By : Rufinus Madai
May 14, 2014
There is never a day that passes when the people of Papua as individuals, do not express their longing to see peace. Instead of responding to their cries for peace, their daily lives are continuously spattered with violence and conflict created by Indonesian Armed Forces.
Even at those everyday moments when people eat and drink, in every place and at all times, people of Papua are speaking of their longing for peace. They dearly hope that the Government of Indonesia will bring an end to the violence being committed in their land. Yet their cries for over 50 years have gone unheard: the Government just ignores their pleas, showing no response whatsoever. One can’t but question what really is the underlying desire of the Indonesian Government in regards to Papua.
It is little wonder that the people of Papua no longer trust the Government of Indonesia. They feel so deeply that they are not truly regarded by Indonesia as being a true part of the Republic of Indonesia. As a result they don’t refer to themselves as Indonesians, but rather as Papuans. For it is the very Forces of the State itself that are carrying out the constant acts of violence. Papuans accordingly speak of the State of Indonesia as being a coloniser, as an oppressor and as a murdering state. What is it going to take for Indonesian to rid itself of such labels and develop a new image in the hearts of the people of Papua? To date Indonesia has never listened to the voice of the people of Papua. The people’s constant pleas for peace , which the Government has just ignored, are not just empty words. They are an expression that comes from the bottom of people’s hearts in response to what they are experiencing and facing up to every day of their lives. Of course Papuans question Indonesia’s true intent in Papua, when for over 50 years now the State has not only allowed the violence against the population to continue, but in fact in every instance, it has been violence and conflict created by the State’s own Forces. Indeed the Government of Indonesia has failed miserably to date in regards to Papua. It is this failure of the State to bring an end to the conflict in Papua which has given rise to a lack of confidence towards the Government in the hearts of the people of Papua. Yet despite all this, many people still hang on to a hope that the Indonesian Government will stop the violence and conflict against their people. But when?
The people of Papua have faithfully waited on the Government of Indonesia to act to bring about their hopes for peace in their land. Yet those hopes have fallen on deaf ears. The State needs to start hearing the cries of the people, to open its eyes and ears and act humanely and take responsibility for the continuous violence committed by its Forces. As the root of all problems in Papua lie with the Indonesian Government itself. The Indonesian government is responsible to protect the people of Papua and to take actions to bring an end to the conflict in the land. It must change its attitude and show an intention to listen to the people and together to search for the solution that will bring about peace.
Do not ignore the cries of our people Indonesia! Bring an end to the violence in our land!
The Writer is a post-graduate level theological student at the Catholic Seminary in Abepura, Papua.