Yikwanak Yamin Kogoya: Where is West Papua now?


Analysis - Indonesia is splitting West Papua into three. Where does this leave the region now?

By Yamin Kogoya

The Papuan people's unifying name for their independence struggle, West Papua, is now being shattered by Jakarta's draconian policies. Under this new legislation, the two existing provinces have been divided into five, which include South Papua, Central Papua and Highland Papua.

Indonesian Vice President, Ma'ruf Amin told an audience at the Special Autonomy Law Change gathering in Jayapura (Papua's capital) on November 29, "Right now, we are building Papua better," according to Indonesian News Agency, ANTARA. He also said: "Changes to special autonomy are a natural thing and are in the process of the national policy cycle to make things even better."

While Jakarta is busy tearing apart West Papua with these deceitful words, Papuans everywhere raised the banned, Morning Star flag on December 1, to commemorate West Papua's 61st Independence Day, stolen by Jakarta in May 1963.

The day is significant and historic because it was on October 19, 1961 that the first New Guinea Council, known as Nieuw Guinea Raad, named West Papua as the name of a new modern nation-state; the Papuan Independent State was founded. It was before Papua New Guinea (PNG) gained independence in 1975 from Australia. Papuans were subjected to all kinds of abuse and violations due to how this island of New Guinea was named and described in colonial literature.

Foreign powers continue to dissect West Papua, renaming it, creating new identities, and reinventing new definitions by making it merely an outpost of foreign imperialism in the periphery where abundant food and minerals are extracted and stolen, without penalty or consequence. Papuans do not appear to give up their sacred ancestral land without a fight.

The name "West Papua", however, remains a burning flame in the hearts of all living beings who yearn for freedom and justice. The name was chosen 61 years ago because of this reason. This is the name of a newborn nation-state.

After Indonesia invaded West Papua on May 1, 1963, the name West Papua was changed to Irian Jaya. West Papua was called The Netherlands New Guinea up to the point of the first New Guinea Council in 1961.

archaic Autochthons, the spiritual ancestors of our dream-time spiritual warriors - the pioneers of nature - the first voyager across dangerous seas and land - the first agriculturalist - the most authentic, the original - we are the past and we are the future. West Papua is the original dream that has yet to be realised - a dream in the process of restoration to its original glory.

This is where West Papua is now. You cut me into pieces millions of times in millions of years, I will rebuild West Papua with these pieces a million times over again.

This article first appeared on Asia Pacific Report on December 1.

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