The Dutch government has given ten widows nearly $27,000 after their lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld had managed to make a deal. Also the government has adopted a measure paving the way to compensate all widows with similar cases. It's due to Zegveld's endless efforts that victims of Dutch atrocities in Indonesia finally receive some kind of justice, something that was impossible for more than 65 years.
In 2011 widows in West Java who lost their husbands due to summary executions were also compensated. A breakthrough after the Dutch government under pressure from veterans who fought in Indonesia always refused to admit any wrongdoing.
But even until now the Dutch government has not recognised the Indonesian Independence Day on August 17, 1945, something the government in Jakarta would highly appreciate. That and the fact that the Dutch ambassador has apologised to the widows in their absence shows that even after 66 years the Dutch gesture is not wholeheartedly.
The widows were invited to attend the ceremony in Jakarta but due to their high age and the long journey none of them is physically able to attend. "We hope the Dutch government will come to me and shake my hand," says 93 year old Nani. "That would mean a lot to me.”
The ambassador has announced that he will soon travel to South Sulawesi to apologise to the widows directly.
(Source: Al Jazeera, September 12, 2013)