Kembang Kuning, Surabaya
Seventy Years after the Gubeng Massacre
and 84 unknown people
sharing a grave:
An entire row of women and children
who all died on October 28th, 1945.
Now almost 70 years ago,
their evacuation ambushed
during the Indonesian Revolution.
Two sisters, on their way out
with hunger gnawing in their bellies
while mourning their dad
who perished in Bandung.
Two girls and
four hours of relentless shooting.
Like target practice
after which the machetes,
bamboo spears and bayonets
finished the job.
close in life and death
resting together and
never once seeing the homeland.
Yet sharing their long sleep
In Indonesian soil
tended by Indonesians,
wearing wide-brimmed hats
and warm smiles.
whose undernourished bodies
on those British trucks
really didn’t stand in the way of
Yet pay they did
for the sins of their ancestors
They have become my girls.
And wherever I go
(And in Indonesia even more so),
I carry them with me
while they have been watching over me
so I could tell their story
if only to remind the world
that women and children
are often handed the short end of the stick
in wars and conflicts caused by men.
Willy and Joke Francken
Rest in peace.
Having made it to your final resting place
I can give this story some rest
and thank the Dutch-speaking groundskeeper
for taking care of you
and all of those who, for 70 years,
have been swept under the rug
by both the mother- and fatherland.
and those of all the others will remain.
And with these words
I hope that in the end
You did not die in vain…