It is the first time in my life that I must support the statement from Thaha Al Hamid.
Indonesia consists of so many different ethnic groups which was in the past had their own governance in the form of traditional kingdom. The tribute system and the conquer of smallest kingdom into bigger one is basically a non-colonialism type. Even in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, etc, Kabupaten (District) was an old small self-govern entity and that is way democracy can be smoothly implemented through decentralization and general elections.
However, something went wrong so far during the era of militarism in Indonesia. The central government ignored the needs of freedom of every different ethnic group. Repression, public order and political stability have had marginalized not only Papuan but also almost every single ethnic group in Indonesia. It was very difficult to show their unique ethnic identity because of the SARA repression (Suku, Agama, Ras, Antar Golongan). We could say that there were limited freedom of expression on ethnicity, religion, race, and group of people. The creation of Indonesian identity is not finished yet. Even in the capital city of Jakarta, the identity of Betawi (Batavian) “the indigenous owner” of Jakarta land vanished.
The idea of Integrasi Kebangsaan is still there since the national independence of Indonesia 1945. However we forget about our own philosophy of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) — although in pieces of hundreds ethnic groups yet one big brotherhood of nation. If we are Indonesian really a big brotherhood accross culture and suku bangsa (ethnic/nation) then we must realize that we should not hurt each other.
In the early reform 1998-1999, during the Habibie administration, there was a spirit of decentralization and the willingness to listen the voice of every region including Papua. However, the delegation of Papuan which consist of hundreds representatives were asking directly for independence to the President. A very difficult request because Indonesia was at the brink of collapse and it also create a strong distrust to all Papuan leaders. When the big brotherhood in trouble, they stabbed it sharply to the heart. What next? the reaction from natioanalist Indonesian and Military was so strong and it made the promising talk stalled.
Why do most Westerners only see Papua from what they want to see? They might want Papuan to have their own independence state, but they never think about the consequences, the challenges and not to mention the cost for the people. We might visit Papua for hundred times and listen to the voice of independence, but we will never hear the sound of the silence of majority. How many peoples that we had a chance to talk to?
I do realize that my blog is sometimes also gone to far in crtiticizing Free Papua Movement, why and for what reasons?
I just want people in the world to see Papua from ordinary peoples’ eyes. We love peace and we hate conflict, and the most thing that we really dislike is the provocation from outside such as International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP). Have we realize that how many people killed in the name of IPWP? I believe now is more than ten innocent Papuan killed since the launch of IPWP. For ordinary Papuan, IPWP is only strengthen the distrust feeling of Indonesian Military and central government to Western people. IPWP gives an excuse for military and police to have stronger operation and bigger budget in Papua. Why do Westerners love to see Papuan suffers? If Westerners want t help Papuan, why don’t they talk to Indonesian government?
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) talks to Indonesian government, Amnesty International talks to Indonesian government, many international NGOs did a lot for the improvement of situation in Papua. But sadly, politician within IPWP just want to see Papuan suffers by instigating more conflict.
Please correct me if I am wrong.
Here is the statement from Thaha al Hamid.
Kompas, 1 May 2009
An occasion to reflect on Papua’s integration into Indonesia
According to Thaha M Alhamid, general secretary of the Papuan Presidium Council, PDP, 1 May, which marks the 46th anniversary of Papua’s integration into the Republic of Indonesia must be an occasion for reflecting on the situation in Papua.
‘Whether you commemorate this day as integration day or whatever you want to call it, I think that it’s not an occasion for hoisting lots of flags or making political speeches but for carrying out contemplation.’
He said it was necessary for the government and everyone in civil society to evaluate the process of development that had taken place in Papua since it had become a part of Indonesia. He said that many Papuans have not yet experienced the sense of ‘merdeka’ (freedom).
He said that Papuans were weighed down by poverty and were frequently victims of marginalisation because of policies that did not side with the Papuan people, the result being that Papuans had no sense of being proud to be part of Indonesia. ‘It seems that the powers that be are too steeped in symbolic nationalism to bother about dealing with matters of substance.’
Nationalism should make it possible to meet all the basic everyday needs such as adequate food and clothing and a place to sleep. It should also mean availability of education and health needs, he said.
He said that it was necessary to start a peaceful dialogue between the government and Papuan society, as a way to restore a mutual sense of trust and respect.
‘We hope that by conducting dialogue, Papua’s integration into Indonesia will not be something motivated solely by money but will mean integration between the nations (integrasi kebangsaan).