South Moluccas: Commemoration of the Proclamation of the Republic of the South Moluccas
On Monday 25 April 2005, Moluccans in the Netherlands commemorated that 55 years ago the Free Republic of the South Moluccas (RMS) was proclaimed in Ambon, Indonesia. In The Hague several people and the government in exile came together in the Congress Centre. Preceding the commemoration a group of people held a protest march in The Hague. In several other cities in the Netherlands meetings and celebrations were organized.
It is not clear to what extent the idea of free Moluccas is still alive in present-day Netherlands. Recently, the Director of the Moluccan Historical Museum in Utrecht, W. Manuhutu, stated that Moluccans have differing opinions on the issue. Some are convinced that an independent state would solve the problems in the Moluccas. Others hold the opinion that people on the Maluku Islands need to decide for themselves if independence is the best solution.
The opinion among young people differs as well. A lot of young people feel committed to the Moluccas because of the violent outburst there; “[t]hey think that because of the violence they have little to expect from Indonesia and are therefore in favour of independence”, says Manuhutu. The commemoration of the proclamation of the Free Republic in Ambon 25 April 1950, and the raising of the RMS-flag in the Moluccas has been escalating in violence for several years.
At the moment about 45,000 Moluccans are living in the Netherlands.
By Joris van Walt van Praag, UNPO Secretariat