Giay: West Papua – Land of Mourning, Bloodshed (Peace?) and Humanitarian Intervention

From Kingmi Church  – Papua

edited by WPM for clarity

Also at Numbay Media — posted on Engage Media website

June 28, 2012

Rev. Benny Giay
Diplomatic Briefing, Hotel Trefa
Jakarta, June 27, 2012

Papua Land of Mourning And Bloodshed (Peace????) And Humanitarian Intervention[1]

Rev. Benny Giay

Since May 2012 until June there has been a series of shootings in Jayapura in the context of our struggle to fulfill our “Papua land of peace” dream. The government has claimed the shooting has been carried out by separatist groups. Papuans respond to such claim is as usual: “Oh itu lagu lama. The authorities are playing the old song.”

One way to respond to that “old song” is to look at the root cause of shootings that ended with the killing of Mako Tabuni on 14 June, followed by the arrest of other members of KNPB in Papua a few days ago. In my view this development has something to do with (a) first of all how 2 different actors (Indonesia and Papua) that belong two {separate} cultures (Malay and Melanesia) view themselves and their past. Indonesia’s view is that Papua has become part of Indonesia and has been in contact since 8th century with them. Therefore Papuans are brothers.

Papuans on the other hand believe that it might be true that Papuans has been dealing with the ancestors of the rest Indonesians for several centuries, but that contact occurred in context of domination, slave trade and oppression. The contact between the two parties was one of master – slave  relations. Therefore, Papuans see their past relations with Indonesia (Tidore, Ternate and Maluku etc.) as history of robbery, slavery, destruction of their villages and burning of Papuan community settlements.

Secondly since 1960s when Indonesia took over Papua,  Papuans were viewed {By Indonesians} (and have been viewed until now) as primitives, backward, uncivilized people; and therefore Jakarta since that time promoted itself as the guru, the teacher of new civilization to “lift up socio-economic welfare of Papuans”. Jakarta then formulated what an Indonesian scholar call: migrant biased development policy (which in brief is a policy made by central government to guarantee the interest, safety and future of Indonesian migrants in Papua, while ignoring Papuan identity, culture and their future.) Papuans have no place in such a development scheme. Papuans are non humans. Second class citizens. This Indonesian neo-colonial policy (if we can use that term) was from the beginning up to now has been guarded by security institutions. Papuans who resisted this undemocratic policy has been dealt with by security forces.

Thirdly, as a result Papua has become “site of mourning”, “site of collective trauma”, and a site of oppression and mourning”. Three days of mourning that we had (June 14-16) as we gathered in Post 7 Sentani after the killing of Mako Tabuni, was not a new thing.  We only repeat what our past generation went through since 1960s. Facing such migrant biased development (or Indonesian colonial policy) as shown above, we, Papuans since 1960s are like the Javanese of 1900s Central Java, who were treated as second class citizens by the Dutch (as Indonesian history books say today); or Black South Africans of 1940s who suffered under apartheid policy. In fact this “migrant biased development policy” I think is “an Indonesian version of apartheid racial policy” toward Papuans. Theologically speaking Papuans of today and in the past have  been living under modern Pharaoh or modern Goliath, supported by the international community and multinational companies who had come to Papua and robbed the natural resources, killing off the Papuans.

Fourthly, the killing of Mako Tabuni by Indonesian Police has to be seen in the light of history of Papuan resistance to Jakarta’s migrant development policy pointed out above. Mako Tabuni and other civilians who voiced their right and grievances have been and are stigmatized as separatist. Mako, who was leading a civilian {civil society} group using peaceful means in demanding Referendum, has been seen as a threat to Indonesian political interest. This strategy to stigmatize was used by Erfi Triassunu, former Military Chief, in March 2011. He issued a confidential document saying that Papuan Christian Church (Kingmi – of which I am the Chairman of its Synod) is a religious arm of the Papuan Liberation organization (OPM). Other Church leaders of Papua in September 1966 were accused by security forces in Papua as an umbrella organization of OPM. Similarly Papuan NGOs who {promote advocacy around} human right abuses in the past have been seen in the same light.

The question now is who is behind the shootings that started May? According to Government it is Mako of KNPB, and Mako or KNPB is OPM. I can see the shootings from the point of view 3 actors, each of with their agendas.  First party is Mako or KNPB who represent Papua demanding referendum to deal with new modern Pharaoh. Second actor is a small and insignificant group of international solidarity group with agenda for democracy and promotion Papuan human right. Third actor is Jakarta: who fears the threat of disintegration and panic; not willing to change the approach to Papua; hold on to the sacred doctrine “territorial integrity” with the support of international community”. And that it is OK to use military or Police force to kill or annihilate separatist group to maintain “the territorial integrity”. Looking at the history of civilian’s resistance the shooting since May of this year was carried out by agents of Government to weaken the civilians struggle for referendum using means of non violence. Jakarta’s fear that is the international solidarity groups would promote the cause of Papuan civilians at the international niveau (level).

Jakarta is now on safer ground. They have has shot dead Mako Tabuni whom they accused as OPM agent. But the dream for “Papua: Land of Peace” remains a dream. Police and military are still searching for the members of KNPB. Military and Police are in control. Papua is still a land of mourning, a land of trauma and bloodshed. Modern Pharaohs and Goliath are in control in Papua today.  It is here that we need “third party” as it is in the case of Israelites and Pharaoh (Exodus 3:7-9). Papua need a moratorium”. Now is the time for Papua and Jakarta to formulate “new Indonesia”. But to do this we need a “humanitarian intervention”.

Toch, perpetrators of Human right violations in Papua will never be taken to court. They in fact will be promoted. Paulus Waterpauw (Deputy Police Chief of Papua) and Bigman Lumban Tobing (Papua Police Chief) will follow the footsteps of Col. Hartomo, the Kopassus commander who ordered the abduction and the killing of the late Theys Hiyo Eluay in November 2001; he was promoted last week as another high ranking military elite in Jakarta.

Jakarta, June 27, 2012

Rev. Benny Giay

Ketua Synode Kingmi di Tanah Papua

(Papuan Christian Church)

[1] I am dedicating this reflection to pastors and the ministers of the Lord, in Papuan Church History who were shot dead by Indonesian Security Officers in the past out allegation that they were agents of Papua Liberation Organization.

Please leave a comment. Keep it nice to other users, and remember, no disrepect tolerated. Yell at the killers, not each other; Criticise the abusers deed, not their race or faith.. And please keep it relevant and punchy.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: