Prof. Ikrar Nusa Bhakti: Papua has become a Military Training Ground

JUBI, 10 November 2011

Papua has become a Military Training Ground

The senior Indonesian political commentator, Professor Ikrar Nusa Bhakti, said that the Indonesian military is keen to defend Papua as a military training ground. This is because, apart from Aceh, Papua is the only other natural place that is suitable for this purpose.

‘If Papua goes on being defended for this purpose, it is quite immoral,’ he said during a discussion at the Tembaga Hotel in Timika.

‘My reasoning is quite simple, because this not only turns the Papuans into enemies of the military or police but also provides the opportunity for outsiders to conduct what people refer to as humanitarian intervention. This could start with their just levelling criticisms but if things get “too ferocious”, the responsibility to protect principle can be used by these external forces.

‘And do you know what responsibility to protect means? It can easily be used as a shield for countries like the US or European countries to go ahead and do whatever they like in a country which they regard as being attractive economically or politically.’

Other countries where this has happened were, he said, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Egypt. So, the problem is: why has the government allowed the process to happen and not do what any government ought to be doing?

All this, he said, makes him, as a political commentator, ask whether it is not too hasty to accuse the OPM of being behind everything that is occurring in connection with Freeport. ‘It is also going too far for the Minister-Coordinator for Legal, Political and Security Affairs to say that the only one who can reach a solution for the land of Papua is God Almighty!’ That is to say, if this quotation in Metro TV and TV One is indeed correct. ‘Why is this so? According to me, the Minister-Coordinator should stop doing this. Why? Because, as I have already said, although the Papuan question is quite complex, it is not really all that difficult! In other words, there’s no need for all this shooting – bang, bang, bang – to happen because if we invite them (the Papuans) to hold talks, that is exactly what they want, isn’t it?’

Professor Ikrar then drew attention to the views of some Papuan leaders such as the minister of shipping, Freddy Numberi who has urged everyone not to regard the question of NKRI as being ‘harga mati’ (the bottom line).

Ikrar went on to say that Numberi is not the only one; there is also Professor Dr Yuwono Sudarsono, the former minister of defence who once said that NKRI is not something ‘indisputable’. Independence for the Papuan people is not ‘harga mati’ but ‘harga hidup’, in other words something that can be negotiated. ‘If Papuans have ever said that independence is ‘harga mati’, I cannot understand why the central government just follows suit.’

According to Prof. Ikrar, in politics there is no such thing as ‘harga mati’. Why do people also talk about a bargaining position’. This applies too to all those political experts who are to be heard in discussions on television.

This is why Prof. Ikrar who has on several occasions been asked for his opinion about the Papuan question, has said that he supports what Dr. Neles Tebay, the (Papuan) writer, has said who has proposed dialogue as the way to solve the Papuan problem.

Ikrar went on to say that Dr Tebay has spoken about the three components who bear arms, calling on them to put an end to their activities which are only causing difficulties for the people in Papua.But this means that on the side of the people, they need to reach agreement among themselves about who will be the
spokesperson for the Papuan people. ‘Don’t do what happened in the case of a peace seminar that was once held, which led to the appointment of all people from abroad.’

‘I think that the government should also open the way for dialogue because at the first stage, there will surely be some people who keep on shouting,’ Prof. Ikrar said in conclusion.

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