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The Republic of the South Moluccas (Republik Maluku Selatan (RMS)), was a self-proclaimed republic in the South Moluccas, founded April 25, 1950. A government in exile exists to this day. In 1991 Johan Manusama the first president in exile, from 1966 to 1993, entered the RMS into the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation. [1]

Flag of Republik Maluku Selatan.

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RMS history

South Moluccan KNIL soldier.

The Moluccas were part of the Dutch East Indies, a colony of the Netherlands, since its conception in the 18th century. When Indonesian revolutionary leaders declared the independent Republic of Indonesia, the south Moluccas were considered part of that country, by its freedom fighters. Indonesia's struggle for recognition of its independence lasted from 1945 until December 27, 1949 when under heavy international pressure, especially from the United States which threatened to cut off Marshall Plan funds to the Netherlands, the Dutch acknowledged a federal Indonesian republic.

In first instance the Netherlands acknowledged the independence of Indonesia as a federation of autonomous states, of which one was the South Moluccas. On April 25, 1950 demobilized ex-Royal Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL) men who remained loyal to the Dutch crown, staged a revolt and proclaimed what they called the "Republic of the South Moluccas". They wanted a totally independent country, so even more than just a federal state. On August 17, 1950, the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia, as originally proclaimed, was restored by military force. The liberal democratic system of government, whereby the cabinet would be accountable to the House of Representatives was retained. This was a source of political instability in the young republic with frequent changes in government until the rise of the so-called New Order. Still from within Indonesia the call for an independent Republic of the South Moluccas was never again heard as loudly as in 1950.

RMS in exile

The rebellious RMS group was defeated by Indonesian forces in November 1950. The defeat resulted in the flight of the self-declared RMS government from the islands, and the formation of a government in exile in the Netherlands. The following year some 12,000 Moluccan soldiers accompanied by their families went to the Netherlands, where they established a "Republic of the South Moluccas" government-in-exile.

During their exile parts of the RMS movement have committed terror attacks in the Netherlands. Most research argues that the attacks were caused by frustration of the non support of the Dutch government.[2]

The first attack took place in 1970 at the Indonesian Ambassador's house at Wassenaar, during which a Dutch policeman was shot and killed. This attack was followed up in 1975 with the hijacking of a train at Wijster which was spontaneously supported by another, improvised, attack on the Indonesian consulate in Amsterdam. Three hostages where executed in the train and one Indonesian man was mortally wounded while trying to escape the consulate. In 1977 another train was hijacked, this time at De Punt, supported by a primary school hijack at Bovensmilde. These actions where ended with force by marines of the Bijzondere Bijstands Eenheid (BBE) in which six hijackers and two hostages died. The last action took place in 1978 when the provincial building in Assen was occupied. This action too was ended by BBE marines.

From the 1980s to the present day no such actions re-occurred.

RMS Presidents

The first president in exile was Prof. Johan Manusama (1966-1993).

Dr. Chr. R. S. Soumokil J.D. was the RMS president in 1954 who went into hiding and led the armed guerilla struggle on Ceram island. He was only captured by the Indonesian Army in Ceram on December 2, 1962. Brought to trial before a military tribunal in Jakarta, he was sentenced to death and executed under President Suharto's rule on April 12, 1966.

The government-in-exile continues to exist, with Frans Tutuhatunewa M.D. as head of state (1993-2010). However does not proclaim any violent action towards either the Netherlands or Indonesia. The president in exile has said that the young generations should focus on their education and development opportunities in the Netherlands if they want to potentially support and develop the South Moluccas.

The current Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands Junus Effendi Habibie, brother to the third president of Indonesia, has said that he would do all he can to facilitate the repatriation of first generation Moluccans to their homeland, if they would stop aiming at an independent state. [3] [4]

RMS flag

The RMS flag is vertical blue, white, green, red (1:1:1:6) and has proportions 2:3. It was first hoisted 2 May 1950 at 10.00 AM. Two days later the government gave the explanation of the flag. Blue symbolises the sea and loyalty, white stands for purity, peace and the white beaches, green the vegetation, and red the ancestors and blood of the people.

Seal of the Republik Maluku Selatan

RMS coat of arms

The RMS coat of arms depicts the white Moluccan dove called 'Pombo'. The white dove is seen as a symbol of positivity and a good omen. The 'Pombo' is shown, about to start flying, the wings half opened and in its beak a peace branch, the chest tattooed with a crossed 'parang', 'salawaku' and spear.

The blazon of the RMS coat of arms state the words 'Mena - Moeria'. This slogan is derived from the original Melanesian Moluccan language. Since ancient times it is yelled by the steerer and paddlers of the traditional Moluccan rowing boats called 'Kora Kora', to syncronise their strokes during off shore expeditions. It literally means 'Front - Back', but is also translated to 'I go - We follow' or 'One for all - All for One'.

RMS anthem

The RMS anthem is called 'Maluku tanah airku' which translates in English to 'Maluku my homeland' and is written by Chr. Soumokil and O. Sahalessy in the Malay language, also using latin and Melanesian Moluccan words.

Lyrics

Malay text English translation

Oh Maluku, tanah airku,
Tanah tumpah darahku.
Ku berbakti padamu
Slama hari hidupku.
Engkaulah pusaka raya
Yang leluhur dan teguh.
Aku junjung selamanya
Hingga sampai ajalku.
Aku ingat terlebih
Sejarahmu yang pedih.

Maluku, my homeland,
My land of origin.
I devote my strength to thee
As long as I may live.
Thou art my great heritage
Uplifted above all.
I will always honor thee
Until my dying day.
I will recall in memory
Above all thy harrowing history.

Oh Maluku, tanah airku,
Tanah datuk-datukku.
Atas via dolorosa
Engkau hidup merdeka.
Putra-putri yang sejati
Tumpah darah bagimu.
Ku bersumpah trus berbakti
Serta tanggung nasibmu.
Aku lindung terlebih
Sejarahmu yang pedih.

Maluku, my homeland,
Land of my ancestors.
Through this road of suffering
Will we reach liberty.
Thy true sons and daughters
Have shed their blood for thee.
I am sworn to dedication
To keep thy future safe.
Above all I will protect thee
And thy harrowing history.

Mena-Muria, printah leluhur
Segenap jiwaku seru.
Bersegralah membelamu
Seperti laskar yang jujur.
Dengan prisai dan imanku
Behkan harap yang teguh.
Ku berkurban dan berasa
Karena dikaa ibuku
Ku doakan terlebih
Mena-Muria, hiduplah!

Mena Muria, the higher call
I yell wholeheartedly.
I hasten to defend thee
As an army just and true.
With shield and faith
And above all in great resilience
I will sacrifice and struggle.
For thou art my cradle
And above all I will pray
That Mena Muria may forever stay.

References


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