Daily Archives: August 26, 2013

War of Nerves between Papuan Governor and Papuan Political Prisoners

OPINION* / ANALYSIS

By: Selpius Bobii

Abepura State Prison, 19 August 2013

This was the first time the Governor of Papua had visited the Abepura State Prison. The Governor Lukas Enembe together with the Provincial Secretary, the Chairperson of the Papuan People’s Consultative Assembly, the Implementation Officer of the Chairperson of the Papuan Legislative Assembly, the Territorial Military Commander (of XVII Cenderawasih) and a high-ranking officer from the Police Headquarters in Papua, together visited the Abepura Indonesian State prison on 17 August 2013. The stated aim of the visit being to represent the National Indonesian Government in reading out the giving of remission to the political prisoners and to read the speech from the national Minister for Law and Human Rights.

However there was also another hidden agenda for their visit and that became apparent once the Governor commenced his address inside the prison.  On Enembe asking the prison warden how many political prisoners were there who had been charged with treason and hearing there were ten, he then questioned the prisoners “What is it that you who have committed treason are looking for?  Stop your struggle. We will achieve freedom in prosperity. In the very near future the Government will pass the Regulations for Governance in Papua and once that occurs we will already have our independence within the Republic of Indonesia and I will be the president. So don’t cry out anymore for independence for Papua.”

Only one political detainee attended the ceremony for the giving of remission, whilst the remaining 25 Papuan political detainees chose not to attend but rather to stay in their cells to avoid the hidden agenda of the Governor and his entourage. However because the Governor used loud amplification to give his address, so all the political detainees could not avoid hearing his words despite their choosing not to attend the ceremony.  The Governor stated “I have many family members who have died because they have spoken about independence for Papua, whilst others have fled to PNG, Manokwari and in all directions. Since I was small people have always said ‘Tomorrow we will have freedom!’  But where are the results? Now I have become governor.”

Several political detainees including Victor Yeimo and a number of others in the same cell block raised their voices from their cells to assert their protest against Enembe’s statement in the middle of his address. Police Officers, plain-clothed Indonesian military (TNI) and prison officers quickly moved to deal with the few vocal detainees. However the Governor who heard the detainees’ voices of protest instructed  “Let them yell back there.”  One of the officers present said he would deal with them later.

Following the ceremony the Governor and his entourage moved towards a cell block occupied by several well-known Papuan Freedom Political Detainees. Filep J.S. Karma was suddenly met by the Governor and his entourage, so he was forced to receive their visit even though he had no prior intention of speaking with them. Filep Karma stated “It’s impossible for the people of Papua to unite with the people of Indonesia as until now the majority of Indonesians consider Papuans to be half animal. I myself also experienced that whilst studying higher education in Java. Recently when I was taken to Jakarta for medical treatment I asked friends there whether attitudes towards Papuans had changed, however they responded there had been no change at all in attitudes towards Papuans and that Indonesians continued to regard Papuans as similar to human monkeys”. Filep Karma went on to say “So many Papuans have become victims because of the Papuan Struggle for Freedom and we also are imprisoned for that same Struggle. Therefore we reject the offer of clemency from the President of Indonesia.  Thank you for your efforts Governor however we political detainees cannot accept the clemency offered.”  Governor Enembe merely responded with “Very well.”

Victor Yeimo was also in the same block with Filep Karma and stated “I am Victor Yeimo, the Chairperson of the West Papuan National Committee (KNPB), and I tell you that the time will come when Papua will get independence. So please don’t offend us by making statements that Papua will not get independence.” He continued “Go ahead Governor and guard your position, but our commitment is due to our old people suffering back in the villages. Suffering not because of welfare needs or some similar problem, but because Papua must be independent.” Governor Enembe responded “I also was previously part of the struggle for ten years, but my work now is to develop Papua and to make the community prosperous. I have been shot and orally abused also and I live with that, but I have recently come out from that and am now governor.”

At the moment the Governor and his entourage started to leave the area the Writer left his cell and approached them introducing himself as the Chairperson of the Organising Committee of the3rd National Papuan Congress. Then expressing in a harsh voice “At the Congress we declared Papua to be a state and because of that we are here in prison. Tell President SBY that the nation of Papua is ready to negotiate. Also tell him that the nation of Papua firmly rejects Special Autonomy Plus and the Regulations for Papuan Governance. Furthermore we as Papuan political detainees reject the giving of clemency in whatever form that may take. We have been imprisoned not because we struggle for food and drink or because we are chasing some position in government. So many Papuans from the 1960’s until now have been sacrificed, not because they were chasing food and drink or positions of influence but for full independence (of Papua).”

Governor Enembe replied “I also previously lived with the Struggle but no longer, as my work is now to address welfare needs of the people of Papua. You have been a long time in the city but I have only recently come from the mountains.” To which the Writer in a harsh tone responded “Sir coming here from the mountains is not to save the people of Papua, but rather to shatter that which is your way of stating that we will achieve our freedom whilst within the Republic of Indonesia; and that we will achieve freedom through prosperity. Stop saying that! The people of Papua struggle for full sovereignty!”  With the conversation closed the Governor’s entourage wanted to shake hands but the Writer refused and withdrew to return to his cell.  However the Territorial Military Commander and the head of the regional Department of Law and Human Rights Demianus Rumbiak together with a guard, followed the Writer from behind. They still wanted to shake hands so the Writer stated to the Territorial Military Commander “I’m sorry I cannot shake hands with you. We are fellow human beings yes but in terms of political ideology you and I are enemies”. The Writer then shook only the hand of the head of the regional Department of Law and Human Rights. The Governor and his entourage then left.

It is ironic that since that visit the political detainees in Abepura prison have been informed by family members that certain persons have been spreading stories that at the time of the Governor’s visit the Political Detainees chased the Governor with blocks of wood until the Governor was forced to leave the prison. That is but a story created by the Indonesian forces or perhaps Indonesian National Intelligence. The truth is that what really happened that day was a war of nerves between the Governor and several Papuan Freedom Political Detainees at the Abepura State Prison.

Lukas Enembe is showing himself to be very different from previous Papuan governors. He is the most arrogant and seems to really dislike the movement of the Papuan Freedom Struggle. On a number of occasions he has openly asked Papuans who are part of the Struggle to give up and instead work to develop Papua within the Republic of Indonesia and to find freedom in prosperity. He has even asked the OPM/TPN who have for many years endured in the remote forests to give up the Struggle; and now he asks the political detainees. This really touches on some very deep old wounds for the people of Papuan who for more than 50 years have constantly struggled and their people been sacrificed again and again, losing  thousands of their people killed by both overt and covert means in the long struggle for freedom. Enembe’s words are deeply hurtful for Papuans.

It’s understood that Lukas Enembe is playing the role of the representative of the National Indonesian Government in the Province of Papua.  However his ways are so unlike that of previous Papuan governors. He is much more confrontational in dealing with those from the Struggle.  It’s clearly evident that one of the tasks that have been entrusted by Jakarta to Lukas Enembe is to ensure Papua remains within Indonesia. Enembe is from the Democrat Party so it’s to be expected that he would implement SBY’s instructions with the latter as the leader of the Party as well as the leader of the Nation and the Indonesian Government. Enembe has clearly been pushed by Jakarta to use this confrontational method but in so doing his statements are most hurtful and indeed deeply saddening coming from a Papuan.

We are aware that several months ago Enembe requested of President SBY that he be provided with security by the police and military for as long as he was carrying out the required task of approaching members of the Papuan Struggle (including both civilians and member of the OPM/TPN in the forests). This was proven once again with Enembe’s visit to the Abepura Prison on which due to his hidden agenda he asked to be escorted by the Territorial Military Commander and a high-ranking officer from the Police Headquarters in Papua.  The Governor is holding hands with TNI and the police not only to try and make a success of Jakarta’s ‘project’ in Papua but also with the hidden intention of indirectly terrorising and intimidating those of the Papuan Freedom movement. However his agenda as he visited the Abepura Prison totally failed, being received with only protest and warnings from a number of the Papuan Freedom Political Detainees. The Political Detainees at that moment had not the slightest fear in conveying the position of the community of the nation of Papua to the Governor together with the Territorial Military Commander and senior ranking officer from the Papuan police headquarters. They were mistaken to think the detainees would be fearful in the presence of the police and TNI leaders escorting Enembe. The political detainees fear only God and the community of the nation of Papua that longs for the sovereignty of the nation of Papua.

The Indonesian Government is really pushing a number of Papuans – both officials and certain members of the community – to confront members of the Papuan Freedom Struggle.  Indonesia is also using certain Papuans by sending them to foreign countries to try and silence any support for the Papuan freedom movement from the international community. So the entire community of the nation of Papua  together with the international community in solidarity, are reminded wherever you may, to be on alert and careful to avoid any approaches that could be political manoeuvres of Indonesia. Manoeuvres aimed at weakening the motivation of the Struggle and at repressing support from the international community in solidarity with the movement for the liberation of the nation of Papua from the colonial domination of Indonesia and its allies.

Let us struggle without ceasing! ‘Salam solidaritas without limits1’

Selpius Bobii,General Chairperson – Front PEPERA West Papua & Papuan Freedom Political Detainee

*OPINION PIECES REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE AUTHOR, AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF WEST PAPUA MEDIA

Mixed success for Papuan Cultural parades despite pre-emptive arrests across Papua

Special Wrap-up report by West Papua Media, with local sources.

(Apologies for delay in posting as WPM was chasing hi-res photo essays from outlying regions.  This will be a separate item as soon as we get hold of them.)

August 26, 2013

Scores of non-violent activists from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) were arrested across Papua over the last two weeks, when Indonesian Police carried out pre-emptive sweeps ahead of a day of mobilisation on August 15, a day intended to celebrate Papuan cultural identity and demand rights to free expression be respected.

Organisers across Papua claimed varying degrees of success in holding the cultural parades, hailing the assertion of Papuan cultural identity in the face of a “deliberate campaign of cultural suppression by the Indonesian colonial security forces” as a “moral victory that would show that West Papuan people are not going to die quietly,”  according to sources who spoke with West Papua Media (WPM).

The parades were organised by West Papuan activists on the anniversary of the contentious New York Agreement – that began the process of Indonesian colonisation of Papua – to demonstrate against ongoing the threats to the survival of Papuan culture.  The parades  were also celebrating the opening of the new Free West Papua Campaign office in The Hague in The Netherlands under the coordination of Oridek Ap (the exiled son of executed West Papuan musician and cultural hero Arnold Ap).

Despite Police being widely reported by Indonesian colonial media stating they would allow the parades to go ahead, activists and stringers for WPM reported from across the country of waves of arrests – or detentions as described by Indonesian security forces – and intimidation that prevented several of the parades from occurring.

Nevertheless, the events went ahead in Jayapura, Wamena and Biak, with  much smaller gatherings unconfirmed across the rest of the country.

Papuans villagers  arrested and searched, detained in Aula Fakfak Police for interrogation (photo: Alex Tethool / Jubi / Fakfak)
Papuans villagers arrested and searched, detained in Aula Fakfak Police for interrogation (photo: Alex Tethool / Jubi / Fakfak)

In the west coast town of FakFak, police arrested several dozen people on August 13, according to reports from Tabloid Jubi, and human rights sources.   Jubi reported that officers intercepted two trucks carrying dozens of villagers as they were preparing to attend the Cultural Parade on the 15th.  Police commandeered the trucks to  the police headquarters in Fakfak, detaining and interrogating the villagers – including large numbers of women and children –  in the Police Hall.  Police refused to explain their actions to Papuan media, according to local observers.  Unconfirmed reports from Fakfak say the majority of villagers were released, but the date of their release, or the ability for them to continue their participation in the cultural parades is still unknown.

Jayapura

In Jayapura, KNPB Chairman Agus Kosai was arrested by Police as he and other KNPB members attempted to move a sound system from his village near Sentani (about 12km outside Jayapura) to the gravesite of slain independence hero Theys Eluay in Waena.  KNPB treasurer Toni Kobak and National Spokesperson Wim Medlama were also arrested with 13 other KNPB members.  Police interrogated them but later released them, ordering them home after seizing their banners and equipment.

Refusing to be intimidated, the released KNPB members then ignored the Police directive, made new rally materials and proceeded with the planned Cultural Parades regardless in Jayapura.

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Thousands of local people turned out in Jayapura to showcase Papua’s vibrant indigenous cultural diversity, reflecting and representing Papuan cultures from every corner of the country.   The day itself had been planned as a deeply symbolic act of cultural resistance through survival, drawing on the actions of slain ethnomusicologist Arnold Ap in a nonviolent assertion of Papuan sovereignty resisting  Indonesian colonisation and control of Papuan lives.

Indonesian Police surveille activists during the Papuan Cultural Parade, August 15, 2013
Indonesian Police surveille activists during the Papuan Cultural Parade, Jayapura, August 15, 2013 (Photo: West Papua Media / YS)

Illustrating this attempt at control, many acts of cultural expression such as banned dances, banned songs, and banned displays of cultural heritage were actively monitored by heavily armed Indonesian Police, however the sheer number of participants prevented further arrests.

Coordinator of the Peace Demonstration Warpo Sampari Wetipo, told the crowd from a stage mounted atop a Kijang car, “we in KNPB are standing with the people of Papua, despite the Indonesian military’s terror by prohibiting any peaceful demonstration and action, we do continue to fight without fear, to demand the right of self-determination for us, the people of West Papua.”

Buchtar Tabuni, West Papua Parliament Chairman, and revolving door political prisoner currently between arrests, reminded the crowd that they were gathered to “Declare to the world that the people of Papua are demanding the recognition of their right of self-determination with fairness and dignity.”  By demonstrating their cultural resistance, Tabuni said that West Papuan people were asserting their identity “as a community of the Melanesian family, that Papuans are not part of the people of Indonesia or Malay.”

Reports from the Jayapura rally suggested that police were initially prepared to utilise force against the participants after they defied the order to go home.  Significant military hardware was deployed, with security forces surrounding the thousands of people gathered at Theys’ gravesite with Armoured personnel carriers, water cannon, tear gas trucks and several Barracuda armoured assault vehicles.

According to reports filed to WPM, activists had prepared unspecified “unique” methods of non-violent de-arresting techniques should the need arise, though it is unclear whether the Indonesian security forces were prepared to respect the nonviolence of the day.

The rally had been tightly safeguarded by KNPB members, who kept the participants separated from security forces and plain clothes special forces personnel with a simple rope line, thus preventing any agents provocateur from provoking police to create a scenario of violence.  in Papua.   Buchtar Tabuni told the crowd at the end of the rally, “the security forces to help secure us, and also I just want to explain that from yesterday until last night we kept guard patrol, to keep track of things that we do not want to happen and also it helps security deposit until the day’s activities, ”

In Wamena, KNPB activists reported that police and members of the Indonesian army were also being proactive in prevention of the parades, with banner seizures and an active show of force.  According to local sources, almost the entire KODIM 756 Wim Ane Sili (lit. “House of the Sound of War” in Dani language) Battalion (up to 1000 soldiers) surround the protest field at Sinapuk,

This massive “show force” was responsible for thousands of people being forced to stay away from the Cultural gathering, according to KNPB Wamena spokesperson Mr Mabel.  The gathering was peaceful but was only attended by several hundred people.

In Biak, local members of the KNPB organised a smaller demonstration passing the site of the infamous Biak Massacre, which recently commemorated its 15th anniversary on July 6.  Hundreds of people marched from the old market and Terminal Pasar Darfuar ending up at a traditional meeting house (pendopo adat Sorido), to support the opening of The Hague Free West Papua office.  Apollos Sroyer, Biak KNPB Chairman, told WPM’s correspondent “The parade was also planned as an expression of welcome to the arrival of messengers from the Melanesian Spearhead Groups (MSG) in the near future to West Papua.”

Sroyer also expressed “gratitude to those MSG members who have expressed their support of the right of self-determination of the people of West Papua,” without mentioning the official rejection of the bid for Observer Status for West Papua by the MSG, widely seen as a betrayal of Melanesian solidarity by many across the Pacific.

WestPapuaMedia, with local sources