West Papua: Inside Indonesia?

November 5, 2008

Photo: Leslie Butt

When it comes to the debate about the development in West Papua, we must be very careful in reading so many sources in the internet. Wind of change is still blowing in Indonesia after the reform movement in 1998, including in West Papua provinces. Indonesian citizen who live  in West Papua are now enjoying more freedom and economic development. If we compare it with the New Order era, West Papua is independent legally under the special autonomy law.

There are small elements of Papuan who still trying to destroy the positive development in Papua. Those Papuan are honest and hurt during the New Order regime, they dream of revenge in the name of their father and familes who were killed during the conflict between the military wing of Free Papua Movement  (OPM) and Indonesian military. Now peace and prosperity is moving in a fast track and more Papuan leaders hold a  key position in Papua and West Papuan provinces.

I do understand the difference perspectives among us regarding independence, so I suggest we must be very careful in understanding the reality in West Papua. The more we read about West Papua the more we understand. Although I am not in a full confidence with the articles within Inside Indonesia magazine, I think we should read the issue of Papua within the Inside Indonesia magazine, which has the special report/analysis about West Papua for the last 7 years.

Here is the editorial of the current edition.

Jennifer Robinson

For many people, West Papua is unquestionably part of Indonesia and therefore a proper topic for discussion in this magazine. For many others, it rankles. This difference in opinion boils down to a significant point in Papuan – and Indonesian – history. Next year marks 40 years since a UN sponsored vote in 1969, the Act of Free Choice (AOFC), which determined that West Papua would be integrated into Indonesia rather than become an independent state. Of course, there was another big and much-discussed anniversary in Indonesia this year. May 2008 marked ten years since the downfall of President Suharto and the beginning of reformasi. This anniversary prompted much reflection about the state of Indonesia’s democracy. That the anniversary of the AOFC is looming is hardly less significant. The contested histories arising from the AOFC – in particular concerning Papua’s status as a part of Indonesia – are at the root of ongoing conflict in Papua. Read the rest of this entry »

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Suharto in Inside Indonesia

February 6, 2008

Most of Western media coverage on Suharto is in a bad tatste. Just like in my previous article titled The Death of Suharto, I would like to add one more comment on a subjective Western perspective. This time I will write a brief comment to an article in one of the most important Foreign Journal on Indonesia, Inside IndonesiaRead the rest of this entry »