Sunday, October 24, 2010

Free West Papua

West Papua?

Who cares?

Where is it, anyway?

It may come as no surprise that the BBC aren’t reporting on this; they’re too preoccupied with ‘Palestine’. But the rest of the media?

West Papua has never been given the air time it deserves, and its people have not felt the usual Western glow for oppressed people everywhere. We appear complicit in the reporting restrictions, quite content to compromise our collective conscience while the US re-negotiates a programme of military aid with Indonesia after a 10-year embargo, as if the atrocities of East Timor never happened.

Are we simply placating the Indonesian government because Indonesia happens to have the largest Muslim population on earth?

President Obama is shortly to visit Jakarta, and doubtless will go conveniently Trappist on human rights violations. To his immense credit, on the run-up to the General Election, David Cameron stated unequivocally that he empathised with the West Papuan cause. But he has been silent on the matter since taking office.

The BBC?

Well, Islamic imperialism, torture and brutality are not what the British public want to see, are they?

For those who do, His Grace refers his readers and communicants to the website of Free West Papua. But be warned: it is not pleasant viewing.

When the Dutch left Indonesia they maintained control of West Papua until 1962. They were subsequently forced by an aggressive Indonesia and the international community to yield to Indonesian machinations. The Dutch had been pursuing a rapid education programme which would, they hoped, lead to West Papuan independence, having accepted the results of the 1959 election.

Scarcely had a new flag been designed that Indonesia commenced military skirmishes in the region in an attempt to spread their territorial empire.

This resulted in the UN taking control of the entire region. In their infinite wisdom they gifted West Papua to Indonesia in 1963. When, six years later, Indonesia generously granted West Papua a vote on self-determination – the ‘Act of Free Choice' – the Indonesian military ensured that just over a thousand tribal leaders and elders voted the right way, invariably at gun-point, to which the UN turned a thousand blind eyes.

Thereafter, 'Irian' became irrevocably part of the Indonesian Empire.

Since then, many tens of thousands of West Papuans have died; perhaps even 100,000 (it is difficult to be accurate when the only sources are leaked speculation: the actual death toll may be far higher). As can be seen on the Free West Papua website, the Indonesian Military behave like any invading army: the flag of the Republic of West Papua is banned under Indonesian law and those found to displaying it are imprisoned and tortured.

The people of the island of Papua have one of the most diverse ranges of culture found anywhere in the world. It is gradually being subsumed to the imperialist Indonesian Islamic monolith.

And President Obama is now dedicating US forces to help train the notorious ‘special forces’ wing of the Indonesian military, a force that anywhere else in the world would be judged guilty of war crimes and 'ethnic cleansing'.

But the suffering of the Timorese and the strife of the poor Papuans are as nothing to the overriding US need for sizeable Islamic allies in the ‘war on terror’.

Some are speaking out, but nowhere near enough. The former Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Hon Lord Harries of Pentregath said: "The principles at stake with West Papua are fundamental to civilised life in the modern world. The so-called Act of Free Choice consisted of 1026 people being forced at gunpoint to vote for integration with Suharto's Indonesia. The West Papuans are a people - the same people as those of Papua New Guinea on the east of the island - who obtained their independence from Britain over 35 years ago. They have no desire to be ruled from Jakarta."

But we hear nothing of this.

For the BBC and the rest of our ‘mainstream media’ do not wish us to.

The silence is puzzling, given that they usually find ingenious ways of infiltrating Zimbabwe, sneaking into Burma or planting undercover reporters in Iran.

There is an all-party parliamentary group on the matter, but not composed of the Peter Hains of this world. It appears that the Indonesian Army are just not as evil as the IDF.

But the suffering and strife of the Papuan are as great if not greater than the Palestinian.

Perhaps a juxtaposition of the condemnation of Indonesia with the promotion of the cause of Palestine would cause a little schizophrenia in the media portrayal of the politics of the religion of peace.

Come on, Prime Minister.

When you were in opposition, you took the time to consider the complex issues and even met with the political exile and leader of the Free West Papua Movement, Benny Wenda.

Your election victory was movingly greeted by the tribesmen and women of West Papua. And CCHQ must have sent them the poster, for that size was not even available in the key marginals.

This picture is a display of a people's faith in one man, a deliverer, a Moses. They look to David Cameron to liberate them from oppression, just as his predecessors have done with slave traders over the centuries. The UK may be a declining military power, and Labour undoubtedly did untold damage to our international reputation with its ‘ethical foreign policy’. But it is now for this Liberal-Conservative Coalition to restore it.

Perhaps, Prime Minister, a phone call to President Obama?

He won’t listen, of course. But it is for you to remind him of Indonesian inhumanity to West Papuan man.

And if you won’t, who will?


Anonymous Little Titch said...

Isn't Obama a Muslim, so isn't it natural that he'll start using american military might to further his brothers around the world?

24 October 2010 at 10:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cast iron is too interested in giving our taxes away to countrys' like India to support their ambitious space and nuclear programme, under the guise of helping people "living in less than a $ a day"and encouraging all their people to come here.

Don't expect anything more than empty soundbites from him and that's if he bothers to say anything.

Cameron = Blair Mk2
Obama = Blair clone

24 October 2010 at 10:25  
Blogger Sauti Ndogo said...

Very well written, Your Grace.

We also look forward to Cameron showing some backbone on human rights during his coming visit to China (around the same time that Obama will be in Indonesia).

On the subject of neglected territories that look to Britain for inspiration (not financial assistance) and deserve our sympathy, I commend the cause of Somaliland to Your Grace's attention. For 19 years, Britain has denied it official recognition so as not to upset our EU "partners", despite it having a constitutionally elected government.

24 October 2010 at 11:01  
Anonymous Sam Vega said...

A good post, Your Grace. Cameron has made a start in domestic politics which he would doubtless want to characterise as tough but fair. I wonder whether he will be able to say the same of his foreign policy?

24 October 2010 at 11:16  
Blogger Span Ows said...

Apparently DC has banned Baroness Warsi from attending the Islamic Conference so it could be the start of a decent and long overdue trend.

24 October 2010 at 12:10  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Cranmer said

Labour undoubtedly did untold damage to our international reputation with its ‘ethical foreign policy’.

What damage in particular?

24 October 2010 at 12:18  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...


Deceiving Parliament and the nation over the motives for the invasion of Iraq?

A little damaging, don't you think?

24 October 2010 at 12:22  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Yes indeed

24 October 2010 at 12:24  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

In foreign policy national self interest has always been paramount so it is much easier to be ethical if our interests are not directly affected. Is it really possible for a nation to maintain a consistently ethical foreign policy?

24 October 2010 at 12:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The West Papuans are Melanesians and (many of them) Christians. They have been taken over by a different race and relgion, Muslim 'trasmigrasis' from the overpopulated East Indies.
Don't expect the PC world to care.

24 October 2010 at 13:36  
Anonymous len said...

If Israel does virtually anything the press are down on them like a ton of bricks.
Yet Militant Islam marches forward with hardly a whisper from the Worlds press.
What is going on?

24 October 2010 at 14:11  
Blogger Gnostic said...

An excellent post, Your Grace.

Let's not forget the plight of Chagos Islanders, displaced from their home by the Wilson government for the cost of a crappy, second hand US nuclear sub (Labourites really know how to strike a good deal, don't they.). And denied a return to their home by successive UK governments in order to keep the Yanks sweet.

24 October 2010 at 17:11  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Len@ 14:11 - "What is going on?"
All that money from all that oil?

All in marxist-moslem, neu-colonialist palms?

Your Grace, what I find remarkable is the reverse news - as it were - the dynamic by which the face of Chubby Chops has radiated to West Papua! Perhaps they mistook him for royalty, when he posed with the baby.

24 October 2010 at 17:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst thing in the world is not worth the public's attention, we only want happy, repetitive stories about how Jews are in league with the devil and that colonials are stupid.

24 October 2010 at 19:08  
Anonymous JonasG said...

This all really isn't news to me!

24 October 2010 at 19:19  
Anonymous non mouse said...

A second thought as I re-view pics of DC. All these salutes by the raised right arm: but a twist of the wrist, and what have we there?

24 October 2010 at 21:02  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong and grossly irresponsible, Your Grace.

Firstly the ex- Bishop of Oxford is incorrect in declaring that Papua Niugini achieved independence from Britain 35 years ago. PNG obtained its independence from Australia in 1975, which had become the colonial power by virtue of a League of Nations Mandate after the First World War. You will also note that there is not so much as a peep from PNG regarding possible independence of West Papua. No prize for guessing why.

It is simplistic and lazy to blithley imply that because Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim country it is as repressive as the Islamic epicentre, Saudi Arabia. It seems that the greater the distance from Mecca the greater the plurality and Indonesia is no exception. None of this is to apologise or appease the past brutality of the Javanese, and it is their 'empire', as Indonesia is their construct. However it is important to recognise that just as West Papua is a Christian province within this Muslim Javanese empire, so there are others too. The much publicised and Catholic East Timor exists on a island whose western end is Protestant. Overall, ten per cent of the Indonesian population is Christian, many of them of Chinese descent and followers of the Dutch Reformed Church. In fact the Indonesian justice and arbitration system recognises the ability of Christians to forgive and 'move on' to the extent that Christians are frequently permitted a special role in mediation.

By any rational analysis an independent West Papua will be yet another mendicant micro-state. A mendicant micro-state is just an evolutionary step towards being a failed state, and there's enough of them already. Even if merged with PNG in some shot-gun marriage the situation hardly improves. You really need to look at the geography of the island of Papua to see how fragmented it is. Another weak micro-state is just another pawn in the Asia-pacific geo-political game in which various north Asian powers are involved in a struggle for supremacy. Frankly it is in the western interest to leave Indonesia as the hegemonial power within the great arc of islands comprising the Indonesian archipelago. They would not surrender the Malacca Strait to China, the Singaporeans easily could.

So when Dave starts grandstanding and fomenting unrest in West Papua he merely shows that's its a far away country of which he clearly knows very little. Even worse for those living nearby Dave won't have to live with the consequences of his adventure in the South Seas, other Commonwealth countries will. But then Dave needs to do something with that monster foreign aid budget. Must start somewhere I suppose.

Hopefully the Dutch or Washington will settle Dave down before things get out of hand.

25 October 2010 at 08:28  
Anonymous Nightcrawler said...

Thank you for the thought-provoking and informed post, bluedog.

25 October 2010 at 23:19  
Anonymous Nightcrawler said...

Little Titch, Obama is a Christian.

"It was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead -- being my brother's and sister's keeper, treating others as they would treat me," he said. "And I think also understanding that, you know, that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings -- that we're sinful and we're flawed and we make mistakes, and that we ... achieve salvation through the grace of God."

25 October 2010 at 23:43  
Anonymous len said...

"So, I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people." ( From transcript of interview with Christine Falsani Chicago Sun Times)

ANY authentic Christian reading this will realise that Obama does not Know Jesus and that Obama wants to be identified with the Christian religion but is not part of it.

29 October 2010 at 23:36  

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