In July 2008, I received a provocative plan of the launching of ‘International Parliamentarians for West Papua’ at the Houses of Parliament in London on the 15th of October 2008. Over the past three months, the issues were spreading among us and have been creating severe differences among Papuan local government, Papuan legislative members, Papuan traditional leaders, and Papuan people representatives. Some of us made a report to the central government of Indonesia to tell the serious high potential conflict, some keep silent, some gave support, and some try to be very careful in responding the provocative act by the United Kingdom Parliament/Government. Most of us really don’t care and don’t understand what is going on in London. Do London support our ordinary dream of having a peaceful and better life? Do London support the independence movement of West Papua ? Do London realise what will happen to us after the provocative act in the House of Parliament? Do London understand that such provocative action will not affecting the comfortable daily life in London but will increase the tension in Papua and West Papua provinces?
We don’t want to die for some political opportunist dreamer like those who running away from our motherland to provoke foreign government to maintain conflict in West Papua. We don’t want to risk our children from having continuous conflict among us in Papua. Our leaders in local government are now majority Papuan, and they were elected through a democratic process. We believe in the leadership of current Papuan local government and we believe that there are many Indonesian brothers who sincerely care about us, and they are struggling for the improvement of our life here in Papua. I also heard that there are some important figures from academic sector in Jakarta who seriously try to convince Indonesian central government to take serious action in solving the Papua problem. Sadly, all those trust building process will be destroyed by foreign intervention this month in the historical building of which the first democratic system applied in the world.
This is really unfortunate that some of political actors in London who support the people of West Papua think that the only position to end the problem of the Papuan people is to call for Independence/plebecite/self-determination for West Papua. The problem with this position is that at the present moment, there is no strong support from Papuan grass roots, from Papuan ordinary people, from Papuan political elites. A more problematic situation is that the provocative act by some opportunist in London will strengthen the military approach by Indonesian security apparatus. The results will be very bad for ordinary people like us.
If a foreign citizen or institution or even government sincerely care about us, why don’t they make a direct approach to the central government of Indonesia and Papuan local governement to discuss it. We are more appreciate the role of international non government organisation like Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, because they didn’t jeopardize our daily life. Those NGO advocate the improvement of our living standard and criticise the human rights abuses, environmental damage, poor health condition, etc. We are really thankful for the sincere attention from those NGOs.
There is also unbelievable fact that the Greens political party in UK support Free West Papua Campaign, why don’t the Green support Indonesian environmentalist group to create green movement, as a fact I am in favour to Green philosophy. Surprisingly, one of the Green leaders Caroline Lucas MEP is also a heavy supporter of Free West Papua Campaign. She might never know the real situation in Papua and West Papua provinces. I bet she never even ask for balance information from NGOs, Indonesian central government, and Papuan local government. I am not sure with the Labor and the Conservative because it seems that most of the support to Free West Papua Campaign is individual rather than institutional.
There is a very big question that arose in my mind, ‘Is the International political pressure making things worse or better for the people of West Papua?’
International political pressure is always successful in strenghtening the position of military presence and approach in almost every conflict area in the world. For example Myanmar government deployed a heavy presence of military in every Buddhist temple, the same situation also happened in Tibet, Georgia, Kosovo, Srilanka, Northern part of Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc.
It is understandable that the TNI (Indonesian Military) should be able to defend the unitary Republic of Indonesia, and sadly such obligation put aside the human rights. In turn, the human rights abuses and injustice caused by the TNI are fuel for those opposing the presence of the RI in any form. That is why now the strategy of Free West Papua Movement is pushing the TNI and Police to their limit by a plot of hidden violence behind the non-violence demonstration. Some members of demonstrator often resort to acts of open defiance deliberately designed to provoke the security forces to retaliate. This tactic is very dangerous because it put human life as the bait. It wil be considered as a successful agenda after a violent clashes occur, with obvious negative consequences to Indonesian central government and Papuan local government.
Very clear, we as ordinary people don’t want to see more violent conflict between Papuan hardliners (pro-independence) and Indonesian military. One of the most effective ammo for creating conflict in Papua and West Papua provinces is by international intervention, because it will create a tension within Indonesian military. I can clearly see that the International Parliamentarians for West Papua is a political blunder made by United Kingdom political elites. But I have to differentiate between political elites and the people. I believe that the people of the United Kingdom are very nice, friendly, and democratic. This is also what I believe in Indonesian people who are really friendly and peace lover, and I differentiate Indonesian people from political elites and military.
In this conflict, the International Parliamentarians for West Papua might think that they do good thing for us, but in contrast they make us suffer by the increasing tension in our peaceful land. Those Lords, Dignitaries, important peoples in London might have a nice idealistic dream for us, but in reality we will face a violence riots a results of false dream given by political opportunist in London. Why is it false dream? because some of us already make a plan of big demonstration in several cities of Papua and West Papua provinces. The majority of Indonesian citizen who live in Papua (Papuan and non-papuan) are now praying with fear and trembling. our rights as ordinary Papuans are squeezed, not only through psychological tension but also thorugh a potential big conflict between the hostile Free Papuan hardliners and the military / police apparatus.
Please forward this sincere thought to the world, to the United Kingdom Government, to the Parliamentarians members, and lets have a less risky approach in solving Papua problem. Democracy teach us that a direct or indirect peaceful dialogue will be better than a provocative political pressure. (My English is far from good, so if you can make it sound better, please don’t hesitate to improve it) Thank you.
Make Papua Better Place