POW CAMP: During World War Two, Indonesians were interned in a camp at Casino.
POW CAMP: During World War Two, Indonesians were interned in a camp at Casino. Casino District Historical Soc

Your story - victory, violence and reconciliation

I ENJOYED reading the article in today's Northern Star about Casino's Camp Victory where the Dutch held Indonesian soldiers upon Indonesian independence.

It reminded me of something that happened on a surf trip to Indonesia in about 1992.

I met and befriended an older Australian man who was travelling with his son and his wife - I just can't remember his name.

He had just returned from a trek to central Java.

He told me this story:

His family had farmed tobacco there.

When the Indonesians gained their independence there were reprisals and many white skinned people were targets.

The man lost half his family to an attack.

His family retaliated and killed many of the local villagers.

Some 50 years later, after a career in selling pre loved items in Melbourne he returned to Java with boxes of spectacles, false teeth, hearing aids and other needed items that he had amassed in his career.

He went to the village and announced who he was and that he wanted a meeting with the village.

This occurred and he declared that his family wanted to end their hostilities and make a gesture of peace by giving the needed items to the villagers.

This was accepted by the villagers and reconciliation was achieved.

I was a little sceptical of his story at first but he had also told me that as a boy in Java he had monkeys as pets and he knew how to communicate with them and handle them.

Later that day we walked about looking for lunch.

A fierce chained monkey was scaring passing visitors.

He approached the monkey, pulled some facial expressions and the monkey was soon on his back, gently grooming him.

Anyway it was a wonderful experience to meet this man and hear of his reconciliation.



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