Papuan Leaders in Papua & Papua Barat Provinces Must Learn from West Papua Independence Campaigners
I am talking based on what I am seeing today in Papua and Papua Barat provinces of Indonesia. The reality today in these two provinces, which is generally referred to as West Papua teritory, is that almost all Papuans are divided into factions and groups based on tribes, government administrative boundaries, economic and business interests and based on political parties they are affiliated with.
Take the easiest example between the governor of Papua and the governor of Papua Barat. The first one is the leader of Indonesia’s Democrat Party chaired by former Indonesian President Susilo Bambyang Yudhoyono and the other one is from Gerindra (Great Indonesia Movement Party) headed by former Special Armed Forces Commander, Retired Lt. Gen. Prabowo Subianto. Governor of Papua is a civilian, but his Political Party Chair is a retired Army General. The governmor of Papua Barat and his political party’s chair are both retired Army Generals. These affiliations of being retired army generals and civilians, former president of Indonesia and current governor of Papua has direct impact on to whom these two governors affiliated with and whom they support in their policies for the Papuan peoples in these two provinces.
Current president is from the PDIP, a different political party, and from an ordiary businessman. He has no strong support from the armed forces, but he has got support from the Indonesian public.
These differences drag both Papua and Papua Barat governors to two different directions, two separate pilicies, as if they are governing in two separate islands and among two different nations.
Compared to the “miracles” so called by those independence campaigners, and looking at the unification of all factions campaigning for West Papua independence, the differences inside the two governors are not as bad as the frictions within organisastions campaigning for West Papua Independence.
West Papua independence campaigners were not only fractioned, they had been killing each other for tens of years, for almost a half century. But they say a miracle had been recently happening beginning from Port Vila, the Republic of Vanuatu, the only republic nation-state in Melanesia, to Honiara, the capital of independent state of Solomon Islands and in Port Moresby, the capital of the neigbouring Papua New Guinea.
The differences between the two governors in West Papua territory (Papua Barat and Papua) have no historical record of bloddy clashes as those among the independence campaigners. They only problem within these two provinces is the “ego” of the two governors, plus the “ego” of the officials heling the two. We need to ask each of them, “Are you really working to serve the Papuan peoples and these two provinces, or are you serving your own political leaders and political cliques within your own reach, for the sake of your own posititions and wealth?”
The two governors must come to an understanding that they are both serving the Papuan people, in the western half of New Guinea Island, they are appointed by the people who live in West Papua territory, and they have to work hard to deliver the promises they have presented during their political campaigns.
Papua governor has a promise to make his province to wake up or raise up, to become self-reliance and to become prosperous. They governor of Papua Barat always use the slogan, “If not today, when then? and If not us, then who?” Both are so called “Papuan native”, both understand what their people need and want, both should cooperate, setting aside the differences in their political affiliations, administrative boundaries, past histories and future ambitions.
The weakest point in developing Papuan people is the diverse socio-cultural dan geographical boundaries. The two governors must sit down together, plan together, deliver programmes together, as a united front, just like the lesson we learned from those campaigning for West Papua independence.
If both of them separeted by their political affiliations, administrative boundaries, ego and ambitions, I believe, that the united front that are campaigning for West Papua independence will gain momentum. Inside here we are divided, but those working against us are united. The outcome is for sure, according to the natural law, those united front will win.