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A not so Merry Christmas for West Papua (fwd)

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    Indonesian President Wahid intends to be in West Papua for Christmas... ... Subject: We Wish you a Merry.... “We Wish You a Merry…” As most of
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 22, 2000
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      Indonesian President Wahid intends to be in West Papua for Christmas...

      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      Subject: "We Wish you a Merry...."

      “We Wish You a Merry…”

      As most of us prepare to embrace the holidays; you know;
      the end of the maddening crowds, the slush-covered, unplowed, and
      unsalted sidewalks, a Medusa’s wig of hands all reaching at once for
      toys that you have to ASK why in the world your child should want SO
      desperately; only to remember at the end of this most hectic time of the
      year there might just be a warm fireplace and a hot mug of spiked eggnog
      to reward you and your partner.

      Not so for the peoples of West Papua, former Irian Jaya. Instead,
      this December and at the time of this writing, the indigenous population
      of West Papua faces machine guns, war ships, highly armed and dangerous
      Indonesian militia who would have few if any qualms about hurting a small
      child. Or his/her parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters. Or entire

      Indeed, almost half of the native peoples of West Papua have already been
      annihilated, or have simple "disappeared" (remember East Timor?..A.K.A.
      now in West Papua). A land so diverse it is home to more than 250
      hundred different tribes, and more than 250 distinct languages. This is
      an astonishing fact, given that the island of New Guinea as a whole
      contains only .01 percent of the world's population, yet contains 15% of
      the world's recognized languages. West Papuan people and culture have
      existed on the island for thousands of years.

      They were first discovered by the Spanish, and later the Dutch took
      control of West Papua, or West Irian - as the United Nations 'terms'
      her. Under Dutch control, the tribal peoples did not suffer too much.
      Particularly by the Dutch missionaries, who - although hell bent on
      converting so-called "heathen savage" ways, provide sanctity in terms of
      missions, et al. It was only when religious settlers, and particularly
      those of other denominations or affiliations would not leave tribes
      alone after kindly and repeatedly asked, that they were likely eaten as a
      side dish to baked yams.

      Later came the mercenaries, and the Indonesians. Now, West Papua faces

      Today, almost half of West Papua’s indigenous tribal peoples
      have been killed. Today tribal elders sit in prison cells awaiting
      sentencing from officers who know exactly where to put the most salt on a
      wound or pulled tooth so it hurts as much as possible. And you don’t
      even want to know where most of the wounding is strategically applied. In
      fact, five members of the Independence-oriented Peoples Presidium council
      now sit in jail, awaiting sentencing and hopefully, release. The detained
      included "moderate" Presidium leader Theys Hilo Eluey and his son Boy
      Eluay. One of the members of the leading Indonesian human rights watchdog
      group, Els Ham, has also been arrested for speaking out after several
      students, ages beginning at 16, were brutally murdered.

      I stress here that it is not necessary the Indonesian government who
      sanctions such atrocities as shooting at will unarmed and innocent people
      (for say, taking one’s sick wife to the chemist after curfew hours).
      It is a blindly brutal military regime, led by the Indonesian Defense
      Minister Muhammad Mahfud. And Sudharto’s daughter, who was educated
      under circumstances of privilege in the United States of America. Ever
      hear of filial piety– respect for one’s parents and elders?
      Well, Ms. Megwati certainly displays this. Remember the situation in East
      Timor? West Papua is undergoing it now. The Papuan youth, particularly
      sixteen and seventeen year olds armed with their family sticks practice
      filial piety as well.

      . They remember all too well the stories of their grandfathers and elders
      who were forced, at gun point, to sign the UN sanctioned referendum, The
      Act of Free Choice back in 1963. The Papuans refer to this particular
      document as ”The Act Free of Choice”, and “The Act of No
      Choice”. This all occurred during a time in West Papua’s
      history when gold had since been discovered in her mountains, Indonesia
      wanted a piece of her, and the United States was scared of Indonesia. So
      Mr. Bobby Kennedy requested that the Dutch relinquish West Papua, and all
      will be safe and well.

      Not so (well) for the Papuan people. National Geographic once called
      her “The Final Frontier”. How right they were. Gold was
      discovered in her mountains! Every privy western nation wants a piece of
      her, particularly the U.S. mining conglomerate Freeport McMoran, who has
      literally shaved off hectares and hectares of pristine mountain and
      forest ranges. A virtual gold rush! This devistation along with
      Indonesian policies of transmigration has not only contributed to
      deforestation of one of the worlds last remaining rainforests. Indonesia
      has already used up most of her own, and West Papua has vast mineral
      resources! While some native Papuans believe Freeport and its sister
      company, British Rio-Tinto, can bring much needed wealth to their nation,
      most have experienced nothing but hardship, loss of homeland, and even
      death. When the tribal lands are "needed", the people are! sent to
      lowland areas where they meet unfamiliar diseases such as tuberculosis
      and malaria. West Papuan tribes in this region, particularly the Amungme
      tribes, are understandibly angry. They are tired of seeing the bodys of
      their people wash down a river now laden with toxins and other unwanted
      materials. Infact, they cannot even grow their ancestral vegetables,
      because the land is now infertile.

      And such is the way with most of the worlds last remaining indigenous
      peoples. They fight right until the end for the “basic” right
      of retaining (some) of their land, their culture, and the basic tenant of
      freedom. Independence. Or, as the Papuans say, “Merdeka”.

      The late anthropologist Margaret Mead called the West Papuan indigenous
      peoples “a culture on the very brink of change…effervescent…”
      Indeed, she was and is. Although the atrocities being committed daily in
      West Papua and a tiny island neighbor called Aceh are being virtually
      ignored by the world, the people just don't give up. "Shout again for the
      whole world to hear" states a verse from the national anthem of Papua New
      Guinea, also shared by West Papua.

      And the United nations refuses to grant refugee/asylee status to West
      Papuans who have managed by the skin of their teeth to make it across the
      border into PNG. Hardlined administration in Australia and the United
      States also refuse to budge on their stance. After all, their are just
      too many people trying to get out of some place somewhere right now.

      One People One Soul. West Papua. Definition: Solidarity,
      courage, preserverance, and a love for ones native ancestral lands so
      deep one is willing to die in order to see a flag fly high.

      Please, dear reader, urge the United Nations to consider the plight of a
      very important nation, and a very exceptional people(s) and culture(s).
      For all of us.

      And then, sigh...go struggle to buy your daughter that Diva Barbie she
      wants so badly this Christmas and have a spiked glass of eggnog. And
      thank God that she, at least, is warm and safe tonight.

      Happy Holidays.

      - independent contributer

      "i share a vision..."

      London, Seattle, Washington, Melbourne, Prague, Nice...

      Please feel free to print the following article, if it meets your
      standards. Thank you for your consideration, and please forward.
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