NZ Green party’s move to create West Papua Desk (11/6) shows us that the party is now seeking fame on the NZ political stage. They make West Papua’s human rights issues their political commodities to be ‘sold’ to their constituents. Choosing an issue to be a political commodity is natural for any political party. However, Greens’ selection on the human rights’ issues is West Papua issue is evil, misleading political act and it potentially damages the stability of the current NZ Labour government.
Human rights issues and short-term political gain
According to some existing studies, the case of the Green Party making human rights a political commodity is due to the nature of a human rights issues that are highly attractive for immediate political gain. Experts say that human rights issues are a sensitive social identity that is perceived to sell easily. This sensitivity makes the issues exceed all other human-related issues such as ethnicity, race, and social class. This type of issues enables people in politics to easily pinpoint who is an who is not with them.
Because of its quick-selling nature, issues of human rights are quickly used for political purposes, especially in the case of the Green party, to attract public sympathy. To this end, the Greens hope that the West Papua issue will fuel their political machinery effectively.
Experts reveal that in politics, the ideal political issue to be raised by political parties would be the prosperity and development as the ultimate goals of the country. However, at the implementation level, it generally requires true hard works from politicians to reach the goals because they are long-term.
Therefore, many pragmatic and ‘lazy’ politicians opt to find out any short cuts. This type of politicians is using issues such as human rights to ‘sell’ the name of their political party for votes.
We see that the Greens’ move to open the West Papua Desk was a deliberate pragmatic move merely to improve their political market share. In each and every of their campaign, the Green Party consistently claim that Indonesia is a colonist country that always wants to ‘kill’ West Papuan civilians.
Also, they assume that the presence of non-native west Papuans in West Papua is a form of slow-motion genocide. They even always describe that West Papua is a worrisome, deadly area in Indonesia that people should be cautious if they want to visit there.
Stagnation of political creativity
The use of the West Papua issue by the Green Party is a manifestation of stagnation of political creativity of the Greens. The reason behind that argument is that even though the Greens seem to be vocal on specific issues, we can see that there is the absence of ideology within the internal part of the party.
Supposedly, the Greens should be consistent about supporting and handling the issue about global warming and how green technological inclusion should be gaining significant attention in New Zealand society. These issues are strategic for New Zealand because that is what the country’s best knowledge and capabilities have been.
However, because of the political pragmatism, the Green party took a shortcut to utilize the issue of the alleged human rights violations in West Papua for political gain. The strong indication of the commodification of human rights issues by the Greens is starkly visible because of what they accuse the Indonesian people of are very contrary to what has been happening in Indonesia.
Good facts and news from West Papua
It is a fact that, until now, Indonesians, regardless of their various ethnicities help hand in hand build West Papua to advance and compete both in Indonesia and the world. On the one hand, Indonesians are busy doing good to West Papua. On the other hand, unfortunately, the Green party is busy with the making of West Papuan Desk to denounce Indonesians, assuming that they have discredited and killed their fellow West Papuans.
To this day, in fact, many Indonesians, both civilians and military, are coming to West Papua to become volunteer teachers and volunteer health workers. They come to West Papua and left their careers in big cities to teach West Papuan children to have global insight and also world-class mentality.
Others are also busy building schools, libraries and health centers to help better the access of knowledge and health services of children and youth of West Papua. What needs to be emphasized here is that they build schools and libraries as well as the health centers voluntarily. In fact, those who come to help West Papua’s development are not only Indonesians but also foreigners that none is from NZ.
Even the military forces also help build the physical infrastructure (schools, library and health centers). Some military officers have become local teachers and health workers.
Various registered organizations and programs already have helped the development of West Papua such as Indonesia Mengajar, SM3T, Kitong Bisa, Buku untuk Papua, Nusantara Sehat and many more. Almost all organizations and programs are genuinely initiated that are often voluntarily funded by volunteers. They do not ask for international donor assistance or funds from developed countries like New Zealand.
The commodification of the West Papua human rights issues is actually like a disease that is kept inside by the current Labor-Party government. Kiwis will finally know the pragmatism of this Green Party. In the end, if the NZ government does not resolve the matter immediately, the disease brought by the Greens could cost them degrading public trust.
But, we believe that New Zealand is a country that strongly upholds positive values and morality so Kiwis will know which political parties that genuinely want to contribute to the country positively and which ones that are only making up issues for short-term political gains.
In general, some people at West Papua Desk may have been clouded by the Greens party’s dubious claims that West Papua is a horrifying place as if genocide is a daily occurrence and that Kiwis should free West Papua from Indonesians who deliberately come to the region to take over the land from the Natives.
However, in fact, West Papua is probably the most progressive region in Indonesia. The large number of Indonesians coming to help West Papua’s development is a manifestation that West Papua is an important part of the country.
And, Kiwis should not be worried whether Indonesia is colonizing West Papua or not. Because the fact is it is Indonesians who come to West Papua to help build schools, libraries and health centers in West Papua and also teach and heal West Papuans voluntarily. Instead, Kiwis should be worried because none of those volunteers is from New Zealand and none of those public facilities is funded by the NZ Government.
And, please stop commodifying human rights issues for political benefits.(*)