NETHERLANDS: Little Empire

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Because quaint windmills slowly twirl on the famed Island of Marken, tourists forget that nearby Amsterdam is as populous as Boston. Legend has made the Netherlands "a little country." Therefore when news came last week of fresh Communist outbreaks in the Dutch East Indies, few U. S. citizens realized that almost half as many humans live under the Dutch flag as under the Stars and Stripes.*

Though modest Wilhelmina of the Netherlands is content to be styled a Queen, her realm is an Empire in all but name — an Empire three times larger in area and almost as populous as the Empire of Japan.

Alarums. At Siloengkang, Sumatra, last week, the Dutch Superin- tendent and four native bodyguards were shot from ambush by "Communists." Near Padang a Dutch officer was set upon and wounded by other "Communists," strung up by the thumbs, refused water until he died. Finally, at Sawahloento, Sumatra, the "Communists" seized the railway station, burned down the stationmaster's house, and were only routed when the local Dutch Sub-Governor personally rallied the police and led them against the insurgents, killing seven, wounding 135, restoring Dutch prestige.

"Communists." Ever since Com- munism became the bugaboo of Occidentals, Netherlandic despatches from Java, Sumatra and Borneo have described all insurgent natives as "Communists." The insurgents' chief avowed grievance is, however, that as Mohammedans they refuse to be governed by Christians. They are "Nationalists" and "anti-Christians" rather than "Communists" in the political sense.*

In Java the insurgent native newspapers bear such titles as: Young Java; Light of Islam; Agreement and Disagreement; and The Revival of Islam. The two great insurgent organizations are the Sarakat Islam, composed of influential Moslem merchants; and the Boedi-Oetomo, a society of Mohammedan Nationalists of all classes. Linked with these potent groups is The P. K. (Partij Kommunist) which has borrowed its name from western Communism, but closely resembles the Nationalist movement in India.

Program. The Boedi-Oetomo and Sarakat-Islam openly preach revo- lution and envision a Holy War. They stimulate pilgrimages by their followers to the holy and distant cities of Mecca and Medina; and they look for support wherever it can be found. Thus funds from the Third International at Moscow are welcome; but Indian and especia'ly expatriated Chinese merchants also contribute largely to the insurgent funds. For some years there have been more or less serious revolts in the Dutch Indies almost every six months, but they have been firmly put down and the insurgent movement is still loose, incohesive and therefore weak. The half million non-Moslems in the Dutch East Indies are in no present danger of expulsion by the 50 million subject-natives

Dutch Rule. The Netherlanders who have gone out to their Indies in recent years are colonial administrators of a very high type. They are trained and educated men. Most of them speak the native dialects fluently. Though they uphold the interests of Queen and Country they are not exploiters of the natives as was the old Dutch East India Co., dissolved in 1795.

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