Dutch police have mounted guard over South Moluccan communities around the sites of the twin sieges in which gunmen have been holding hostage 55 passengers in a hijacked train, and four teachers in a nearby school.
Dutch police have mounted guard over South Moluccan communities around the sites of the twin sieges in which gunmen have been holding hostage 55 passengers in a hijacked train, and four teachers in a nearby school. The gunmen, South Moluccans who are demanding Dutch intervention in their search for independence from Indonesia, have aroused nation-wide anger among the Dutch people -- and some of this anger is being turned on the South Moluccan communities in the country.
SYNOPSIS: There are some 40,000 South Moluccans living in Holland, large numbers of them in tight communities where they've maintained a distinct separate identity despite being resident in the country for up to 27 years -- when Holland granted independence to Indonesia. Police have sealed off two such communities near the site of the sieges at Assan and Bovensmilde in northern Holland -- partly to keep a check on their movements in case any of them are connected with the gunmen, and partly to protect them from any possible violence by Dutchmen seeking revenge. The South Moluccans are staying close to home, and have organised their own vigilante groups in case police protection is not enough. Many of them openly admit they're frightened, and some claim they've been the targets of intimidation.
Children in South Moluccan communities are not well integrated into Dutch society -- they're kept largely apart, and are brought up in the belief that they may one day go back to a homeland which was never a separate nation anyway. But despite that, the South Moluccans in Holland have never lost hope.
The Dutch themselves, generally known for their racial tolerance both at home and in their colonial past, are becoming increasingly bitter at South Moluccan activities.