WEST Papua is culturally part of the diverse Melanesian society in the south-west Pacific. Melanesia is not a country but a "culture area" - a term used by anthropologists to refer to a geographical region where people share many of the same traits.
In our case, these traits include family structure, marriage rules, social organisation and ways of surviving or making a living.
Melanesia itself is part of the larger Oceania culture area that includes Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia and Australasia.
Melanesians are characteristically dark-skinned with frizzy hair. They are sometimes referred to as "Papuans," from the Malay word papua meaning "frizzy haired." Melanesia includes the islands of New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and smaller neighbouring islands.
In Melanesian society people work collectively and you cannot see your brother defeated and tremble before you. It’s totally unacceptable in Melanesian society. If there is a division in the society or in the family, it is sign that defeat is invited due to no defence in a crisis.
That is why West Papua wants the rest of Melanesia. West Papua is longing to end its misery and exile. That’s what the Melanesian Spearhead Group should be all about.
One of the early objectives behind the establishment of the Melanesian Spearhead Group was to help the Melanesian people of New Caledonia, the Kanaks, get their independence from France.
While this is still a continuing process, the French government allowed the Kanak Independence Movement — the FLNKS — to take up full membership of the MSG
However, it seems to have a different attitude in the case of West Papua's request to join.
The issue of respecting the sovereignty of a nation that is accused of systematic human rights abuse against a group of people seeking self-determination is not an easy one to address.
Yet being respectful of another nation's sovereignty does not mean ignoring the plight of the marginalised and victimised people within its borders.
Concerns about human rights, indigenous rights and socio-economic rights can be raised, must be raised.
As human beings first, and also as Pacific islanders, we are called to be in solidarity with those who experience injustice and state oppression.
As a democracy, perhaps we in PNG will be able to challenge our elected leaders to ensure that, as a nation, we are not only sovereign and democratic but also compassionate and just towards our neighbours.
We are Melanesians and we are culturally blood related. We stand by each other, we fight together, we feast and celebrate together.
That’s why we should unite with West Papua. We must not call ourselves Papua New Guinea or them West Papua. No! For too long we have been segmented. We must reunite again, for we are not a segmented Papua, but a united Papua