Freedom of the Press
Indonesian State Impunity Promotes
Until the hour someone sends me the “who, what, where, when, how, and why” on a breaking event, I, perhaps others as well, may not be able to do much more than add to the advocacy and compile whatever’s on the web in news and organizational support for this buffer that has been politically birthed between west and east, between democracy and narcissistic authoritarianism.
This Anzac Day weekend, we opened the first ever Free West Papua campaign office in Australia.
For more than 50 years, my people have suffered what I considered to be a slow-moving genocide under the repressive military occupation of Indonesia. During the second world war, the “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels” of West Papua came to the aid of Australian soldiers. Now it is the West Papuans that need Australia’s help in order to end human rights abuses so that my people can be free to live in peace.
Five West Papuans were killed when Indonesian military and police personnel shot into a protesting crowd on Monday, local media reported. Reports say the protesters were not separatist rebels, but community members angered by the alleged assault on a group of adolescents who had clashed with soldiers the previous night.
The protesters, some carrying ceremonial Papuan hunting bows that have a purely ritual function, expressed their grievance through a traditional Papuan waita dance, which involves shouting, running in circles and mimicking birdsong.
The police ordered the protesters to disperse and then struck them with batons and sticks when they refused to comply. Police and military personnel then fired live ammunition into the crowd.
For years I worked as a tour guide, sharing my knowledge of the region with those few individuals who desired a glimpse of what the National Geographic calls “one of the wildest, most isolated frontiers on earth.” But on this visit I wanted to verify a village burning in the Lanny Jaya area and continue filming the West Papuan refugees living in Papua New Guinea.
Jakarta: Two French journalists have been sentenced to two months and 15 days imprisonment in an Indonesian jail for reporting in the West Papua province while on a tourist visa.
http://etan.org/issues/wpapua/2014/1409wpap.htm – September 2014.
http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/9173 – 4/22/2013: “The military presence in West Papua is almost always accompanied by human rights violations such as killings, arbitrary arrests, rape and torture.”
On “Uncontacted People”
The Indians’ decision to make contact was not driven by a desire for material goods, however, but by fear. With the help of translators who spoke a closely related indigenous Panoan language, the Acre Indians explained that “violent attacks” by outsiders had driven them from the forest. Later, details emerged that their elder relatives were massacred, and their houses set on fire. Illegal loggers and cocaine traffickers in Peru, where the Indians are thought to come from, are likely to blame, according to the Brazilian government. Indeed, Funai’s own nearby monitoring post was shut down in 2011 due to increasing escalations with drug traffickers.
So what do anthropologists who specialize in first contact say? Are there ‘uncontacted tribes’? The short answer is ‘no’, and while I appreciate SI’s work on behalf of ‘tribal’ people, I find it disappointing to find that they still use this sort of language. Any one who reads the material on their web page will see that by ‘uncontacted’ they actually man ‘frequently in contact with, and victimized by, outsiders’. Let’s take a look at the evidence from SI’s website.
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