Australia’s closest geographical neighbour is the world’s second-largest island, New Guinea. The eastern half of this island is the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, and the western half is West Papua, now consisting of two Indonesian provinces.
In 1975, Papua New Guinea was declared independent after decades of overlapping German, British, and Australian administration, and the post-war union of the Papua and New Guinea territories in 1949.
In the same year, The Dutch attempted to leave behind an independent West Papuan nation when departing the region after 149 years of colonial rule. Indonesia, however, claimed rights of sovereignty over West Papua, moved in while the world looked elsewhere, and in 1969 a plebiscite known as the ‘Act Of Free Choice‘ resulted in the annexation of West Papua to the Republic of Indonesia – neatly presented to the UN as the ‘will of the people’. One can probably guess that there was not a lot of ‘free choice’ in the coercive actions employed by Indonesia…
All of this happened before the invention of mobile phones, so is ancient history. BUT, the native inhabitants of West Papua are still being harassed, assaulted, arrested, raped, and murdered by Indonesia’s military to the present day.
AND, much of this oppressive behaviour is performed with direct tacit approval, and with indirect (but only slightly) military and economic support, from the government of Australia (and the US).
Under the auspices of ‘global counter-terrorism’, both the United States and Australia fund, supply, and train an Indonesian Army unit known as Detasemen Khusus 88 (Special Detachment 88). This classified group, ostensibly formed in the wake of the Bali Bombing to fight terrorism, is alleged to be behind some of the more gruesome recent acts of suppression in West Papua, while rank and file Indonesian Army and Police forces continue their role as general foot-soldiers in the war against thoughts of independence.
Many readers may already know all of this.
Many readers may already have seen horrible images, read disturbing reports, seen lists of genocidal actions. I could load this post up with these snippets of barbarism, but won’t – I think we’ve all had enough grief-porn, genocide-porn, and other titillating eye-candy from plenty of other horrific episodes all around the world.
But let me break it down to this, for easier digestion:
AUSTRALIA SUPPORTS THE BRUTAL SUPPRESSION AND MURDER OF THE WEST PAPUAN PEOPLE
There has been an increase in awareness of the plight of West Papua in recent times, and this might grow over coming months, and this is a positive thing. But it’s taken 46 years to get to this point – and West Papuans still suffer and have their dreams of independence and freedom beaten down by Indonesian forces.
And, Australia continues to ignore the issue, pandering to the imperial sensibilities of Indonesia.
Meanwhile, in order to shore up ‘votes’ (and, rest assured, that is the only reason), Australia has recently been making a lot of ‘too little, too late’ noise about the now-executed Bali 9 (dropped-in-it-by-the-AFP) ringleader duo.
Too little, too late. And only speak up when it suits your agenda….
Want to find out more about West Papua? Here’s some links:
Yours in solidarity with freedom-loving people everywhere,
Note 1 – “Detachment 88 logo” by http://images.aryadhieva.multiply.com/image/2/photos/18/500×500/60/863545109l.jpg?et=XyMrjcCKPAw%2C7wkdE5fFDg&nmid=72965313. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Detachment_88_logo.jpg#/media/File:Detachment_88_logo.jpg