West Papua, land of the morning star
Wednesday,1 December 2010
On December 1st West Papuan people will celebrate their independence day. They will probably be brutally suppressed by the Indonesian police and military, acting on behalf of the Indonesian military elite and the multinational businesses who regard West Papua as theirs.
One of the last bastions of overt colonialism, supported by the covert colonialism of multinational imperialism, West Papuan people have been exposed to the rampant human rights abuses and willful environmental rape that are unchecked and lawless under the conditions created by military occupation. The Indonesian military controls West Papua not any civil administration. The military are in charge of the rampant logging, the mining, the flow of money from Jakarta, the unregulated heavily polluting mining and every thing else. The military are also there to make sure no Papuan people cause any problems for multinationals that want land and that people are cleared swiftly and effectively from their ancestral land. The polarized example of what is happening to West Papua is a profound microcosm of the whole world being under vicious attack from multinational business and their vanguard the state militaries of the world.
With the fall of Suharto in 1998 and the independence of East Timor, Papuan people were allowed by Jakarta to organise a conference in 1999. Much to Jakarta’s horror the delegates from all over Papua re-affirmed their status as in independent country under occupation, That their national flag first raised on Dec 1st 1961 was their national flag and that they stood by their official deceleration of independence on Dec 1st 1971. In Jakarta military uniforms had been swapped for suits but the same military elite families still ruled and an immediate crackdown was launched against Papuan people who refused to be subservient to Jakarta’s brand of military imperialism. The repression remains the same today as under Suharto 30 years ago. Political activists such as Buchtar Tabuni and Filep Karma sit in jail cells for peacefully protesting against what has happened to their people. Today Papuan pro-independence groups have more support from grass roots level to the intellectual elite than ever before.
The more the Indonesian military continue to oppress and murder people and the more that the multinationals with impunity appropriate land from people the more resilient and strengthened the Papua people become in their demands for justice. A new generation of students has emerged armed with laptops and knowledge to continue their parents long fight for self determination and environmental justice and protection. They along with the other Papuan leadership are fighting an environmental battle against exploitative multinationals and a political battle against the mainstream western imperialist philosophy of land control and statehood.
The environmental battle is about their land. Like all people around the world who live close to their land their whole lives revolve around its careful management. The multinationals that commit murder and threaten the very existence of people who want to remain connected to their land see no value in protecting the health and productivity of land. All they see is dollar signs in the form of natural resource extraction and tribal people in the way. This pits the multinationals in a fundamental conflict with people who live their lives closely attached to their land, in West Papua and elsewhere. All over West Papua land is taken from tribes, the military is brought in to clean the area of indigenous people and the multinationals move in to take what they want, pollute without restraint and give Jakarta a wedge of money.
This Wednesday, Dec 1st, 1000’s of people will take to the streets across West Papua and raise their Morning Star flag, (illegal under Indonesian law) to shout in the faces of multinationals and those who justify state military terrorism, land theft, denial of human rights and merciless natural resource exploitation. All of the Papuan traditional and indigenous movements and political groups will demand an end to colonialism, imperialism and land appropriation by multinationals and their state orchestrators. They will demand their own right of self determination of their lands and resources that are presently decided in distant business offices and will stand in solidarity with all oppressed people across the world who want to live in harmony with their land but are prevented from doing so by a small elite of unrepentant but powerful people who have the weapons to steal and oppress and the philosophy to believe that they have a right to do so. Papuans believe they cannot live without their land and don’t want to be disconnected and removed from it, that land is the peoples land, there for the benefit of everyone not just a few.