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15 April 2014


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The takeover of Dutch New Guinea by Indonesia was opposed by Australia, Britain and the Netherlands, but the USA was not interested in supporting them at the time. Indonesia's President Sukarno was vehemently anti communist and so enjoyed US support.

What did the Americans know or care about a remote and primitive country located far away?

Now, 50 years later, it is blindingly obvious that Indonesia is acting as exactly the sort of colonial power it professed to despise in the aftermath of its own revolution against the Dutch.

After the humiliation of being ejected from East Timor, it would be naive to expect Indonesia to simply walk away from a valuable colonial possession like Irian Jaya. This time, they will choose war rather than endure a repeat of East Timor.

Consequently, unless our "great and powerful friend" takes up the cause, it will be up to the West Papuans themselves to wage a war of liberation until the price of hanging on to Irian Jaya is simply too high to endure.

Personally, I can't see this happening anytime soon.

The US and its Allies including Australia are quick to condemn Russia for annexing Crimea from Ukraine but are very silent on the West Papuan issue. Is it because of mining and petroleum interests in Irian Jaya?

An important article from 2012 by a man with a name redolent of PNG history - Damien Kingsbury.

There will be a repeat of East Timor for the Melanesians of West Papua.

That has to happen in this decade.

he world is listening and watching!

Very true Barbara!

While studying at Don Bosco Vanimo from 2003-2006, at one stage I came to believe rumors that the Indonesian Asians were trying to wipe out the Melanesians on mainland Irian Jaya.

Though this may seem true with the turn of events lately and over the years, I am yet to be certain.

Meanwhile our Melanesian brothers on that far side won't give in easily to the Indos.

More blood will be spilt if nothing serious is done.

When, on TV, I look at the millions and millions of people going to vote all over Indonesia at the moment what do I think of? The obvious answer is "the need for family planning". Just like China they need a "one child" policy.

They have been moving their landless farmers into Irian Jaya for many years. They need land desparately. They obviously don't know what to do about the original inhabitants. Might is evidently right, in their eyes.

Is there any reason for Indonesia to be in West Papua? They are not related ethnically, culturally or by religion or tradition.

I remember putting these points to the Indonesian Ambassador to PNG some years ago. He was polite and diplomatic and prided himself on having studied New Guinea culture (I mean the whole island).

He was remarkably candid sand said "We have made mistakes, and the West Papuans deserve respect, but we took over this land from the Dutch and you can't re-write history."

I beg to differ Mr Ambassador. You can grant self-determination to a Melanesian country, if you have the will.

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