Framing the Opponent
Framing the opponent negatively is a key aspect of any war. The opponent is demonized in order to legitimize the struggle and motivate the ranks. By ‘framing’ we mean the way something or someone is presented. This can refer to the rhetoric or the visual imagery and the associations it evokes. This image is the focus of this theme: how was ‘the Other’ presented and what message was being conveyed?
On the Dutch side, every effort was made to paint the Republic of Indonesia as a continuation of Japanese fascism. This served to undermine its legitimacy.
|Indonesian combatants were generally dismissed as ‘extremists’ or ‘terrorists’, which indirectly helped to justify a merciless response. The Republic of Indonesia in turn framed the struggle in terms of the international right to self-determination. Its propaganda was aimed in part at calling on the international community to support the Republic in its fight for independence and thus take a stand against the Dutch colonial reflex. To lend force to this message, the visual imagery demonized the Dutch, who were portrayed as cruel, rapacious imperialists.