18 August 2008

Indonesia: 63 years of independence



(photo: Antara-IPPHOS)



The railways: A witness of a young nation’s optimism

The photo was taken on 12 February 1948 at Tugu railway station in Yogyakarta. The young men on the train are members of the Siliwangi Division from Bandung. As a result of the Renville Agreement signed on 15 January 1948, they had been forced to withdraw from Bandung. They arrived at Tugu at midday under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Mokoginta. They were part of the 35,000 man strong Republican forces which had been obliged to leave the regions which had now been placed under Dutch authority under the terms of the Renville Agreement. The train had been considered the most practical form of transport; it allowed the Good Offices Committee to keep a close eye on the movements of troops, which is what had been agreed during the negotiations. It was the journey of an army defeated, not on the battlefield but at the negotiating table.

The girls welcome the defeated war heroes. But the meeting – whatever the circumstances may have been – is a joyous one. The girls with the neat buns and the enthusiastic warriors exchange jokes and smiles. Handsome, attractive young people momentarily freed from taboos and revolution. Perhaps it was their first and their last meeting, or, who knows, perhaps there was a sequel to the story? It was just this sort of romantic moment which inspired the composer Ismail Marzuki to write “Sepasang Mata Bola” (A pair of round eyes), a love song with the revolution as background.


Excerpt from: “The railways and the (de-)colonisation of Indonesia”, Alex Supartono, Jakarta, August 2006


My question, is the dream still ours, or have we lost it along these 63 years?


Kereta api: Saksi optimisme bangsa muda

Foto ini diambil pada 12 Februari 1948 di Stasiun Tugu, Yogyakarta. Pemuda di dalam kereta adalah anggauta Divisi Siliwangi dari Bandung. Sebagai hasil Perjanjian Renville yang ditandatangai pada 15 Januari 1948, mereka diharuskan mundur diri dari Bandung. Mereka tiba di Tugu pada tengah hari dibawah pimpinan Letnan Kolonel Mokoginta. Mereka adalah sebagian dari 35.000 pasukan Republik yang diharuskan meninggalkan daerah yang sesuai Perjanjian Renville beralih daerah kekuasaan Belanda. Kereta api dianggap sarana transporasi yang paling praktis; kereta api memungkinkan Komisi Jasa Baik mengawasi pergerakan pasukan dengan seksama, sesuai dengan kesepakatan Perjanjian Renville. Ini adalah perjalanan tentara yang kalah, bukan di medan perang tapi di meja perundingan.

Gadis-gadis menyambut prajurit yang kalah itu. Tapi pertemuan itu – terlepas dari sebab yang melatarbelakanginya - adalah pertemuan yang penuh kegembiraan. Gadis-gadis dengan rambut terikat rapi dan pejuang yang penuh antusiasme saling bergurau dan melempar senyum. Anak-anak muda yang tampan dan menarik, terbebas untuk sesaat dari tabu dan revolusi. Mungkin ini pertemuan mereka yang pertama dan terakhir, atau siapa tahu ada kelanjutan kisah ini? Saat-saat romantis seperti iniyang mengilhami komposer Ismail Marzuki menciptakan lagu “Sepasang Mata Bola”, lagu cinta berlatar belakang revolusi.

Kutipan dari: “The railways and the (de-)colonisation of Indonesia”, Alex Supartono, Jakarta, August 2006

Pertanyaan saya, apakah kita masih memiliki mimpi itu, atau kah telah hilang dalam perjalanan 63 tahun ini?

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