The thundering jets and barrage of gunfire that climaxed the tense, 20-day siege here also heralded an ominous era of racial hostility between browns and whites in the Netherlands.
Since the May 23, when the train and 105 children in the Bovensmilde village school were seized, the ugly prospect of race warfare has inflamed passions in the Dutch and Moluccan communities and hindered efforts to reach a peaceful settlement.
Police cordoned off Moluccan neighborhoods in the early days of the drama to prevent attacks by revenge-minded white parents.
When the last of the remaining captives were evacuated to medical camps after Dutch marines stormed the hijackers early today, troops and armored carriers moved into the streets of this town to thwart any reprisals by south Moluccans.
[During the attack on the school, shots were apparently fired at the troops from the adjacent South Moluccan housing project, news agencies quoted Dutch officials as saying. Armored car crews returned the fire, shattering several windows.]
"It's going to be explosive for several months," said Gys Isselmijer, a young Dutch social worker who has tried to bridge the gulf between white and brown families."I fear that any fight, any little incident, might cause more tragedy for both Dutch and Moluccans."
Outside the neat brick homes at the edge of this town where many South Moluccans reside, the flags of their unborn republic hung in mournful testimony to the six young terrorists killed in the ssaults on the train.
Elder Moluccans strolled through their neighborhoods, their faces creased with grief. Reppelled by the violent tactics of their young, they still voiced quiet support for the prime objective of the struggle - an independent republic for the South Moluccan islands clustered at the southern tip of Indonesia, and once a Dutch colonial possession.
At the local community center, young Moluccans gathered to discuss where their movement can go in the aftermath of the siege led by some of their radical peers.
A white banner draped the stage, scrawled with the words - "By the blood of young martyrs, 1,000 South Moluccan revolutionaries will fight for a free republic."
"These methods proved fatal," said Jack Metiari, a 23-year-old leader in the South Moluccan youth group. "We must keep our culture alive while we try to get our country back. But I don't know what we can do right now."
"It was a crime what the Dutch government did," said another young Moluccan. The government never even tried to cooperate with the mediators."
Dr. Hassan Tan and Josina Soumokil, the two intermediaries agreed on by the gunmen and Dutch authorities, announced last night that their attempt to bring the two sides together were a "complete failure." Six hours later, Dutch troops attacked the terrorists.
Dr. Tan warned that the truculence of the government could provoke a "civil war between browns and whites." He said that the negotiators had been sent on their last, fruitless mission to the train on Wednesday "with empty hands."
In the frantic hours after the last hostages were freed early today, some government officials worried privately that the assault might spark an explosion of Moluccan outrage. Others, however, suggested that the bloody finish to the three-week drama might provide a fresh start for Dutch-Moluccan relations.
"There have been enough deaths. We now have to begin sincere efforts to rebuild confidence between the peoples," said a Justice Ministy official.
Skepticism runs deep, however, and suspicions bred by 25 years of cultural segregation will prove hard to ease.
"The Dutch really can't comprehend why the Moluccans want to stay so isolated from a society that can offer them a more comfortable life than they would have back in their homeland," said Henk Molleman, a Dutch Socialist parliamentarian who has worked closely with the Moluccan community.
"We don't want cars and televisions and things that come with wealth. Ours is not a social movement but a patriotic one," said Noes Solisa, 24, a Moluccan student teacher.
The whites see the Moluccan cause as a hopeless struggle. Many do not understand why, as second-generation immigrants, young Mollucans do not wish to join Dutch society.
"They can become Dutch if they want, but they choose to remain 'stateless' persons," said one Dutch teacher in Bovensmilde. "They get our welfare benefits but they don't have to serve the army," he said.
As a group, the Moluccans here are a bizarre vestige of colonialism, still demanding national rights within an empire dismantled long ago.