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Jakarta Post

A year of historical significance

  • Bambang Soemarwoto

    Leiden

Leiden   /   Sat, August 15 2020   /  01:00 am
Speed painter Eggy Yunaedi paints portraits of founding fathers Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta in Rengasdengklok, Karawang regency, West Java, to commemorate the 75th Independence Day. (Eggy Yunaedi/File)

On Aug. 17, 1945, Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta proclaimed the independence of a new nation state, the Republic of Indonesia. They did it on behalf of the peoples, the inhabitants of the vast archipelago, whose ancestors had lived in societies rich in cultures and knowledge. Independence from what? The preamble of the Constitution of the new republic states "freedom is truly the right of all peoples, and therefore colonial domination throughout the world should be abolished, because it is contrary to the principles of humanitarianism and justice" (Hatta’s translation in Journal Asian Survey, March 1965, pp. 139-143). Independence means freedom, that is free from colonialism which by its very nature is inhumane. After the foundation of the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) in 1602, for more than three centuries colonialism deprived peoples living in the archipelago kno...