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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

History repeating?

Australia was directly complicit during Indonesia's long and brutal occupation of East Timor. West Papua is little different:

"The Indonesian military is using the same tactics of terror in West Papua that were employed during its bloody reign in East Timor, and Australia should step in to mediate a peace settlement, warns separatist Herman Wainggai.

"Mr Wainggai, the leader of the 43 asylum-seekers who arrived in Australia two weeks ago, said ongoing abuses by the Indonesian military, often in cahoots with militias, were terrifying the indigenous community.

"'It's the same as with East Timor,' he told the Herald yesterday from Christmas Island, where the asylum-seekers are being processed by immigration officials. 'They have created militias and jihadis in West Papua. The people, and especially activists for independence, are very scared.'"

For more information on the "Free West Papua" movement, see here.


Blogger Mike Hunt said...

What are you suggesting be done about West Papua?

I hope you're not one of these chickenhawks that wants military intervention in West Papua, like all those chickenhawks that were demanding action over East Timor back in 1999.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 1:56:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Mike, there are a number of suggested policy directions with regard to West Papua that do not revolve around military action. Why attempt to pipck a silly fight over this? Instead, why not lay out your thoughts on what has been posted. Perhaps you have some policy suggestions of your own.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 2:15:00 pm  
Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

Ending the brutal Indonesian occupation would be a good start.

It's the same, age old game. The powerful within the dominant group seek the resources and territory of weaker parties. This they achieve with the support of even more powerful actors - principally the US, and the UK and Australia, Japan and others to a lesser extent. What kind of support? Military - weapons and training; political - an unwillingness to pressure Indonesia to listen to the demands of the indigenous population, who are vageuly described as terrorists or separatists; and economic - West Papua is rich in minerals. As is Aceh, which has generally experienced an equally oppressive Indonesian occupation. Note also the parallels with Israel/Palestine. Indonesia has been trying to populate West Papua with Javanese (the dominant ethnic group, when you hear talk of Indonesia you're really talking about the Javanese). For obvious reasons this program hasn't been particularly successful. Something similar is happening in Kashmir, Chechnya and Western Sahara (and countless other areas), where the dominant group is attempting to take over someone else's land. There's a clear trend here, something worth serious scholarship. I'm not aware of any real anthropological study of this though, say as opposed to studies on 'terrorism' or 'Islam and modernity'. Perhaps something for the Zionist kids who spend their spare time using your comments feature to think about.

Australia should demand an immediate end to the Indonesian occupation of West Papua and the oppression that results from it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 2:26:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Well said Iqbal,

Let's how that the US gives Australia permission to do so.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 2:58:00 pm  

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