Indonesia | Janneke Jobsis Brown

Open Door

Open Door
Open the Door I grew up with words like this, “It’s too terrible to tell you,  it’s too much. I do not hate the Japanese; they were cruel to each other too.” Those words came from my father, every time I asked him what it was like to survive WWII in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). He never told me. Every survivor of WWII has differences in how they survive and thrive… After. For my father it was never to talk about 1942 -1945,  except occasionally to cousins who also survived, or to a combat-survivor soldier. My father’s “combat” survival was in Japanese...
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ABDACOM Loss & Liberation, Dutch East Indies

ABDACOM Loss & Liberation, Dutch East Indies
I have moved into Peet’s coffee, whilst preparing my novel Shadows for professional editing. I believe ABDACOM* would applaud my take-over. My Dutch-American friends, Dutch-Canadian friends, U.S. friends would also all applaud my being here at Peet’s. My Japanese friends today, who include both Japanese-Americans interned in camps in the U.S. and veterans who served the U.S. in WWII (who never had anything to do with defeating ABDACOM, nor the formation of Japanese Concentration Camps and POW camps in the Pacific) would also celebrate this take over. You see, this is where I...
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Look backward before Liberation 5/5/45

Look backward before Liberation 5/5/45
  Have you ever looked back on tragedy prior to your own or others’ liberation? Have you ever celebrated liberation while remembering the loss and pain of before? In The Netherlands (Holland) the end of World War II is celebrated every May 4th and 5th as the Remembrance and Liberation days. May 4, is Remembrance Day, a solemn day to remember the many civilians and soldiers who lost their lives. May 5 is Liberation Day, a day to celebrate the freedom which was so slow to come after six years of Nazi occupation. Parades re-enact liberation by Canadian, American and British troops. Looking...
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Excellent, Excellent Moments

Excellent, Excellent Moments
What happens  when I approach survivors to do research for my pending novel, Shadows, who are not used to talking? Survivors are probably not thinking to themselves excellent, excellent, excellent at such a time, I know. Yet somehow it all works out. I receive moments, both of us softening again. Softening that which had been hardened pain for so long. We start like barnacles on the bottom of a ship, seemingly impossible to scrape off, infecting every lake it goes to, risking barnacles on every ship, kayak or boat that enters the new lake. Yet, with caring faith-filled talk the barnacles start to come...
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Dumb Gratitude to True Gratitude

Dumb Gratitude to True Gratitude
Yesterday I shared how as a child-immigrant I felt and thought, a mixture of sorrow, anger and nobody understands me. I was also an invisible immigrant. Until I opened my mouth, and spoke American with a Dutch accident, I seemed just like other children. I was also an immigrant seeking gratitude for reasons much different than refugee-immigrants. My father, mother, younger sister and I,  had left a country, The Netherlands (Nederland, Holland), which actually had a tradition of offering liberty and freedom to others. For instance the Dutch gave the Pilgrims religious freedom and shelter while awaiting...
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