Bung Tomo "The New Indonesia National Hero"

Bung Tomo to be given National Hero title

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sun, 11/02/2008 6:11 PM | National

An independence war veteran Sutomo, better known as Bung (elder brother) Tomo, will receive the title of National Hero from the government Heroes' Day on Nov. 10, a minister said Sunday. "It is good news for the people of Surabaya and East Java, especially in commemoration of Heroes' Day," said Information and Communications Minister Mohammad Nuh, as quoted by Antara. The announcement ends years of questions over why the government had yet to honor Bung Tomo despite his important role in the fight for independence, although his family never considered it as an issue. "There are procedures and mechanisms for granting the title, but it is always the prerogative of the President to decide," he said. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to bestow the title on Bung Tomo and several other independence war figures in the Heroes' Day ceremony. Bung Tomo played an important role in a battle in Surabaya in November 1945, when Indonesian soldiers and militia fought against British and Dutch troops as part of the National Revolution. The battle helped stimulate Indonesian and international support for the country's independence. The battle peaked on Nov. 10, the date later chosen as Heroes' Day. (dre)
Sutomo (October 3, 1920 - October 7, 1981),[1] also known as Bung Tomo, is best known for his role as an Indonesian military leader during the Indonesian National Revolution against the Netherlands. He played a central role in Battle of Surabaya when the British attacked the city in October and November 1945.

Sutomo was born in Kampung Blauran in the center of Surabaya to a clerk father, Kartawan Tjiptowidjojo, and mother of mixed Javanese, Sundanese and Madurese descent. He was forced to give up his education at the age of twelve because of family economic hardship during the Great Depression. Alongside menial jobs, he joined the Indonesian Scouting organisation and at the age of seventeen as the second Pramuka Garuda; a rank achieved by only three Indonesians before the Japanese occupation during World War II.

During the Japanese occupation, Sutomo was chosen in 1944 as a member of the Japanese-sponsored Gerakan Rakyat Baru (New People's Movement). During the early stages of the Indonesian National Revolution he played a central role when Surabaya came under British attack. Although the city was lost to the Dutch's European allies, the battle served to galvanise Indonesian and international opinion in support of the independence cause. Sutomo spurred thousands of Indonesians to action with his distinctive, emotional speaking-style of his radio broadcasts. His "clear, burning eyes, that penetrating, slightly nasal voice, or that hair-raising oratorical style that second only to Sukarno's in its emotional power".
"Hey Britain, as long as the wild ox, the youth of Indonesia, still have red blood that can make a white cloth red and white... as long as that we will not surrender. Friends, fellow fighters... especially the youth of Indonesia, we will fight on, will will expel the colonialists from our Indonesian land that we love... Long have we suffered, been exploited, trampled on. Now is the time for us to seize our independence. Our slogan: FREEDOM OR DEATH. GOD IS GREAT... GOD IS GREAT... GOD IS GREAT.. FREEDOM!"
Bung Tomo's radio speech, 9 November 1945.

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