Jayapura, Jubi – Dozens of students, activists, journalists and young people who are members of Papua Cultural Care Generation held the event ‘In Memoriam of Arnold Ap’ in front of Cenderawasih University Cultural Museum to commemorate 31 years after the death of legendary Papuan musician Arnold Ap, who was killed by the military on 26 April, 1984.
The Papua Bersatu Untuk Kebenaran (BUK/Papua Unite for Truth) Coordiantor, Peneas Lokbere said long after the murder of Arnold Ap Papuans continued to be victimised in many ways.
“Papuans shouldn’t forget their culture. Papuans must stand up to fight. Arnold Ap was killed by the state, but the Papuans’ spirit to fight should not be stuck in here. The struggle must go on,” he said when delivering messages in the murder day of Arnold Ap last Sunday in Cenderawasih University Cultural Museum.
Meanwhile, Papuan human right activist Rosa Moiwend said the Papua young generation today should not forget their culture. Papuans must take their culture as their identity. Kork (Frizzy Rasta Community) Coordinator Teddy Pekei added Papuans must rebuild their identity through its culture and arts. Arnold Ap has showed that every Papuans must grasp their culture as the foundation of Papua nation.
“Arnold Ap teaches us Papuans not to discriminate every tribe and nation in the land of Papua. He showed it through his songs that compiled from various Papuan languages,” he said.
After thirty-one years, the Government of Indonesia has not realising that the murder of Arnold Ap and Eddy Mofu by the security force is the planned-murder and paralysed towards Papuan identity and character of culture.
In commemorating the thirty-one years of death of Arnold Ap, the President Joko Widodo is urged to apologise to Papuan people for the crime and violation against the human rights and the paralyse of the character of Papuan culture by State’s apparatus (Military/Police) in Papua.
While the Papua Provincial Government is asked to support and assist the development of Mambesak (folk) music as part of Papuan culture and Papuans unification as well as to renovate Arnold Ap and Eddy Mofu’s grave where located in Tanah Hitam in respecting them. (Arnold Belau)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Agus Alua was the former chair of Majelis Rakyat Papua (Papuan People’s Assembly) – a cultural representation of the indigenous Papuan people which has limited authority to protect the rights based on custom and culture, the empowerment of women, and the strengthening of a harmonious religious life.
Alua died on April 8, 2011 after receiving a phone call from Jakarta, and moments before the new MRP membership was to be sworn in. Activists said Alua was ousted from the MRP because of his strong stands against the Central Government’s Papua policies. Here’s how some Papuans see the inspirational man.
Bintang Papua, 17 April 2011Jayapura: Now that the deadline of 14 days set for MRP member Hana Hikoyabi [to produce a clarification of her position] has passed since the swearing in of members of the new MRP, it would be better if she were to withdraw as a member of the MRP.
Political commentator Lamadi de Lamato told Bintang Papua that she should withdraw her name as a member rather than sit as a member of the MRP and keep having her critical remarks pounced on by the central government. According to the logic of the Indonesian state, the policies of the state must be accepted even though they fail to take the side of the Papuan people, he said.
In his opinion, Hana should withdraw her name and wage her struggle from the outside without having to make compromises.
Many Papuans would have far greater respect for her outside the MRP than if she were a member According to Lamadi, insisting that Hana should produce a clarification was virtually an act of terror against an MRP member, warning her not to be critical or consider the aspirations of the Papua people.
‘This is just like what happened under the New Order (of Suharto) and its demands for special investigations ((Litsus) towards people who were regarded as enemies of the state,’ he said.
There are many things that are going wrong in Papua; any protest should not necessarily result in restrictions being imposed on people.
‘Hana should not be treated like an enemy and be forced to be loyal to whatever the state demands. Some people believe that the former chairman of the MRP Agus Alua died because of his disagreements with things coming from central government, but he should not be blamed for that.’
With regard to the recruitment of members of the new MRP, many people feel very disappointed. ‘The state can act as it likes, but these acts of terror should end,’ he said.
As already reported, the new MRP should have 75 members but only 73 were sworn in because two names had been struck off the list, Agus Alua and Hana Hikoyabi. It was said that if these two had delivered written statements of verification, they could both have been appointed as members of the MRP.
Bintang Papua, 14 Apil 2011
Abridged in translation by TAPOLJayapura: The statement by the interior minister, Gamawan Fauzi, that Hana S. Hikoyabi, member of the first-term MRP must deliver a clarification about her position within 14 days before being sworn in as a member of the new MRP was described by Budi Setyanto SH as being beyond his authority and in breach of the law.
Since that person was chosen by the people, the interior minister should have sworn her in on 12 April.
If he declares that Hana does not agree with Special Autonomy (OTSUS) or with the way of recruiting of members of the MRP, this is simply a difference of opinion but the fact is that she was chosen by the Papuan people means that she clearly does not reject OTSUS because the MRP was set up because of OTSUS, and without OTSUS, there would be no MRP.
Budi said that the interior minister’s statement is against the law.
A member of the first MRP, Simon Simunapendi, said that the failure to swear in Hana Hikoyabi was because she had been told to produce a clarification with regard to the grand assembly held from 7-10 June 2010 and reveals a misunderstanding about the role of that assembly because Law 21/2001 Article 20 makes it clear that members of the MRP must promote the aspirations of the Papuan people. Bearing in mind that these aspirations were expressed by representations of 254 ethnic groups who had come together to express their aspirations, it meant that Agus Alue Alua and Hana Hikoyabi were duty-bound to present these aspirations to the DPRP.
They were only acting in accordance with the provisions of the MRP, expressing the wishes of 254 ethnic groups, and there was no other motive for what they did.
Since the news that Hana Hikoyabi had not been sworn in as a member of the MRP, no one has been able to make contact with her, including people from the media. The failure to swear her is seen as being directly connected to the many actions rejecting OTSUS that have taken place since the beginning of 2011.
The decisions taken at the grand assembly in June 2010 were not the product of the MRP and the individual members of the MRP cannot be held personally responsible for those decisions.