Prisoners at Kota Cane

Prisoners at Kota Cane

Prisoners at Kota Cane

Prisoners at Kota Cane

Excerpt

On September 1, 1938 Germany (Hitler) attacked Poland. Thus began World War II. On May 10, 1940 Germany attacked Holland. Within a mere five days Holland’s independence was overthrown. The Dutch, who had colonized Indonesia for 350 years were now themselves to feel the bitterness of colonization.

Holland’s swift subjugation made a deep impression on the people of Indonesia. It caused a hot wind to rush throughout the Indonesian fatherland. The pulse that all this time had beaten slowly as the child of a colony in chains, was now throbbing with fear, awaiting and anticipating what would happen to Indonesia, the colony of a Holland which itself had now been conquered by Germany.

Indonesia, the emerald archipelago of Khattulistiwa, the string of golden islands, had for centuries been controlled by Western capitalism and finally been dominated by the Dutch for three and a half centuries. With an iron fist the Dutch had suppressed and destroyed every independence movement that arose to oppose their authority. Thousands of victims had fallen. The Aceh War, the Bonjol war (Minangkabau), the Sriwijaya war, the Diponegoro (Java) war, the Ternate war, and the rebellions that broke out in every corner of the archipelago, were harshly put down by the Dutch. Until they completely crushed the people’s rebellion in 19261927. The Dutch exiled the leaders still left alive to Digul, in the heart of the Papua jungles. Anyone brave enough to flee from that “hell” prison in the midst of the jungle, was to perish. Struck down by tropical malaria, or the prey of wild animals; swallowed by the wildness of the jungle, or dying as food for cannibals.

All the people’s leaders were exiled there, whether or not they were of major importance, including those educated in Europe, such as Mohammad Hatta, Sjahrir, etc.

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