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08 January 2019


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Martin Auld

Keith Jackson writes:

Mr Auld has written further 'responses' to my article, including material which is disingenuous or misquotes and misinterprets me and other contributors. I can only assume this is deliberate. In parts he offers as fact, and without citation, material that cannot be proven. He is also dismissive and unsympathetic to the genuine plight of the Papuan people and denies what is regarded as mass killings of the Papuan people in all likelihood amounting to genocide.

His most outrageous, misleading and often repeated statement is that any claim of killing 500,000 of a 1969 population of 800,000 would be ludicrous. Of course it would be, but nobody claims this. The estimate is of 500,000 deaths over 50 years

In part Mr Auld has written: "After all these years, I'm still angry. My spiritual confidants and betters tell me anger isn't good for me, or anyone. It makes me angrier still that creeps like SF [an individual known to Mr Auld] and OPM activists politicise the epidemic as 'Indonesian genocide.' But there we go, they do."

In the editor's view, Mr Auld's contribution to this particular discussion has run its course. I do not apprehend his motives or know what has triggered his angry views but I do believe that, for whatever reason, he fails to address himself to a credible account and interpretation of the tragic situation in West Papua. Perhaps he should offer his thoughts to a more appropriate publication.

Jimmy Awagl

The West Papuans wish, dream and aspire to liberty and this has cost many lives over the last 50 years.

But there seems no hope for liberty in terms of politics, religion and governance.

Human abuse indicates greed from the perpetrator. 'Brutality' is a cry going out to other parties to rescue them from their agony.

Where is PNG, UN, Australia and the US to rescue them for their freedom?

Social media play an informative role to voice their grievances for a rescue since the estimated 500,000 genocide figure is more that enough bloodshed and abuse.

Martin Auld

"It's not possible to set an exact figure on how many have perished in West Papua..."

Why not? It's not as difficult as you seem to think.

In 1963 the population of W.Papua was just over 800,000. Some would have us believe that Indonesians then killed 500,000 of them. To be blunt - bullshit. It's racist propaganda designed to stigmatise and dehumanize Indonesians and mobilise public opinion to pressure Govt policy. Again to be blunt, everyone with skin in the game knows this.

One death is too many. Truth is important. There are no anonymous deaths. Families know, villages know. Family trees and ancestors are important in W.Papua, remembering names gives customary legitimacy to landholders.

The challenge for researchers of history and demography is to put names to allegations. Begin with population of the districts, then subdistricts. First identify the subdistricts with little to no history of conflict in your chosen timeframe, where population has increased at the expected rate. Eventually you will end up focusing on the few districts where conflict has been greatest. Then see if you alleged loss of 500,000 is even possible. It is not.

Racism is not the exclusive preserve of the extreme right. It exists across the spectrum. Appealing to it is easiest when pre-existing cultural values are engaged, and people can be encouraged to confirm their bias. We often believe because we already want to believe.

The people who engage in this sort of disinformation, in the jargon of Peace Journalism, are known as conflict entrepreneurs. They exist in the community, ngos, media, formal and informal politics and religious organisations.

The OPM was born in the Birdshead when the Papua Vol Corps fractured, some joining TNI others the OPM. Since then it has shifted operational activity to the central highlands where it off feeds off a grievance industry engendered by the appalling treatment of Amungme by Freeport. Freeport's where the big money is. It attracts conflict entrepreneurs.

Lindsay F Bond

Yea, Wardley --- sadly, but significantly, your readers should be looking for a stop to it

Wardley Barry

Dear UN -

How much more blood must we spill?
Do you want an ocean?
How many more lives must we lose?
Can you count the stars?
How many more men must be tortured?
Is animal cruelty more important than genocide?
How many more women must be raped
and babies forced into their wombs only to be ripped out?
Have we not been violated since birth?
How many more children must be orphaned?
Are cats more deserving of a home than my black child?
How much more tears must we cry?
Have not our rivers been flooded?
How many more prayers must we offer?
Are not our sighs loud enough?
How many more petitions must we sign?
Aren’t our butchered limbs enough?
How much higher must we pile our dead bodies for you to notice?
Soon we will all die and there'll be no one left
to collect our corpses or sign this off

Paul Oates

It's not possible to set an exact figure on how many have perished in West Papua since the Indonesian invasion since the region is still under Indonesian control.

Comparing West Papua with East Timor (Timor Leste) might provide some comparison however. It is calculated after the Indonesians were ejected that at least 200,000 East Timorese had been killed or suffered unnatural deaths during the Indonesian occupation of that part of the Island of Timor.

The Timor situation has been referred to as genocide. Surely that seems to be on a par with the situation in West Papua?

Lindsay F Bond

Let the numbers be further assessed, talked about, viewed worldwide, more certainly discussed and gauged for values.

Is it too trite to compare with Churchill's speech (20/8/1940) "Never was so much owed by so many to so few", by asking is it only in acts of armed conflict that so little of so many is valued by so few?

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