The world has seen the emergence of great attention to the issues of West Papua never like before since the Surabaya incident. We believe that such care is what is supposed to rise much earlier. Because, every educated person kind of knows that West Papua needs great support in many aspects, not only in social like human rights but also in the economy like the welfare of the people.
Everyone should appreciate how people stand up for justice in the world, including in West Papua, Indonesia. Papuans such as Mr. Benny Wenda and Mr. Rex Rumakiek relentlessly fight their belief in which West Papua should be independent, and their vigorous efforts and determination should be gratified and even sympathized with.
Their actions did not surface from nothingness, but their abusive past in which formed them to become the people they are now. Many are beginning to join in on their movement due to their cause, where international government factions follow the trajectory. The freedom movement and campaign are, in that sense, appreciated and applauded. However, the campaign and movement should be prudent and fair to reach the goal of prosperous West Papua. Otherwise, they will only harm the burgeoning region.
Failure to admit the bloody truth
Many have confirmed that the recent outbreaks in West Papua have cost lives. We have to emphasize the word ‘recent’ because what we are talking about these days are mostly the occurrences after the Reformasi, especially after the Special Autonomy applies in West Papua.
The loss of lives in West Papua is indeed gruesome. But, if we look at the data, the horrible incidents took the lives of those West Papuans, who are mostly of non-Papuan ethnicity. No one can forget the last two massacres in West Papua which are the Nduga and the Wamena massacres.
A little disclaimer here that we are not talking about the past before Reformasi (1998). Some killings happened in the past, and the Indonesian government was truly responsible for those, and unfortunately, the recent administrations have been failing to admit and uncover the bloody truth.
Nevertheless, further massacres are still unjustifiable, including the Nduga massacre last December 2018 and the Wamena bloody riot last September 2019. The former one was undergone by the OPM freedom fighters, murdering dozens of innocent workers who they misunderstood as soldiers. The latter occurrence was the very recent occurrence where a group of mobsters cruelly and vengefully took the lives of West Papuans of non-native backgrounds. It was undergone allegedly for seeking justice after some West Papuan students were mocked during the Surabaya incident.
It is unfortunate that the Free West Papua campaigners act just like the Indonesian government by avoiding the admit the cruelty of the freedom fighters.
The Free West Papua fighters and campaigners grieve on the recent outbreaks and the many lives innocent lives lost upon this matter, which interestingly, majority were revealed to be non-West Papuan native. This then becomes inconsistent as these campaigners continue to blame any unfortunate situation occurring within West Papua due to the presence of the non-natives, whom they believe have been part of the Indonesian government colonization agenda over West Papua.
Whereas, since the enactment of the Special Autonomy, only West Papuan Natives are capable of becoming top leaders in West Papuan bureaucracy. The natives are also the most respected religious leaders there.
Indeed, the recent Indonesian government has not performed well in bringing justice to West Papua. What is needed is real actions and help, which some entities thankfully have shown there.
It has been reported, even though minimal, that many volunteers including teachers and health workers, keep coming to the region, and various organizations keep developing schools, training centers, reading corners, etc. in West Papua.
Furthermore, it is interesting to point out that West Papua has been a multicultural region for centuries, as many different tribes throughout the ages have lived in harmony since before Indonesia existed. Henceforth, during the international debates upon the potential presence of jihadists, West Papuans did not buy the issue and did not believe what was reported.
Hence upon concluding, the Free West Papua campaigns is and will be a never-ending debate in which continues to be unsuccessful in obtaining a positive outcome due to their random intervals and outbursts. This haphazard perspective worked in the past, but in this age of information and media abundance, genuine and collaborative perspectives will be the key to greatly prevail.
West Papua is in need of help in order to gain its prosperity and the proper care and support; that including their human rights, along with health, education, economy, and youth. West Papua will continue to improve and expand. Upon viewing the current help and services that are already occurring within the region, there should and will be more to come in the near future. We are very thankful that many have gratefully taken part in the endeavor to better those issues this far. (*)