HOW TO TELL HISTORY
A good historian knows that he is drawing. He tells something, a circumstance, an event, from a situation he might not see, he does not face. Because the material of history is actually like a canvas of memory.
Memory is never one and stable, memory is easily lost by the sweep of colors that come later. Like a painting, when it appears before us, it is actually in the process of changing. The painting itself may not be visible anymore, crumpled, damp or even mossy.
Painting or a picture turned out to give a different perception. History is different from mathematics which is an exact science. History is valuable because everyone can tell about a circumstance from different angles. History sparked debate, even contradictions and at the same time, it was easy to remember again. So history is valuable because it is a form of recognition of a perception that the past can not be given a definite form.
Anyone who wants to look back into the past, actually never fully returned. As we can only imagine how cruel the Gayo conquest by Lieutenant Colonel GCE van Daalen (February 8 – July 23, 1904) burned villages, women, and children were killed, the most violent war crimes of Dutch colonial history in Indonesia, we Sad but not present there.
The history of suspicion between Aceh and Gayo was created by the Dutch
History is bitter, but here too people cannot fully look back. On June 14, 1904, with the control of the ruins of Kuta Rih after a very heavy resistance. The crackdown was carried out by killing 189 women, and 59 children. The wounded were 51 people, among them 25 women and 31 children, who were caught alive two women and 61 children. Van Daalen gathered all the Gayo elders and made a speech, I imagined. “This is the result of you helping Aceh in the war against us (the Netherlands). Look when you are slaughtered and humiliated! Are they helping you?”
That, of course, is a fantasy of colonialism. After Batee Iliek’s fortress fell, all the Aceh troops guarding the fort were killed. Practically Aceh had no power in the long war against the Dutch and protected Gayo, the entire coast of Aceh had fallen into the hands of the Dutch. At that time Gayo was the only independent territory that had not been occupied by the Dutch. The last Sultan Muhammad Daudsyah had fled before being caught by the Dutch army.
But indeed colonialism affixed the wounds that in their memories were once colonized. Suspicions between Aceh and Gayo raised by the Dutch are still living in the prejudices that are still alive in the same land despite the different language.
Politics divide et imperia is taken by Dutch colonialism to conquer the nations in Dutch Indies (Indonesia now), the various inter-regional prejudices inherited by them. Unfortunately, it’s all alive amongst us. And it turns out the ghost of colonialism still leave its mark even though he has long been independent Indonesia from Dutch colonialism.
Perhaps we should know that the living humans must now be able to escape from the grudges of the past. Far behind massacres or peace, hidden memories, which never stand full, clean, and alone. There is a gaping wound due to loss, there is an overflow of the heart. That is probably what is called vengeance.
When we dissolve ourselves in the moment of “pasionist memoria”. A sad memory, then it can all pass by giving forgiveness. For that reason history is needed, it is not easy to find written documents to understand the past. The future is in front of us, hurrying and not waiting.
We can face the future bravely if we have forgiven the past, and bridge it to future generations. That’s why we need to imagine a (historical) painting, in a form full of vigor and imagination, we imagine it flying high.
Translate From: Melukis Sejarah
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- PEUCUT KHERKOFF, ACEH-DUTCH WAR MONUMENT; 12 November 2017;
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- ACEH CRAZY OR ACEH PUNGO; 25 February 2018;