The dream for West Papua’s independence will not fade.
No one will give up the push for ultimate Independence from Indonesia.
Recent events of political unrest and protest, they usually happen on August 17 each year.
That’s the date Indonesia became independent from Dutch (Netherlands).
West Papua’s political aspiration will be taken up by generation and generation, no matter what.
Any act of discrimination against West Papua’s indigenous Melanesians will only trigger hate and unrest.
The recent activism and protest against racial slurs is only evidence of this.
It’s bound to happen and it will happen anytime.
Indonesia will not exist as a peaceful country in the West Papuan region until an amicable solution is reached sooner.
It definitely requires international intervention.
I am from Green River in West Sepik and born and raised in neighboring Amanab when in the early to mid eighties many refugees from far as Biak Island, Fakfak to the closer Ubrup, Arso, Wamena and Sentani to name a few places lived in Amanab.
I played soccer with the refugee kids and would spent time at their camp having rice and fish with much chilly.
Their plight and their story are consistent.
They want to be independent and developing their own resources.
The controversial Act of Free choice is not accepted.
In 2006 I spent Christmas and New Year in Jayapura and mingling with few people about Independence and Autonomy- I realised there’s two groups among the West Papuans.
One is staunch advocate for full Independence and another group favours just greater autonomy and still remain part of Indonesia.
I’d like to suggest if there is any provision available through international conventions, we should allow a second referendum to test the veracity of the Act of Free Choice and whatever outcome must be accepted.
It’s public knowledge that the act of free choice was controversial so to right it, give them another go.
The outcome would also indicate the stance of Melanesian West Papuans.
My other view, though there is international pressure for Indonesia to afford Independence to West Papua, the region must unite.
From Sorong to Jayapura to Merauke to Sorong and the Islands.
So far there are internal conflicts about leadership and views on Independence.
In 2011 there was a conference at the Jubilee University in Port Moresby – West Sepik leader (late) John Tekwie was the main host.
I attended the meeting.
Ps Neles Tepayo who was based at Cendrawasih University in Jayapura stressed in that meeting they need to push for their plight through peaceful means , there must be unity in their vision and recognition of a leader.
As I reflect, I hope his statements did not imply a leadership tussle is a factor challenging their pursuit for political independence.
West Papua is a multi tribal region like PNG.
I am convinced unless we have a referendum, we can’t conclude my view that West Papuans are split in their position for political independence.
The political unrest will not end at all, it’s a generational legacy and it just needs a spark to realise the intensity it may cause.
It’s time we find a common ground and settle this once and for all.
If there is allowance through any international convention-give West Papuans a second go at Referendum.
PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook Veronica Kamon