WHAT’S on your mind. This is the Facebook prompt when your cursor hovers in the status segment of your profile.
People type their views and thoughts; express their opinions, their feelings; post pictures. Moments of one’s life.
Today, I read about the murder of an innocent young man, a Pacific islander, a Melanesian. Deni Bahabol, 17 years old, was murdered by the Indonesian military.
For what I ask?
For his desire to fight for freedom, so that his people may live in their own nation and determine their own destiny. For his dream to live in a free land where he could contribute in his own way without fear and or intimidation.
On 6 March 2015, Deni Bahabol's life was snuffed out, the light in his eyes never to be seen again in this world.
It was snuffed out in a most cowardly and brutal fashion. Those who did this would never face trial as no one has ever been held responsible for the other 400,000 who have died since that fateful day in 1969 when 1,025 elders of West Papua were forced at gun point to agree to be a part of a nation they despised and wanted no part of.
No one believed that this could happen. Freedom had been already achieved. The rest was mere formality. The Indonesian invasion had been thwarted. And yet these people would be sold out for geopolitical convenience, greed and profit.
It was unbelievable and shocking that the great United States and the “oh so concerned for humanity” United Nations watched and did nothing as an entire nation was handed over for the slaughter.
In fact, the US and the UN urged this, according to revelations of history now no longer secret.
Today, still, they remain silent. The UN and the US co-conspirators of the collective murder of the people of West Papua. Supporters indirectly because of their interaction, trade, sale of weapons and more. The principal architects of a holocaust of their making, a Pacific Holocaust, rivalling the horrific effort of Hitler to eradicate the world of Jews, Blacks and others he hated.
I consider this tragedy, the murder of Deni Bahabol and the events leading to this horrible situation. I consider the pain and anguish of his mother and father and siblings and loved ones. I consider the anger and outrage and helplessness that his friends surely feel and the humiliation and despair of a long suffering people with seemingly no hope in sight.
Deep in the jungles of West Papua, where the crickets chirp at night to the melodic sound of a flowing stream, sleep a people restless.
Here, every morning is greeted by the sounds of the bird of paradise signalling hope of a brand new day, as fathers clutch their aged and battered weapons.
At night, Papuan mothers sleep restlessly, dogs alert, an entire community on edge with suspense. Death’s footsteps can be heard, growing louder every day and every night. In their ever reducing world, temporary shelters and fast made gardens, whispered stories and short fires, furtive looks and acute hearing are the realities of life.
What does tomorrow hold?
Here children learn at an early age that theirs is not a life of happy playgrounds, schoolyards and television. Theirs is the constant effort to be on the move, the fear that at any time an enemy, emboldened by the lack of interest and courage of the world, is moving to shut down their hope.
They take comfort in their forests, the hard tropical timber designated to be some day soon cut down and the land sown with oil palm.
The Indonesian military builds outposts along the 760 km border with Papua New Guinea. Soon connected, they will lock in the people of West Papua. The net sprung, the resistance will be crushed and the land expropriated.
Oil palm, mineral resources, space, profit and greed. There are no other reasons. Thirty thousand Kopassus Troops, the elite airborne unit of the Indonesian Army, are on the grounds, their boots and weapons prepared for brutality.
An ethnic group is about to be killed off, exempt from the passionate consideration of the leaders of the West who insist indignantly that they are fighting to combat inhumanity, poverty, terrorism and social inequality.
Here is the Pacific's own holocaust, where millions will be forced into extinction. And all this in full view of the world, with its blessing it would seem.
Against such overwhelming odds, hope burns in the hearts of many young men and women like Deni Bahabol.
They know they are a free people imprisoned in their own land. They will not stop until they claim their freedom or die trying. For such is the greatest honour, to die for what you believe in most. Such are the beliefs of the proud soldiers who fight for their people, soldiers like Deni Bahabol.
I knew you not, my young brother, and yet I did. I feel I lost something special when I heard of your passing, of your untimely murder. I wept too.
Freedom...that's what’s on my mind, freedom.
Rest in peace, Deni...we are moving…