Dutch king should apologize to Moluccas, says former prime minister Van Agt
The Royal House should apologize for the injustice done to the Moluccan community, said former Prime Minister Dries van Agt. He said he believed the Moluccans should be thanked for their loyalty to the Netherlands, which is not just the prime minister’s business.
“Here lies a task for our king,” Van Agt, 90, said in an interview with the newspaper. He pointed out that Indonesia has already apologized for the Dutch violence during the Indonesian National Revolution. “What worries me is how terrible it must be for the Moluccas never to have received the sympathy of the Royal House. Never at all! ”Declared the former Prime Minister.
Van Agt said it was unprecedented how the Moluccans who fought in the Dutch Royal Indies were taken on ships in 1951 and discharged from the army there. Thousands of Molukken soldiers who fought for the Dutch were threatened with persecution by the fighting for the independence of the Moluccas after the Netherlands lost their colonies. As a “temporary solution”, they were brought to the Netherlands and then dismissed from their military service.
“It couldn’t have been more brutal and abrupt. They lost their honor and dignity overnight, ”he said. In the Netherlands, they were accommodated in former concentration camps, among others, because their stay would be only temporary.
In 1977, as Minister of Justice in Den Uyl’s cabinet, Van Agt ordered an end to the train hijacking in De Punt with a heavy hand. The Moluccas wanted to force the Netherlands to promise the Moluccas an independent state. The hostage ended after three weeks with the help of the Dutch army. Six hijackers and two passengers were killed.
“I have always found it to be a horrible decision, a great burden to live with,” Van Agt said. The former prime minister said he now has a better understanding of the background to the hijacking, but still believes the frustration shouldn’t be expressed that way.
He acknowledged that if he or his predecessors had better managed the interests of the Moluccas, the hijacking may never have happened.