Daily Archives: September 5, 2010

A Small Paradise That Will Be Annihilated: View From Merauke, West Papua

Tuesday, 31 August 2010 12:37
Opinion

(first appeared at http://www.indigenouspeoplesissues.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6461:a-small-paradise-that-will-be-annihilated-view-from-merauke-west-papua&catid=62:southeast-asia-indigenous-peoples&Itemid=84 )

A Small Paradise That Will Be Annihilated: View From Merauke, West Papua

Rosa Biwangko Moiwend, 2010

The Land of Papua, a land of great riches, a small paradise that fell to earth. This is how Frangky Sahilatua, the Malukan musician, sings the praises of the land of Papua in his song Aku Papua which is so popular thanks to the singer Edo Kondologit.

These riches have turned this small paradise into an attraction for investors from Indonesia and from around the world. Forests, land, water, minerals – everything is there to be plundered by these people. The lyrics are all too true: ‘All that land, all those rocks, the riches that are full of hope.’ Everything in that land is of priceless value. Not only the land itself but the savannahs that stretch for miles, the Kayu Putih (Melalaleuca sp), the peat and the tall, elegant trees in Merauke that cover 1,6 million hectares, full of hope that they will save Indonesia and the whole world from a looming food crisis. But then, what hope is there that anything will be left for the children and grandchildren of the owners of this land? Will all this be consumed by the people who come here just to collect those rocks that are full of hope?

In Merauke, in 2000, district chief Johanes Gluba Gebze offered Merauke as a granary when launching his massive project called the Merauke Integrated Rice Estate – MIRE. This was to be a fantastic programme, with the full support of the agriculture department of the central government. Then in 2008, when a food crisis struck the world, forcing up the price of food everywhere, many agrarian countries, including Indonesia, started to get busy, thinking up new sources of food round the world. This crisis provided the launching pad for increased investment in food production. This led to the Indonesian government and its department of agriculture looking everywhere for strategic locations, land that is unused, land with the potential to attract these investors.

In a presentation at the editorial office of Kompas in June this year, the IPB (Institut Pertanian Bogor) which had conducted research regarding the MIFEE project, said that Indonesia will face a crisis in 2010 – 2025. The lack of sufficient land in Java, due to the very rapid increase in population, has resulted because of the emergence of nine megalopolises in Java. This has resulted in a decline in the supply of food while the Indonesian population is estimated to increase to 300 million. This could lead to famine by 2025 which highlights the need to find a solution in the form of vast areas of land. Merauke was seen as the best way to solve the problem. Agus Sumule, an expert on the staff of the governor of Papua, said it would be an act of grave injustice because it meant that Papua, and especially Merauke, would be expected to bear all the consequences of the food crisis in the world and in Indonesia. This burden, he said, should be borne by districts throughout Indonesia, from east to west and from north to south. According to Sumule: ‘It is grossly unfair for a single province, a single district and still worse, a single ethnic group, to have to carry the burden of the national food crisis.’

Arguing in favour of the need to improve the local economy and in favour of food self-sufficiency, the Merauke project was enthusiastically welcomed by John Gluba Gebze. The local government and the central government then carried out their own studies and produced a draft for this project. The central government came up with the idea of a mega project called Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE), along with government regulation No 20/2008 on National Land Allocation, identifying Merauke as the main area for the national agricultural sector. These plans were drawn up unilaterally; there was no co-ordination between the central government and the provincial government. The district chief and his staff in Merauke sidestepped discussions with the provincial government. The result was that the Indonesian president enacted Inpres 5/2008 requiring the adoption of the MIFEE plan as part of provincial land allocation.

Taking several things into consideration, the provincial government recommended the allocation of 5,552 hectares for MIFEE, but the department of agriculture decided that 1.6 hectares should be allocated to the project. An area of such huge dimensions, imposed on the map of Papua, includes not only agricultural land and transmigration sites which are suitable for food production but also virgin forests and protected areas including peat, water catchment areas and even residential areas including the kampungs of the indigenous people, the Malind people.

So, what about the people who live on this land? In all the discourse about the mega MIFEE project that has taken place between the Merauke district government and the central government, there has been virtually no mention of the indigenous people who live in the area. Yet, long before the Europeans ‘discovered’ New Guinea and the southern regions, the Malind-Anim (Malind people) had been living there for generations. Findings by anthropologists and missionaries like the Rev. E.B Savage from the London Missionary Society wrote about the Malind people in a publication of 1891. A.C. Haddon published the first portrait of the Marind/Malind people. And later Van Baal and several other Dutch anthropologists began to document the lives of the Malind/Marind people in the southern regions of Papua.

This project has been drafted without any mention of the human developments of the Malind people as one of its definitive impacts. Indeed, the central and local governments have given the impression that this land is uninhabited, that it belongs to no-one. The people who live in unity with nature and in their native dwellings have simply been ignored. During the planning stage, the indigenous people were never invited to negotiate, nor were they even told about the MIFEE project. They were kept quite unaware of the fact that their kampungs and villages would be included within the strategic mapping of MIFEE. As a result, their customary land has been valued at a very low price. Moreover, they face the threat of being relocated to land that belongs to other clans, when this project goes ahead.

The strategic planning of MIFEE does indeed say that the project will raise per capita income of the local people, that peasants will be supported by the provision of modern equipment and technology. But it also states that, in the initial stages, skilled transmigrants from outside Merauke will be moved in to run the project and to handle the transfer of technology. It will only be in the longer term that training centres will be set up to educate local people in the techniques of agricultural production. This raises the question: how will local peasants be involved in the project? It is extremely regrettable that such plans will only result in the further dis-empowerment of the Papua people in Merauke.

The marginalisation of the Malind people in Merauke can only get worse. Ever since the commencement of the large-scale transmigration programme and the inadequacies of education, health and economic facilities in Merauke, the Malind people have been elbowed out and have become nothing more than spectators. They have even become spectators in the transmigration kampungs. And what is even more regrettable, they will lose their customary lands as a result of the seizure of their land in the name of development, they will lose their customary systems and regulations. Their regulation of kampong boundaries, of village boundaries, their seasonal management as well as a range of customary laws will become indistinct and will disappear altogether.

With regard to the transfer of values and culture, our native language is more infrequently being spoken, the reason being that language is inseparable from land, water, forests, livestock, things that are all part of an inseparable unity. Should any of these elements be lost, the language gets lost too. Stories that pass down through the generations from our ancestors (Dema) become more and more difficult to understand because the sacred borders are replaced by rice-fields, fields of maize and palm oil plantations. The identity of the Malind people is gradually lost along with the destruction of the natural features that are the symbol of each clan. The Gebze with their coconut symbol, the Mahuze with their sago symbol, the Basiks with their pig symbol, the Samkki with their kangaroo symbol, the Kaize with their Kasuari and Balagaise (falcon birds) symbol; everything will get lost. In other words, the MIFEE food project will lead to the annihilation of the Malind people.

It is more than likely that in five or ten years time, the next generation of Malind people will no longer sing: ‘I grew up together with the wind, together with the leaves, together with the sago, together with the coconut trees.’ Instead, they will sing: ‘I grew up without the wind, without the leaves, without my sago village. I know nothing about my Dema, the symbol of my tradition, my language, my homeland. I will no longer be able to speak about my origins. All I will be able to say is that Papua is the land of my ancestors, the land where I was born.’

Because of all this, no-one should be surprised when people start describing MIFEE as a clear case of genocide by the Indonesian government, because it has been well-planned and well-organised. All the legal elements are there: government regulations, presidential instructions, the strategic planning and the maps that provided the necessary requirements for genocide.

When all these cries are heard, the Indonesian government will have to be ready to take the consequences, it will have to take responsibility before the ancestors of the Malind people, the Papuan people and the international community.

International League of People's Struggle supports West Papua

News

In Amsterdam on August 21, The International League of Peoples’ Struggle, passed resolutions to support the struggle for justice in West Papua.

Full text of resolutions below:

RESOLUTION ON WEST PAPUA
21 August 2010

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) expresses its unreserved support for the aspirations of the people of West Papua for freedom and justice for the West Papuan peoples.

The situation in West Papua continues to deteriorate with military operations against the West Papuan people backed by US and Australian interests.

Since March 2010, the Indonesian reactionary government has launched military operations, among others, in Puncak Jaya, Papua province. The operations aim to destroy the people’s struggle to defend their land and natural resources from national and multinational company plunder. The military operations have caused great danger on the lives of the people, destitution and grave violations of human rights.

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) also calls on the world people to support the following demands:
– To immediately stop and suspend all military and paramilitary operations against civilians;
– To immediately stop the so-called anti-terror troops (Detachment 88) funded by the United States and Australia, from being utilized against the people expressing their right to protest and demonstrate;
– To immediately release all political prisoners without prejudice; and
– To bring all perpetrators of human rights violations to justice.

RESOLUTION ON DISCUSSION AND DIALOGUE

21 August 2010
The International Coordinating Group (ICG) supports the initiative by the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) Australian Chapter, in conjunction with the ILPS Indonesian Chapter, to organize discussion and dialogue with the West Papuan people.

Indonesia and the challenge of Papuan separatism

copyright rests with original author

Piece originally appears at http://www.idsa.in/node/5803/1097

Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis [India]
August 25, 2010

IDSA COMMENT

Indonesia and the challenge of Papuan separatism

Bilveer Singh

Introduction

If there are any symbols of Papuans’ continued quest and determination
for sovereign independence1, it is their continued attachment to their
flag, the Morning Star or Bintang Kejora (in Indonesian), their
Anthem, Hai Tanahku Papua (in Indonesian) or Oh, My Land Papua,
written by a Dutch missionary in the 1930s and the continued existence
of the OPM, Papua Independence Movement since 1964. The Morning Star
was first formally unveiled on 1 December 1961, symbolising the onset
of the Republic of West Papua and flew till October 1962, when the
former Dutch colony was transferred to the United Nations Temporary
Executive Authority through a deal brokered by the United States,
mainly to prevent Indonesia from joining the Soviet Camp during the
Cold War. Indonesia took control of the territory in the following
year and formally incorporated West Papua, renamed West Irian, into
Indonesia in 1969, recognised by the United Nations. However, Papuans
have continued to challenge the territory’s integration into Indonesia
and a bloody struggle has ensued ever since, with supporters of Papuan
independence claiming that more than 100,000 Papuans have been killed
by the Indonesian military. The violence has continued right to the
present period and it remains illegal to fly the Bintang Kejora in
Indonesia and many Papuans continue to be incarcerated for doing so.
Anatomy of Papua

Located on the easternmost part of Indonesia, geographically it
constitutes one-fifth of the country but only has a population of 3
million (of which the natives constitute only 50 per cent). Indonesia,
where 90 per cent of the people are Muslim, has a population of nearly
240 million. Papua is a largely Christian territory, where the
Protestants constitute the majority, followed by the Catholics and
then Muslims. However, tribalism is extremely dominant with more than
265 tribes representing the Putra Daerah or Sons of the Soil
(natives). Yet, the territory is extremely rich in natural resources,
especially oil, gas, gold and copper. It is also geo-strategically
important, bordering on land with Papua New Guinea and fronting the
Pacific Ocean.
Explaining Papuans’ Desire for Independence

Even though Indonesia declared independence in August 1945 and had to
fight the Dutch to gain complete sovereignty in December 1949, the
Dutch only surrendered Papua in October 1962. This represents an
important historical anomaly as Papua remained for another 12 years as
a Dutch colony compared to the rest of Indonesia. This provided the
Dutch ample time to develop a local Papuan elite that was committed to
independence and hence the importance of the Morning Star, National
Anthem, not to mention a rudimentary Parliament that was formed in
Jayapura in 1961. However, due to the Cold War, President Kennedy
succeeded in pressurising the Dutch to surrender the territory in 1962
and Indonesia, with the support of the West, legitimately gained
control of the territory by 1969. However, this was largely undertaken
against the wishes of the Papuan elites and hence the continued
struggle for Merdeka or independence ever since.

> From the perspective of Papuans, there are a number of grievances that
have provided a catalyst and triggered their demands for independence.
First, the sense of historical injustice when Papua was handed over to
Indonesia by the Dutch in 1962 without consulting Papuan elites and
later, the fraudulent manner in which the referendum, called Act of
Free Choice (but what the Papuans call Act of No Choice) was held in
1969. Thus, for the Papuans, Indonesia is an illegal colonizer and the
territory’s status should be reviewed through a referendum. Second,
gross unhappiness in the manner Jakarta has flooded the territory with
non-Papuans, mostly Muslims, thereby creating what Papuans refer to as
‘demographic and cultural genocide’ and where they are fast becoming
minorities in their own land. This has also intensified
social-cultural conflicts between the natives (Putra Daerah) and the
transmigrants (Pendatangs), the latter usually backed by officialdom.
Third, demographically, Papuans feel discriminated against, with the
majority Malay Indonesians looking down on the Melanesian Papuans (for
their dress code, eating and drinking habits, etc) and worst still,
most privileges being given to the former at the expense of the
latter.

Fourth, there is the rising impoverisation of the Papuans. Despite the
immense wealth of the territory, Papuans are among the poorest in
Indonesia. Instead, the wealth is sucked out to benefit non-Papuans
and foreigners, who in alliance with Jakarta, continue to benefit from
Jakarta’s rule over the territory. The operation of Freeport McMoran,
the world’s largest gold mine operator, is a case in point. Fifth,
Papuans are also in rage as the territory’s environment has been
pillaged and more important, the forest, which for the Papuans is not
only a community property but also important religiously, being
plundered. Finally, most blatant of all, has been the immense human
rights violations undertaken continuously by almost every government
in power in Jakarta since the days of Sukarno. Papuans have continued
to suffer as Indonesia has continued to treat the territory as a
colony and where any form of opposition, peaceful or otherwise, is
dealt with brutally. Indonesians refer to this as the ‘security
approach’ to development and Indonesia’s democratization in 1998 has
not really altered much as far as Papua is concerned. Many Papuan
leaders have been murdered by the Indonesian military, such as Theys
Eluay in November 2001. The continued existence, despite weaknesses,
of the Papua Independence Movement, is a testimony of Papuans’
willingness to take to arms to achieve their goal of independence. In
short, injustice, intolerance, exploitation and violence are the main
drivers that have motivated Papuans to seek an alternative future for
themselves.
Why is Indonesia Unwilling to give in to Papuan Separatists?

Papua is not only strategically vital, being a land, air and maritime
border zone, but probably more important is the immense wealth it
possesses. Jakarta depends on Papua for the bulk of its revenue and
Papua is probably Indonesia’s most important ‘golden goose’. It would
be a strategic and economic disaster if the territory were to be lost.
Also, Indonesians view Papua as an integral part of the Unitary State
of the Republic of Indonesia and any leader even contemplating giving
independence to Papua would be viewed as a national traitor, a price
President Habibie paid for East Timor’s independence. At the same
time, despite Papuans’ unhappiness, the bulk of the international
community continues to support Indonesia’s ownership of Papua given
that Indonesia is much more important than Papua. Jakarta leaders have
also argued that to give in to Papuans’ demand for independence would
open the Pandora’s Box leading others to demand likewise, resulting in
the break-up of Indonesia. In the final analysis, it is the simple
issue of political, economic and military asymmetry, and where the
Papuans are simply not in a position to challenge and dislodge
Indonesia. As such, while Indonesia is unprepared to abandon the
territory and most Papuans are unhappy to remain in Indonesia, the
impasse cannot be broken due to the paralysis both parties find
themselves in.
Indonesia’s Peace Overtures

Following the collapse of Suharto’s New Order and the onset of
democratic Indonesia, Jakarta has made peace with other separatists,
be it in East Timor (through a referendum leading to independence) or
with Aceh (leading to greater autonomy and local rule). In the same
vein, Jakarta has peddled what is referred to as Autonomi Khusus or
Special Autonomy in 2001, to meet half way Papuan grievances and
demands, and rejected a referendum a la East Timor as was demanded by
Papuan activists, fearing a break up Indonesia. While Papuans have
gained much in terms of Special Autonomy funds (5 trillion Indonesia
Rupiahs to date), the territory remains backward as the bulk of the
money is used for administration and pilfered through corruption. At
the same time, despite agreeing to a Special Autonomy status for
Papua, Jakarta has continuously undermined it. First, without
consulting the local administrative bodies, as was provided for in the
Special Autonomy arrangements, Jakarta divided Papua into three
administrative provinces even though later the Constitutional Court
deemed this illegal but two provinces remain in operation today.
Second, despite agreeing to permit Papuans to display their cultural
attributes, Jakarta reneged on this, arguing that it was promoting
separatism, especially with regard to the display of the Morning Star
and singing of Hai Tanahku Papua. In short, Papuans continue to view
Jakarta in bad faith and this is the main reason why the Cendrawasih
(Bird of Paradise) symbolising Papua, continues to fear the Garuda,
symbolising Indonesia.
Papuans Remain Unsatisfied and Suspicious

While some Papuan elites accepted the Special Autonomy proposal,
eventually, most in Papua were unhappy as hardliners in Jakarta
believed that too much had already been given to the Papuans and that
if no ‘roll-back’ takes place it will only be a matter of time before
Papuan independence becomes a reality. Also, most Papuans do not see
any major improvement in their livelihood, especially the violence
against them by the military, police and intelligence apparatus.
Instead, many Papuans would prefer to internationalise their plight
and seek a third party to settle the issue as they do not trust the
Jakarta elites and Indonesians in general. Jakarta, instead, realising
that the Papuans are being lost, has tried to launch various ‘peace
talks’, organised by the Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Legal and
Security Affairs, the Indonesian Intelligence Agency, Home Affairs and
even Indonesian Resilience Agency (linked to the Defence Ministry) but
with no success. Incumbent President Bambang Yudhoyono has tasked the
Indonesian Institute of Sciences to draw up a ‘road map’ for Papua’s
future, but again little progress has been made. All these Indonesian
measures are aimed at circumventing internationalization of the Papuan
issue, which most Papuan elites demand but which Jakarta has been
unwilling to agree even though with regard to the Aceh settlement, a
third party, with the support of the Norwegian Government, succeeded
in making a breakthrough. Papuans are hoping for a similar opportunity
so as to ensure that the agreement reached between Jakarta and
themselves will be honoured.

In the meantime, as the deadlock continues, Papua continues to burn.
Violence by the security apparatus against Papuans continues to be
reported, with the military and police hunting the new separatist
leader, Goliat Tabuni, who succeeded Kelly Kwalik, who was shot dead
in December 2009 by security forces. With little or no hope of
progress, with the abuses and violence continuing, the traditional
separatist leaders are also losing their grip over their followers,
with many of these leaders accused of being covert operatives for
Jakarta. Amidst the continuing violence, Jakarta is rumoured to be
thinking of creating additional provinces in the territory, in a
traditional game of divide and rule, to weaken Papuan nationalism and
quest for independence. This has, instead, led to the rise of new
radical and hard-line younger leaders who are prepared to raise the
stakes through greater violence, to make Jakarta pay more dearly, and
more importantly bring the fight to Jakarta so that Indonesians and
the world community will pay greater attention to their plight. In
short, the HAMAS of Papua seems to be surfacing and if Jakarta
continues to neglect Papuans’ demands, the struggle is likely to
worsen, at great cost of life to both Papuans and Indonesians as a
whole, and where the international community, with stakes in Papua and
Indonesia, will also be affected. Not only will Indonesia’s democracy
but more importantly the very idea of Indonesia as a unitary state
will probably be under stress and test.

1. For deeper insights into the Papuan conundrum see Bilveer Singh,
Papua: Geopolitics and the Quest for Nationhood (New Brunswick, USA:
Transaction Press, 2008).

SMH: Papuans' Future an Open Question After Failure of Autonomy

MEDIA INFORMATION:

The Sydney Morning Herald
September 4, 2010
http://www.smh.com.au/world/papuans-future-an-open-question-after-failure-of-autonomy-20100903-14ucc.html

Papuans’ Future an Open Question After Failure of Autonomy

by Tom Allard

JAKARTA: A broad consensus is emerging in Indonesia that special
autonomy for the country’s fractious provinces of Papua and West
Papua has failed miserably.

> From military advisers to the President, Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono, to respected think tanks and the indigenous
population of the resource-rich region, there is near unanimity
that the policy introduced almost 10 years ago to placate
separatist sentiment has resulted in only deeper discontent.
However, there is little agreement on who, and what, is to
blame, or how to repair the situation.

As part of a dialogue to address simmering discontent in the
region, the Indonesian government would have to acknowledge and
apologise for the manipulated vote in 1969 that led to its
inclusion in the republic, said the Jakarta-based analyst for
the International Crisis Group, Sidney Jones, the author of two
recent reports on the provinces.

Ms Jones warned that ”increased radicalisation is likely” if
reconciliation efforts are not pursued by Dr Yudhoyono.

Jakarta’s failure to address human-rights abuses in Papua and
West Papua, the two Indonesian provinces that make up the
western half of the island of New Guinea, the continuing heavy
presence of security forces, an influx of migrants, rampant
corruption and persistent poverty are all undermining the
”special autonomy” offered to the region almost a decade ago.

Violence has worsened in the past two years, and the Papuan
People’s Council, the body set up under special autonomy to
represent indigenous values, decided to symbolically ”hand
back” special autonomy to the provincial parliament as part of
a wave of mass rallies that took place in June and July.

Ms Jones said Dr Yudhoyono must begin talks as a matter of
urgency, starting discussions informally to avoid ”posturing on
both sides” before engaging in a public reconciliation. New
governing arrangements must then follow for the region, which
remains the major source of separatist agitation across the
sprawling multi-ethnic nation.

”They are going to have to address the Act of Free Choice and
acknowledge that there was a manipulated process,” Ms Jones
said. ”An apology and an acknowledgement about it is needed to
get over the hump.”

The region, with its Melanesian indigenous population, was
initially excluded from the fledgling Indonesian state during
negotiations with the former Dutch colonial government,
remaining under the control of the Netherlands until the 1960s.

Western powers ceded to Jakarta’s long-standing demands for the
region’s inclusion in the republic, but only after a United
Nations sponsored vote of Papuans. Rather than a broad
referendum, a hand-picked group of just over 1000 Papuans voted
unanimously in the 1969 plebiscite to join Indonesia. The vote
was widely derided as farcical and unrepresentative, and it
remains a potent source of rancour among Papuans and their most
powerful weapon in challenging the legitimacy of Jakarta’s rule.

While Ms Jones does not advocate a new referendum on Papuan
independence, or view it as likely, it remains a central demand
of a coalition of Papuan groups and the Papuan People’s Council,
or Majelis Rakyat Papua, a body with authority to speak for the
Melanesian population under the special autonomy arrangements.

Jakarta has declined to even respond to the demands. Even so, it
may well be a disappointing exercise for independence advocates
as the two provinces’ population is now reckoned to be split
evenly between the indigenous people and migrants from elsewhere
in Indonesia.

Dr Yudhoyono, in his only concession to the unrest, agreed to
begin an ”audit” of the region’s special autonomy next year.

Jakarta is dissatisfied with special autonomy because the Papuan
provinces get more money from the central government than any
other – $1 billion a year, or about 10 times more than provinces
in Java – but have yet to see much economic progress.

A leading Papuan activist in the main city of Jayapura,
Frederika Korain, said the special autonomy funds were going to
non-Melanesian Papuans who dominate the economy.

”In some areas, all the shops belong to non-Papuans,” she said.

Ms Korain said any reconciliation would have to be preceded by
the end to abuses by Indonesian security forces, curbing the
growth of pro-Jakarta militias and a sincere effort to give
Papuans back their ”dignity”.

She flagged a continuing campaign of mass mobilisation by
indigenous Papuans. While most are determined to pursue
non-violent means to achieve their ends, there is a small but
growing element who support taking armed action.

Referendum demand sent to central government

All items abridged in translation.

Bintang Papua, 1 September 2010

Referendum demand sent to central government

After a few weeks of ‘rest’, hundreds of members of the National
Commission of West Papua (KNPB) took part in a demonstration in front of the DPRP (Papua provincial assembly) office calling for a referendum to be held to resolve the political status of West Papua. They also rejected any dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.

The demonstrators, carrying flags and banners, were transported to the meeting place in seven trucks. On the way from Abepura, they were escorted by the police. Everything was very orderly although there was serious traffic congestion. One of the banners said: Long Live the People of Independent West Papua! Referendum the Best Solution.

Several of the orators called on members of the DPRP to come out and
meet them. After waiting for several hours, the chairman of the DPRP,
Drs John Ibo and Ruben Magai and several other members came out to meet the demonstrators.

A spokesman for the KNPB, Mako Tabuni said that a referendum will settle the matter once and for all. He said that they would not leave the place until the DPRP had given an assurance that their demand would immediately be sent by fax to the Indonesian parliament, the DPR, and to the Indonesian president.

In reply, John Ibo promised that the fax would be sent. He then invited Mako Tabuni and his colleagues to go up to the second floor of the building to see for themselves that the fax would be sent to the central government.

The large crowd then dispersed peacefully.

——————————