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These are comments from The Jakarta Post website on the article “Indonesia protests the opening of Free West Papua office in Oxford” on May 5.
Ten years ago, a group of East Timorese (Timor Leste) students asked a group of Indonesian students: “Now that you’ve accepted East Timor’s independence, will you accept the independence of West Papua?” Other Indonesians dared not answer but I said that I couldn’t since Indonesia consists of the former Dutch East Indies territory and while East Timor was not, West Papua (WP) was. I regret my answer.
Many people accuse Western nations of inconsistency, hypocrisy and greed in allowing debate on the political status of a territory, without understanding that there is no single mind between a Western country’s business, civil society and government. If Oxford allows the WP office, then the British government has nothing to do with it and neither does, for example, BP.
Many Indonesians are still lamenting the loss of East Timor. We never had it in the first place. Soeharto invaded it for the Indonesian Military’s (TNI) pride, not for Citibank or Henry Kissinger. It was also not “stolen” by Australia for profit — now the Dili government is keen to do business with China and Indonesia, rather than with Australia, as the money comes without the conditions of human rights, transparency and fairness.
Over the 10 years I’ve met and talked with Timorese who’ve chosen either Timor Leste or Indonesia — they have different perspectives and reasons and I respect them.
The saddest thing about West Papua is if it becomes independent, then it will be a very corrupt and dangerous place like neighboring Papua New Guinea. Freeport will still be there, but they will face tough competition from Chinese corporations, who will do better in giving favors to the government.
Indonesia forbids Papuans from expressing their opinion in their own land and now they want the to do so in the UK too. And still they want to be called a democracy?
The rest of the world can´t be blinded forever. While the UK government officially supports Indonesian rule over Papua (as they want to do business with Indonesia) dozens of MPs have already joined the International Parliamentarians for West Papua.
And not only in Great Britain do the people begin to recognize what’s going on in West Papua. Media in Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu and other Melanesian countries report the human rights abuses by the Indonesian military and police. Even in Germany, the government was heavily criticized for selling tanks to Indonesia, despite the warnings of various human rights organizations.
The Jakarta Post | Readers Forum | Fri, May 10 2013