In the Name of Cultural Exchange: The Day I Became a Dutch Colonialist

I am officially Indo-famous. This article, which I wrote for Indonesiaful last year, explains the incident of how this came to be.

Indonesiaful.com

— By Kelly Fitzgerald —

When I made my list of goals for this year in Indonesia at the start of my Fulbright grant, “reenact the colonial period” was not exactly an aspiration that came to mind. Similarly, getting in touch with my Dutch roots by becoming the face of imperialism in Indonesia is probably not the kind of “promotion of international goodwill” that Senator William Fulbright envisioned when he drafted the bill for his namesake program in 1945. But Indonesia has taught me to (among many other things) expect the unexpected and handle many unanticipated situations, bizarre as they may seem, with grace.

Hari Tentara Nasional Indonesia celebrations underway. Hari Tentara Nasional Indonesia celebrations underway.

And so it happens that on the morning of October 5, 2015 I became a General in the Dutch army circa 1949.

The fifth of October is one of many national holidays in Indonesia. It is Hari Tentara Nasional Indonesia

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