The 1917 rebellion in the Sa'dan Highlands
(paraphrased from a book by Terance Bigalke, see below)
By 1917 a complex mosaic of grievances toward mission and government existed in the Sa'dan highlands. If the government was seen as the agent for making decisions that affected people's lives in the villages, the mission was viewed as the intelligence-gathering apparatus funneling reports from teachers, students, and the missionaries themselves to the Dutch rulers. While gathering damaging information through his active participation in village affairs, the missionary dispensed unsettling pronouncements on Torajan custom and the god of the Whites, confirming with words what his actions had already told them: "the Dutch want you to become Christian." By sending troops and armed police, the colonial government put steel into the missionary's request for manpower and materials to build schools, and enforced his passion against gambling and cockfighting. While van de Loosdrecht might say "that the mission asks and urges but the government orders and punishes," the Torajan was more likely to conclude that "the mission asks and urges, then the government orders and punishes.
The fears that the Dutch were out to obliterate the indigenous religion reached their height when the governor journeyed to Rantepao on March 2, 1917 to meet with the missionaries in what Torajans widely held to be a plot to convert all Torajans to Christianity.
The rumor had some basis in truth. Indeed, the governor was meeting with the Dutch civil commanders from Makale and Rantepao and the mission personnel to discuss van de Loosdrecht's proposal to abolish not only cockfighting but the death feast itself and ban markets on Sundays, essentially transforming the market system from a six-day cycle to a seven-day cycle, with the Sabbath off.
The incomplete information leaking from this meeting made a profound impression on Torajan headmen. Many of them met at the Rantepao headmen's hall and made strong statements of protest against the anticipated forced Christianization. The rumor soon spread that the death feast, cockfighting, and the Sunday market would all be abolished. The immediate fears stimulated by the governor's presence in Rantepao exacerbated long-standing animosities generated by the village schools. These schools, in the minds of most villagers, were a kind of forced labor. Having little sense of the school's utility to the village, people focused on their own losses, in terms of children's labor in the fields or at home, and the cost of clothing them for school. They resented being jailed or fined when their children were absent from school, and many objected to the taxing of death feasts to support the school. In the final analysis, the perceived attack on indigenous religion and custom, combined with the villagers' objections to the schools, might not have produced the eventual violent reaction they did had not the mission and government made such a determined effort to undercut some of the stalwarts of the old elite. By selectively removing and sending into exile the linchpins of the elite, the Dutch may have failed to recognize the general sense of alarm this caused among the headmen. If it could happen to Pong Maramba, Ne' Lapu, and Danduru, why not to Ne' Mattandung or anyone viewed as opposing the mission? Opposition began to mount against the increased interference of mission and government in village affairs.
Behind the scenes of isolated resistance, the headmen had begun to take positions that envisioned the expulsion of the Dutch. From the beginning, some of them had seen the Dutch as passing overlords destined not to control the highlands for long. As early as 1909, some of the headmen hatched a plot first to attack the Dutch in Makale and Rantepao, then to move on to conquer Palopo and Makassar.
On July 21, 1917 the Tikala district head (puang) Arung Langi, and the Bori headman, Pong Arung, reported to the Rantepao prosecutor that Ne' Mattandung's adopted son Pong Massanka had organized a gambling party in his kampong; they broadly hinted that the named persons harbored plans to revolt.
There was no love lost between these two informers and Ne' Mattandung, their animosity originating in the days of Tikala raids into Balusu for slaves and ransom. Vague plans for rebellion had been in the wind since 1916, but they assumed a sense of urgency only after the incendiary rumors emanating from the governor's visit to Rantepao swept through the area. The rebels planned simultaneous attacks on all Dutch compounds in Makale and Rantepao towns, and on the houses of the four missionaries, to drive all the Dutch from the highlands. Arms were collected and stored in preparation for the rebellion. Given the lack of political unity at the time, the plan, and the preparations for implementing it, seem quite impressive. Before the principal plan had a chance to develop fully, however, the subplot initiated by Ne' Mattandung and his followers prematurely came to a climax. About July 15, 1917 Pong Massangka led a dozen followers into Rantepao on market day to wait in ambush for Commander Brouwer, who typically took a walk around the market each day in the late afternoon. Hiding knives in their clothes, the band watched the Dutchman, with his wife and young son, approach to within two hundred meters of where they were hiding behind some trees. Suddenly the child stumbled and fell, beginning to wail. Rather than take the protesting child through the crowded market, Brouwer and his wife decided to return home at once, thwarting the plot of the would-be assassins.
When Massangka and his supporters returned to Pangli, Ne' Mattandung held a gambling party for them. They then made a second plan for an assassination, this time of van de Loosdrecht at his house in Barana, just north of Rantepao. On the evening of the 26th the group, joined by others who had not participated in the earlier attempt, slaughtered a pig and prepared rice for a ceremonial meal before starting off for the missionary's house.
A courier had just returned with word from Ne' Mattandung that he agreed with their plan to attack the missionary. Suddenly someone appeared with the news that van de Loosdrecht had been seen at a schoolmaster's house in Bori, some twenty minutes away. Under cover of darkness, thirteen of the celebrants then hurried off to carry out their plan. After the band reached the Bori bridge, the designated assassin Pong Massangka alias Ne' Babu' left them and approached the porch where the missionary was reading by lamplight at the open window. Leaping onto the porch, the young warrior plunged his lance through van de Loosdrecht's lower chest; as he slumped to the floor, the dying missionary knocked over the lamp, and flames engulfed the porch as the band slipped away.
Passions pent up over the period of several rice harvests poured out that night and the next. With the active or passive support of many villagers Pong Massangka and his followers swept through To' Karau market an hour away, burning the newly constructed market stalls. They then returned to Pangli where they burned three bridges linking the village with the road to Rantepao - a road resented by Massangka because, without consulting him, the government had confiscated a portion of his rice fields for a right-of-way. The inhabitants of Pangli were whipped into an anti-Dutch frenzy, and they built barricades around village entrances, preparing to fight the Dutch troops that they knew would soon arrive. Reports indicate that the Dutch expected a fierce battle in Pangli. Commander Brouwer, with his half-brigade of armed police, proceeded from Bori to Balusu, bypassing the stronghold at Pangli. Two brigades of infantry from Palopo and two from Enrekang were already on their way to deal with any heavy resistance. Brouwer went to Balusu, because he suspected that Ne' Mattandung was somehow involved in the murder of the missionary. At dusk all the surrounding villages lit fires in support of Mattandung's truculence, and by the next morning five hundred armed supporters hovered in the hills surrounding the unwelcome authorities. Half a day of cat and mouse left one Torajan dead, shot as he advanced on the messenger bearing a summons to Ne' Mattandung. The stalemate ended with the arrival of reinforcement troops from Palopo and police forces from Makale. In the face of this triangular advance, Mattandung's warriors dispersed throughout the hilly terrain, fighting ineffectually with lances and long knives against the Dutch firearms. Several more Torajans were killed and captured and the resistance crumbled. The round-up of rebels and active sympathizers continued for two weeks, with hundreds being detained. Mattandung's capture and the surrender of Pangli without a fight exposed the weakness of the leadership behind the plots to kill Brouwer and van de Loosdrecht.
The various plots to expel the Dutch from the highlands had misfired, and fifty-six persons from Rantepao were exiled. With the departure of Tandibua and his lieutenants, Ne' Mattandung and his, Pong Massangka and the tragic Pong Arung (who committed suicide in jail), the steel went out of the Torajan resistance to change - particularly the change dictated by the mission and a mission-sympathetic government. Pong Maramba and Danduru had preceded them, Tangki Langi, an influential headman in Pangala convicted in a sawah dispute, followed. The missionary who succeeded van de Loosdrecht recorded the whispers passing through Toraja: "the Dutch are killing all our great men."
Sumber : http://www.batusura.de/pangli.htm
For more information, refer to: Tana Toraja: A Social History of an Indonesian People (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2005) by Terance Bigalke. ISBN: 9971693186