Yamin Kogoya: 60 years ago Indonesia invaded West Papua with weapons. 60 years later, they still rule with guns
Shocking footage has circulated on social media showing Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) military helicopters indiscriminately firing at civilian villages in Suru-Suru District, Yahukimo Regency, Papua. Video: via Café Pacific
SPECIAL REPORT: By Yamin Kogoya
Last week marked 60 years since West Papua declared independence on December 1, 1961.
Papuans and solidarity groups around the world commemorated this national day with a melancholy spirit – the weight of this fateful day carries courage and pride, but also great suffering and betrayal.
Outraged by 60 years of silence and ignorance, Powes Parkop, the governor of Papua New Guinea‘s capital, strongly condemned the PNG government in Port Moresby last week. He said the government should not ignore the crisis in the Indonesian-controlled region of New Guinea.
Parkop accused the government of doing little to hold Indonesia accountable for decades of human rights abuses in West Papua in a series of questions in parliament to Foreign Minister Soroi Eoe.
“Hiding under a ‘Friends for all, enemy for none’ policy may be acceptable to the rest of the world, but it is total surrender to Indonesian aggression and illegal occupation,” Parkop said. .
“It is more of a policy of seeing no evil, saying nothing bad and saying nothing against the evils of Indonesia.”
A similar voice was also heard by staff members of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Center during their West Papua flag-raising event in their Suva office on Wednesday.
Ignorance “must stop”
Shamima Ali, coordinator and human rights activist at the crisis center, said leaders in the Pacific – including Fiji – were too silent on the West Papua issue and the ignorance needed to stop.
Ali said that since Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua, gross human rights violations – including enforced disappearances, bombings, rocket attacks, torture, arbitrary detention, beatings, murders, sexual torture, rape, forced birth control, forced abortions, displacement, starvation and fires – had sadly become an imposed “way of life” on West Papuans.
SBS also reported on last week’s commemoration of December 1 in Canberra, in which Papuans lifted the ban The morning star flag and expressed the importance of raising the flag for Papuans.
In commemoration, flags were hoisted around the world, from Oxford – the refugee home of Benny Wenda, West Papua’s icon of independence – to Holland, home of many descendants of independence leaders Papuans in exile who left the island to protest Indonesia’s illegal annexation in 1960.
Celebrating Papuan National Day in West Papua or anywhere in Indonesia is not safe.
Amnesty International Indonesia reported last Friday that police arrested and charged eight Papuan students for peacefully expressing their political views on December 1, Papuan Independence Day.
The report also states that Papuans are frequently detained and charged for peacefully expressing their political views. But counter-protesters often assault Papuans under police surveillance without repercussions.
Eight people arrested in Jayapura
At least eight people were arrested in Jayapura, Papua, and 19 were arrested in Merauke, Papua, for posting the The morning star flag.
In Ambon and Bali, 19 people were injured by police and 13 people were injured when demonstrators were physically assaulted by counter-demonstrators who used racist language, Amnesty International Indonesia reports.
In West Papua, Indonesian police are also said to have investigated eight young Papuans involved in educating The morning star flag in front of Cenderawasih Sports Stadium, known as GOR in Jayapura, Papua, according to Papua Police Public Relations Chief Ahmad Musthofa Kamal.
Across West Papua, the The morning star flag was hoisted in six districts: Star Mountains, Intan Jaya, Puncak, Central Mamberamo, Paniai and Jayapura City.
Sadly, Papuans are hunted like wild animals on this day as Jakarta continues to force them into Indonesia’s national narrative. Stories of which, for the past 60 years, have been nothing but nightmares filled with mass torture, death and total erasure.
Amid all the celebrations, protests and arrests taking place across the world on this national day, shocking images have emerged of yet another airstrike in the Star Mountain region.
In recent days, shocking images have circulated on social media showing Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) military helicopters indiscriminately firing at civilian villages in Suru-Suru District, Yahukimo Regency, Papua.
It is reportedly the result of a shootout between the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) and TNI in which one TNI member was killed and another injured.
Soldier sent to Aceh
Serda Putra Rahaldi was one of those killed in the incident. It was flown to Aceh via Jakarta.
Praka Suheri, another TNI soldier injured in the incident, was also evacuated to Timika Regional General Hospital for treatment.
It is difficult to know the exact circumstances of a soldier’s death, but TNI Brigadier General Izak Pangemanan, commander of Military Resort 172 / PWY, says two soldiers were drinking water in a shelter just 15 meters away. from the post when the shooting took place, Antara reported on Saturday, December 4, 2021.
Since November 20, five TNI soldiers have been injured, including Sergeant Ari Baskoro and Serda Putra Rahaldi, who died in Suru-suru, Antara reported on Saturday (December 4, 2021).
Armed conflicts remain tense between the TPNPB and the TNI in seven regencies in the territory of West Papua, namely: Yahukimo district, Intan Jaya regency, Star Mountains regency, Nduga district, Peak district and the regency of Maybrat-Sorong.
This seemingly low-intensity, but hidden, conflict between Indonesian state security forces and the TPNPB continues, if not escalates, and the world has largely turned a blind eye.
Papuan church leaders told local media, Jubi, Thursday, November 25, that a massive military build-up and a conflict between the Indonesian security forces and the TPNPB had resulted in the displacement of more than 60,000 Papuan civilians.
“More than 60,000 displaced”
“More than 60,000 people have been displaced. Many children and mothers were victims and died in the evacuation camps, ”said the president of the Synod of Baptist Churches of West Papua, Reverend Socrates Sofyan Yoman.
Jakarta seems to have lost its ability to see the value of the noble words enshrined in its constitution for the good of mankind and the nation. In essence, what is written, what they say and what they practice contradict each other – and this is where the essence of human tragedy lies.
On December 1, 1961, the Papuan Holy State was seized with weapons, lies and propaganda.
On May 1, 1963, Indonesia arrived in West Papua with guns.
In 1969, Jakarta forced the former Papuans to accept Indonesia in a referendum on gun fraud. In the 1970s, Indonesia used guns and bombs to slaughter Papuan upland villagers.
And after 60 years, Jakarta still chooses weapons and bombs as the preferred way to eradicate Papuans.
Sixty years later, it’s hard to forget the fabrication of the present state of West Papua with weapons and bombs. Although West Papua lacks a key feature of East Timor that has drawn international attention to their fiery war of independence.
The morning star flag – still flying
Nonetheless, as was demonstrated to the world last week on December 1, their ban The morning star flag always seemed to be fluttering in one corner of the world.
As long as the Papuans steal the The morning star flag, their fate will challenge the human heart that cries out for the freedom that binds us all together, despite our differences.
As the Indonesian state’s violence escalates, Indonesians are likely to sympathize more with the plight of Papuans for justice and freedom.
At some point, the Indonesian government must choose to continue to ignore the Papuans and use weapons and bombs to crush them or recognize them from a new perspective.
Yamin Kogoya is an academic from West Papua with an MA in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development from the Australian National University and who contributes to the Asia Pacific report. Descended from the Lani tribe in the Papuan Highlands, he currently lives in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.