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[column] Film ‘De Oost’ full of factual inaccuracies, therefore unsuitable as teaching material

KNIL veteran bapa Entjo Latuny (born 1926) sees the trailer for the film De Oost for the first time. Here’s his response to the film’s shocking inaccuracies: misleading storytelling of a shocking level.

The advance announcements that are now circulating on the internet about the premiere of the film De Oost have caused a great deal of controversy within Moluccan society in the Netherlands. Please note in combination with a lesson program. But intense disappointment has also arisen, accompanied by anger. Anger expressed by various groups on facebook. This is because in the commemoration year of 70 years of Moluccans in the Netherlands, the Moluccan population group feels disadvantaged for the umpteenth time, and this is putting it mildly. From 13 May 2021 they will be presented as war criminals in the teaching program that is linked to the film De Oost. Because that is the planned launch of both projects. Maluku4Maluku, whom I represent, is the national representative of the KNIL Ambonese veterans and their partners, children and / or descendants. We realize that there is an artistic freedom in the film world. But combining the film with a teaching program at Dutch secondary schools should not happen.

The film story cannot be combined responsibly in a teaching programme, for various reasons. One of these is the subject of PTSD related to soldiers and/or veterans. (…) The reference to the men of Captain Raymond Westerling as if they were part of Hitler’s army of the SS is very suggestive. This of course falls under artistic freedom. However, it is not allowed to return to a teaching programme.

Today people are visually oriented. As teaching material, this would be pure manipulation towards the thoughts of the youth: there is a high chance that the youth will already have a clouded image of the lessons in advance. Please note, in the film De Oost the men wear high leather boots that refer to SS clothing. High leather boots were not worn in the tropics. The font of the film’s title is also borrowed from the font used by Hitler. In addition, the character that Captain Raymond Westerling is supposed to represent wears a Hitler moustache: this goes beyond all limits. We also detest the plot of De Oost’s film in which Captain Westerling is shot dead: in conflict with reality.

A curriculum should be based on historical facts and avoid suggestive references.

Leo Reawauw
spokesperson Maluku4Maluku

De Oost: intended premiere and launch of ‘teaching program’: May 13, 2021
FIN and Maluku4Maluku summary proceedings: May 11, 2021

* Involved in this film are: NewAms and director Jim Taihuttu (Habbekrats), ed.

Maluku4Maluku is the national representative of the KNIL Ambonese veterans and their partners, children and / or descendants. Foreman Reawaruw is also a veteran. The Dutch East Indies Federation (FIN) calls itself ‘the independent interest and news organization of the Indies Netherlands.’ Together they demand a disclaimer for the film De Oost begins in summary proceedings before the Court, in which the ‘Bersiap’ is also clearly mentioned as the reason for the mission. They report that more actions against the factual inaccuracies and group insults that have been identified are in the pipeline.


Action images in which the content and financing of the film De Oost is discussed

Discussion on Facebook

Below: the initiators of the summary proceedings explain their position and criticism of the film.

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