Important! Information regarding "whether or not extreme violence ML-KNIL 1945 - 1950
Workgroup Whether or not extreme violence ML-KNIL '45 -'50
In 2017, the four-year research program "Decolonization, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950" was started. This research is a large-scale, joint research program of the Royal Institute for Language, Land and Ethnology (KITLV), the Netherlands Institute for Military History (NIMH) and NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The research was made financially possible by the Dutch government, which decided on 2 December 2016 to support a broad investigation into the events of this period.
Guus van Oorschot is involved in this research, in particular the deployment of the air weapon during that period. A few months ago he called on the Children of the 18th Squadron Foundation to take part in a working group that will help him to gather and interpret information about the role of the ML-KNIL during the decolonization war. Three people have registered: Daan Hendriksz, Jan Hulscher and Karen Pelder.
The working group wants to make an important contribution to point 6: Asymmetric warfare and in particular Part II. The Application of "technical violence" during the decolonization war *.
Here the general research question on excessive violence is focused on the role of our fathers. This point deals with how planes were deployed during that war. Guus has a fair amount of information about this period from the NIMH, even he has found documents that have not yet been inventoried and that he is now processing. Information that he obtains in this way he shares with the members of the working group, who in turn will share this with the Foundation Children of the 18th Sqn. Conversely, there may be members of the Foundation, or children of.. who have information that may be relevant to the research. Think about diaries, photos, etc. The working group would like to get in touch with them. Although the initiative to set up this working group was entirely with Guus, and therefore not on behalf of the Foundation, it is obvious to join together in this.
As 'children of' we are pleased that such a research, with assistance from Indonesia, is being set up. We do make a comment if it is assumed in advance that there has been structural excessive violence. In our view, it must first be investigated to what extent there has been excessive violence, then whether that excessive violence has been structural, and then how it arose and how army management and politics dealt with it. So first the facts, then the interpretation. And in that interpretation the context - a (contra) guerrilla war - must certainly be taken into account. To what extent the violence used by the air weapon can be described as excessive is therefore still the question, and it is precisely when answering that question that we can make an important contribution.
This research has a particularly loaded character. Many members of the working group also showed great emotions: it is not possible that our fathers who after four years of fighting against the Japanese or in a prisoner of war camp have now been suspected of excessive violence? We must also deliberately handle the findings, both internally and externally. The Board of the Children Foundation of the 18th Sqn and the members of the working group have agreed to keep each other informed and to work closely together. We hope and expect that the research will show that the violence of the ML-KNIL has not been excessive
So far what we are working on as a working group. As soon as more data is available, we will notify you.
On behalf of the Working Group "Whether or not excessive violence by ML-KNIL '45-'50"
Karen Pelder, Daan Hendriksz, Jan Hulscher
* "Technical violence" in this investigation means the use of at least artillery, mortars, heavy machine guns, guns of armored vehicles and tanks, the air weapon (with all means at its disposal) and ship's guns. Some forms of infantry violence, such as the use of flame throwers, hand grenades and light machine guns, also form a gray area.
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