Almost everybody in the Netherlands knows what happened in Indonesia between the 17th and 18th century; we the Dutch colonised many parts for its spices, coffee and other raw materials. Most Dutch people learn this at high school, but usually it is just four pages in your history book. Perhaps we don’t really like to be reminded about this part of our history? Because of this shared history I expected that there would still be some resentment against Dutch people here in Sulawesi, which could lead to a more difficult time collecting data.
If you have read the other blog posts about this international field trip, you have read that Indonesian people we met are not only really kind, but also friendly and generous, also to me a blond haired, blue eyed, typical Dutch young man. I have not experienced any resentment at all against the Dutch. I am amazed at how the people I encountered look at the shared history with the Nederlands. Through multiple conversation with people here in Toraja, I found that they have a fairly positive view towards our shared history.
People told me about the missionaries that came to Toraja. They explained that without the Dutch they would not be Christians which most of the people here are very grateful for as it is the main religion in this region. Another positive aspect – which is even more important to them – is education. The 2nd missionary that came from the Netherlands, named Sir van der Veen, taught local people the alphabet, and how to write and do maths. Because of this there is almost no resentment against the Dutch, at least they didn’t show it towards me.
The reason I write post this is to offer you another perspective on our shared history. I would like to end with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “ We are not makers of history. We are made by history”.