The determination of West Papua’s future

A powerful photo of a young girl at an independence rally in Wamena, West Papua this month. The young generation in West Papua has the flames of justice running through their veins. The struggle will continue until West Papua is free. Credit: Alexsandr Potoisky, Baliem Valley 2011

A powerful photo of a young girl at a West Papua National Committee (KNPB) independence rally in Wamena, West Papua on August 2, 2011. The young generation in West Papua has the flames of justice running through their veins. The struggle will continue until West Papua is free.

Full photo essay from Russian photojournalist Alexsandr Potoisky (in Russian, Google Translate may be necessary).

NB (2014 edit ): This photo has been shared massively and sold without credit to the original content creator, denying him funding to return to Papua and assist Papuan photojournalists. Please credit all content of West Papua subjects and origin, even for campaigning purposes. Each acknowledgement of intellectual property assists the support and development of indigenous media capacity. Each image shared or used for donations or marketing without acknowledgement, is the same plunder of indigenous West Papuan imagery as Indonesia does with Papuan culture, art, song, gold, oil, timber and blood. Please don’t be a plunderer. Acknowledge the provenance.

6 thoughts on “The determination of West Papua’s future

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  1. Hi everyone,
    any solution that ends the sufferings of the West Papuan people at the hands of a fascist Indonesia are acceptable.
    Real autonomy and the retreat of TNI would be a first step.
    I am concerned by the fact that so many West Papuans risk their life by demonstrating the way this young girl does. Hopefully those demonstrators will not be arrested and beaten or raped or murdered by the Indonesian security forces.


    1. We agree completely, however “real autonomy” was promised to West Papua many many years ago, and has in fact made the situation even worse through the increased opportunities for pillage that has been afforded to those with deep connections to the colonial Indonesian security forces. You are right, it IS fascism, but the only way to resist fascism is to meet it head on through sacrifice.

      If you read even a tenth of the articles that we have on this site, Papuans ARE dying indiscriminately and the only way they can survive is to resist powerfully through mass and brave acts of civil resistance like this pictured. After all dying when resisting is dying in freedom, and if one lives without freedom, one is already dead.

      It is up to those on the outside to create such a storm of support for these deeply courageous acts that the fascist warlords of Jakarta are forced out: that means – unequivocally – supporting the capacity to help citizen media develop and become a powerful and credible force. Helping West Papua Media deliver Safe Witness Journalism training is a first step so local activists can have the skills of getting their story out to the world in the safest possible manner.

      In the protection of life, one should never be afraid to face death.

  2. We agree Indonesia has retained its fascist ideology and the Indonesian government — who claims it is now democratic — is not embarrassed sending more and more troops to repress peaceful demonstrations in West Papua, and also Maluku and elsewhere in Indonesia.

    Yes, I fully support the idea of training West Papuans as witness journalists. Nowadays some digital cameras are becoming more affordable than ever. They are also small in size and digital images can be smuggled and diffused easily.

    I have met many West Papuans who said they were not afraid of dying for their freedom. However, I believe they will be even more helpful to the West Papuan cause by staying alive and in good health. I admire the bravery of West Ppauan people, but I wish they take as little risk as possible and stay alive to witness the actions of Indonesian security forces. The genocide of West Papuan people has been going on for decades. We all want to stop the genocide.

    With warm support to westpapuamedia


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