by Elias Ramos Petege at Majalah Selangkah
March 8, 2014
The people of West Papua are in mourning after hearing of the death
of Dr Muridian Satrio Widjojo, the Co-ordinator of the Papua Peace Network in Jakarta and also a senior researcher at the LIPI’s Political Studies Centre, focussing on National and Local Politics (especially Papua).
The West Papuan people and nation will greatly miss this skilled facilitator between the people of Papua and the Indonesian government, who has long pushed for a Jakarta-Papua dialogue to be held. We will greatly miss someone who has done the people of the Land of Papua a great service, and who has worked hard to bring about a dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.
He has also aided us through breaking down the fortresses that have for so long concealed the Papuan People’s suffering, and he was also the one to whisper in the ears of those who have an allergy to words such as ‘dialogue for peace’ as the right path to resolve the conflict between Jakarta and Papua.
Muridan always stood firm in his struggle for dialogue, despite threats.
Because of the persistence of his struggle for dialogue, groups that
didn’t want a dialogue to happen accused him of being a supporter of
Papuan independence. He was even threatened with being killed because people judged him as meddling with the integrity of the Indonesian State.
On one occasion, when he had made a presentation about the importance of dialogue to resolve the Papuan conflict to a group of generals and ex-generals, he was accused of not being faithful to the Unitary State of Indonesia, and supporting Papua Merdeka.
But Muridan was not afraid of the threats and other challenges he had
to face in the struggle to bring about dialogue.
“As far as I’m concerned, I will never back down as a result of threats
until the two groups (the Indonesian Government and the Papuan people) that have long been in conflict, sit down together at one table to discuss and look for solutions to the Papuan conflict. I don’t speak of Papua Merdeka as the bottom line, or the unity of the Indonesian state as the bottom line, but instead work for the humanity and dignity of the Papuan people to be valued and respected”, he said in a short discussion in his workplace at the end of last year.
News of his death in Depok reaches Tanah Papua
On Friday 7th March 2014 (12:47:11 Jakarta time 14:47:11 in
Papua), Doctor Muridian breathed his last breath in the Mitra hospital
in Depok. The sad news was passed on by Dr. B Shergi, Deacon of the
Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Indonesia and the family
who were at the hospital, via a text message.
This is the message which came to my mobile phone: “Allow us to convey the news that Muridan passed away a few minutes ago, we send greetings of sorrow”.
“The next message came from Yoga, of the Political Study Centre:
“Innalillahi wa inna ilahi roojiun, I just received a message from
Muridian’s wide that he passed away a few minutes ago. May Allah receive his soul and pardon his sins.”
Not long afterwards, I was called directly by his family from the Mitra
hospital, to say that Muridian would no longer be with us. This news was passed on straight away to all kinds of people throughout our homeland of West Papua, especially religious leaders, academics and human rights workers that supported and fought for a dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.
They also responded to share their condolences. Here are a few of the
messages I received.
The first message of condolence came from the Chair of the Executive
Board of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches in Papua, Reverend Sofyan Yoman. “We express our condolences at his passing and we pray for the family he leaves behind, that they will find comfort and strength from God.”
The deputy chair of the synod of the Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua, Rev M. Adadikam also sent a message, “We express our sorrow at Muridian’s death, we pray that his soul will be received by God the Father in Heaven and that He will give strength and tenacity to the family he leaves behind.”
Another note of came from a young academic from Cenderawasih University, Yustinus Butu: “We express our grief at the passing of Muridian, respected researcher and facilitator of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua, now the people of Papua are in mourning but those that are opposed to the dialogue agenda will surely be happy about this news”, he said in tears.
Another message of sorrow came from Markus Haluk, a Papuan human rights activist, “We the people of Papua mourn the loss of Muridian, and pray that the Papuan people will accompany him and give strength to the family he leaves behind.”
Many more messages of sorrow were received from people from all corners of the Land of Papua.
Who was Doctor Muridian Widjojo?
His full name was Muridian Satrio Widjojo, Senior Researcher at the
Political Studies Centre of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (P2P
LIPI) and observer of Papua, was born in Surabaya on 4th April 1967. He finished his doctorate at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands in 2007, with a thesis titled “Social Movements in Papua and Maluku”, after finishing a Masters degree in Anthropology in the University of Indonesia in 2001 with a thesis about the movement of the Amungme people. His first degree was in French literature in the University of Indonesia (1992)
He was active in writing opinion pieces for national and international
newspapers and magazines and spoke or facilitated international forums for example in the Philippines, Netherlands, Britain and Luxembourg. He is the author of two books: Trust building and Reconciliation in Papua (LIPI) 2006 and Papua Road Map (Negotiating the Past, Improving the Present and Securing the Future), 2009).
‘Selamat Jalan’ to a Hero of Humanity in Papua
We, the whole people of West Papua express our grief at your departure, you left us before dialogue could happen. We are very sorry to have lost your physical presence, but we are sure that your soul and your spirit will live on in the hearts of the Papuan people.
Our prayers, as the people of West Papua, are with you, and we hope that all-holy God will receive your soul and forgive all you sins and give strength and resilience to the family you leave behind. Rest In Peace.
Muridian, who was born on 4th April 1967 in Surabaya, died from
complications in a disease he had been suffering from for some time.
Elias Ramos Petege is a Papuan Human Rights Activist
Translated by awasMifee