxon is known only from the type locality at 1,600 m elevation on Mt. Dako, in the district of Tolitoli.

It is distinguished from all other Indonesian murines by its large, flat, pink nose with forward-facing nares. Relative to other Sulawesi murines, the species has extremely large ears (~ 21% of head and body length), very long urogenital hairs, prominent and medially bowing hamular processes on the pterygoid bones, extremely long and procumbent lower incisors, and unusually long articular surfaces on the mandibular condyles.

Morphologically, the new taxon is most similar to a group of endemic Sulawesi rats known commonly as “shrew rats.” These are long faced, carnivorous murines, and include the genera Echiothrix, Melasmothrix, Paucidentomys, Sommeromys, and Tateomys. Our Bayesian and likelihood analyses of DNA sequences concatenated from 5 unlinked loci infer the new shrew rat as sister to a clade consisting of Melasmothrix, Paucidentomys, and Echiothrix, suggesting that Sulawesi shrew rats represent a clade.

The Sulawesi water rat, Waiomys mamasae, was sister to the shrew rats in our analyses. Discovery of this new genus and species brings known shrew rat diversity on Sulawesi to 6 genera and 8 species. The extent of morphological diversity among these animals is remarkable considering the small number of species currently known.

‘Dutch government knows names of Indonesians murdered during war of independence’


This video says about itself:

Court to rule on Dutch massacre in Indonesia

14 September 2011

A Dutch court is expected to rule if survivors of a massacre carried out more than 60 years ago will get compensation.

According to Indonesian researchers, Dutch troops wiped out almost the entire male population of a village in West Java, two years before the former colony declared independence in 1949.

Indonesia declared independence in 1945. The Dutch government recognized that only after four years of war later.

Most Indonesians do not know about the massacre that took place in Rawagede.

Only recently has a monument been built to remind residents that Dutch soldiers killed all the men of the village.

The only living witnesses are now in their 80s, and illiterate, after having to fend for themselves following the deaths of their husbands.

“There were dead bodies everywhere, many of which we found in the river after the shooting stopped,” said Cawi, a survivor.

Of the nine widows and survivors who have filed the case, three have died while waiting for the verdict.

The Dutch government has admitted that war crimes were committed in Rawagede but it says the survivors filed their claims for compensation too late.

They should have done this within 30 years after the atrocities were committed, says the Dutch government.

It is now up to the judge to decide whether it is justified to have a time limit on war crimes.

The massacre in Rawagede is not the only village where the Netherlands has an unresolved dark history.

Al Jazeera’s Step Vassen reports from Rawagede.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

The Dutch government has a list of names of Indonesians who were executed in 1947 on the island of Sulawesi by Dutch soldiers, says online journalism platform De Correspondent. Those names are important in a lawsuit which relatives of the victims have filed against the government.

Five children of men who were shot claim damages. The government refused because these cases supposedly had been barred. On March 11 the court decided in favour of the children, but some of them must still prove that their father was actually among those executed.

Archive

Now De Correspondent writes that the government itself ever since the nineteen seventies has lists of some 180 names of men who were summarily executed in 1947. These lists, along with about sixty testimonies by both Dutch and Indonesian witnessses are in the National Archives.

‘Shot like dogs’

A letter to one ‘Paul’ is one of the hundreds of documents in the National Archives that focus on the mass executions. An excerpt:

“Dear Paul, (…) have witnessed this morning the confirmation of the power of Dutch bayonets in the Supa region. (…) Yesterday there was a large-scale action (…) to put an end to the evil of bandits and terrorists. Burned some villages, people gathered and based on denunciations by a bunch of spies then over two hundred people (…) shot like dogs, with revolvers.”

Sulawesi, which was called in colonial times Celebes, was regarded as a bulwark of resistance against Dutch rule. To prevent villagers from providing food and shelter to the insurgent nationalists, Dutch soldiers burned villages and male residents were summarily executed.

Illegal

From documents in the National Archives it can be deduced that alone between January 14 and February 14 1947 at least 1200 people in South Sulawesi were killed illegally, says De Correspondent. This refers only to men who were not killed during battles with the Dutch armed forces.

The judge has already ordered the Dutch State twice before to give financial compensation to relatives of victims from Indonesia. In 2011 the surviving widows from the Javanese village Rawagade were vindicated, and the Netherlands in 2013 settled with widows from South Sulawesi. They each received a compensation of 20,000 euros.

New fanged frog species discovery in Indonesia


This video says about itself:

17 February 2013

Male Rough Guardian Frog (Limnonectes finchi) protect their tadpoles. Look carefully and you will see the tadpoles on this males back, Danau Girang Field Centre, Lower Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysia. Endemic to Borneo.

From PLoS One:

A Novel Reproductive Mode in Frogs: A New Species of Fanged Frog with Internal Fertilization and Birth of Tadpoles

Djoko T. Iskandar, Ben J. Evans, Jimmy A. McGuire

December 31, 2014

Abstract

We describe a new species of fanged frog (Limnonectes larvaepartus) that is unique among anurans in having both internal fertilization and birth of tadpoles. The new species is endemic to Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. This is the fourth valid species of Limnonectes described from Sulawesi despite that the radiation includes at least 15 species and possibly many more. Fewer than a dozen of the 6455 species of frogs in the world are known to have internal fertilization, and of these, all but the new species either deposit fertilized eggs or give birth to froglets.

See also here.

New bird species discovery in Indonesia


This video from Indonesia is about the newly discovered species Muscicapa sodhii.

From the Birds Alive newsletter:

Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher (Muscicapa sodhii)

A new species of Muscicapa flycatcher, which has been observed on several occasions since 1997 in Sulawesi, is described. The authors collected two specimens in central Sulawesi in 2012, and based on a combination of morphological, vocal and genetic characters they describe it, named as Muscicapa sodhii, more than 15 years after the first observations. The new species is superficially similar to the highly migratory, boreal-breeding Grey-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa griseisticta, which winters in Sulawesi.

See also (in Indonesian) here.

Scientific description of the new species: here.

World’s oldest art discovered in Indonesia


This video about Sulawesi in Indonesia is called Cave art in the tropics.

From Nature:

World’s oldest art found in Indonesian cave

Analysis of images discovered in 1950s counters Eurocentric view of creativity’s origins.

David Cyranoski

8 October 2014

Artwork in an Indonesian cave has been found to date back at least 40,000 years, making it the oldest sign yet of human creative art — likely pre-dating art from European caves.

The findings, published on 8 October in Nature, undermine a Eurocentric view of the origins of human creativity and could prompt a ‘gold rush’ to find even older art on the route of human migration from Africa to the east.

The analysis hints at “just what a wealth of undiscovered information there is in Asia”, says Alistair Pike, an archaeologist at the University of Southampton, UK, who in 2013 identified what had been considered the world’s oldest cave art, in Europe, and had no involvement in the current project. “This paper will likely prompt a hunt.”

The Indonesian images, discovered in a limestone cave on the island of Sulawesi in the 1950s, had previously been thought to date back only 10,000 years. Anything older would, it was assumed, have deteriorated.

Even after a technology that could test that assumption, uranium-thorium dating, became available, no one thought to apply it to the Indonesian cave — until now. Though the paint itself cannot be dated, uranium-thorium dating can estimate the age of the bumpy layers of calcium carbonate (known as ‘cave popcorn’) that formed on the surface of the paintings. As mineral layers are deposited, they draw in uranium. Because uranium decays into thorium at a known rate, the ratio of uranium to thorium isotopes in a sample indicates how old it is.

The researchers dated 12 stencils of human hands and two images of large animals. Because they sampled the top layer of calcium carbonate, the uranium dating technique gave them a minimum age for each sample.

They found that the oldest stencil was at least 39,900 years old — 2,000 years older than the minimum age of the oldest European hand stencil. An image of a babirusa, or ‘pig-deer’, resembling an aubergine with stick-like legs jutting from each end, was estimated to be 35,400 years old — around the same age as the earliest large animal pictures in European caves.

This video from Sulawesi says about itself:

17 December 2013

A Video about the Babirusa in its natural habitat, the Paguyaman Forest. Other animals such as Heck’s macaque, reticulated python, water monitor lizard, oriental whipsnake, Gunther’s keelback and various birds like knobbed hornbill or emerald dove are also shown.

The Nature article continues:

The hand stencils look similar to those found in Europe. But the animal pictures, in addition to reflecting local animals rather than mammoths as in Europe, are stylistically different. The Indonesian images “look ‘line-y’, almost like brush strokes”, says Pike, whereas early European images “look dabbed, almost like finger paint”.

“It allows us to move away from the view that Europe was special,” says Maxime Aubert, an archaeologist at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, who led the team. “There was some idea that early Europeans were more aware of themselves and their surroundings. Now we can say that’s not true.”

Researchers posit two theories for the evolution of such artwork — either it arose independently in Indonesia, or early humans leaving Africa already had the capacity to make art, and carried it to multiple areas.

Pike thinks that researchers should seek evidence of art along the southern migration route. “India is the most obvious place to look,” he says. “I expect we’ll start getting a lot more photos [of images covered in calcium carbonate] from along that corridor from people who want to date them. This may move the field along very rapidly.” Southeast Asia will also be raked over, he predicts. There are hundreds more caves in that region of Sulawesi alone, and Aubert has also started looking in Borneo.

The discovery weakens a much-debated theory that Neanderthals, who were present in Europe until around 41,000 years ago, might have been responsible for the cave art there. “There were no Neanderthals in Sulawesi,” says Pike. But the hand stencils and choice of subject are very similar to the Indonesian figures, he adds.

Aubert hopes that the discovery might draw attention to the need to protect the caves, many of which have been damaged by mining and other industrial activity. Many of the paintings are flaking off, he says. He hopes that the site might finally, after years of candidacy, be designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Education, Social and Cultural Organization, which would accelerate conservation efforts.

See also here.

Saving Sulawesi’s ‘pig-deer’, the babirusa: here.