Indonesia History Essay example

4483 Words Feb 5th, 2012 18 Pages
Indonesia: Searching For The Ratu Adil

In the 1966 Italian film ‘The Battle of Algeries, the insurgent leader Ben M'Hidi is having a conversation with one of his foot soldiers named Ali. During this scene Ben M’Hidi makes an observation that was true of many nationalist movements for self-determination during the 20th century by stating “It's hard to start a revolution. Even harder to continue it, and hardest of all to win it. But, it's only afterwards, when we have won, that the true difficulties begin. In short, Ali, there's still much to do. “ (Pontecorvo, 1966). Ben M’hidi’s words have rung true of a great many of the national revolutions as the world moved from an imperial world order to one of sovern nation states.
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In 1901, Abraham Kuijper, leader of the Calvinist Christian Democrat party, took power in Holland. This new government, with the support of the Queen, began putting forward a new policy towards the Dutch East Indies. This policy would focus on bringing progress and prosperity to the indigenous peoples on the region, as a way of making reparations for their exploitation, and paying their ‘debt of honor’ (Keat Gin Ooi, 2004, p.490). That year the Dutch Ethical Policy, as it was known, became the official policy of colonial government in Indonesia.
This new ethical policy did not coincide with a lessening of control over the archipelago. Instead it created a greater sense of “white man’s burden” among the Dutch, who were more motivated to expand direct colonial rule and take control from the remaining independent local rulers in an effort to civilize the people (Kratoska, 2001, p.176). In the 19th century Dutch rule was confined largely to Java, with outposts at significant trading posts on the islands of Sumatra, the Moluccas, and Borneo. During the period from 1901 to 1920, through conquest or treaty, Dutch rule was expanded over the entire archipelago.
While Dutch control was expanding, another force was also developing as a result of the new Ethical Policy. Dutch investments into education had been developing a class of

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