Saturday, October 04, 2008

Free West Papua

I spent much of today at a Justice and Peace day - where I met some truly inspirational people. I was privileged to meet the UK based leader of the West Papuan independence movement, Benny Wenda, for the second time, as well as his compatriot and fellow activist Serile. These two men are part of only two families who have managed to escape oppression in West Papua and flee to the UK to raise the profile of the political oppression faced by the people of their country at the hands of the Indonesian government. The stories they have to tell are amazing. Benny's story is a harrowing one of being forced from his home as a child and growing up with a disability whilst living in hiding in the jungle from Indonesian troops who brutalised, and still brutalise, his people. Benny later describes his experiences of being shunned and spat at by Indonesian schoolmates and of being arrested and imprisoned as an adult. The story of his escape into Papua New Guinea and his subsequent journey to the UK is captivating. Benny is the most gentle and captivating of speakers and someone who truly inspires his audience.

More information about the Free West Papua movement can be found at:
Free West Papua

A sickening aspect of the West Papua story is that multinational companies are exploiting the natural wealth of the West Papua and are working in cahoots with the Indonesian government. BP are one such multinational company who are developing a massive natural gas project in West Papua in the midst of a genocide. Although BP claim that they don't actually pay money directly to the Indonesian military, unlike one or two other multinationals, their work still benefits the Indonesian government and thus indirectly funds the brutalisation of the West Papuan people. For more information about BP's role in West Papua see:
Boycott BP

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Thank you for your concern about our brothers of West Papua.
Unfortunately the Corporations are not only making money lotting West Papua; in 1962 they manipulated John F Kennedy to colonise West Papua for benefit of the Freeport & Bechtel corporations.

It was Freeport director Robert Lovett who told Kennedy to appoint McGeorge Bundy as the US National Security Adviser. Then Bundy had his deputy & the NSC tell Kennedy that the U.S. had to sacrifice West Papua to save America.

West Papua was sold as a colony by the Netherlands to Indonesia for benefit of the US, unwittingly for benefit of Freeport which got the mining license from Gen. Suharto in 1967 when he came to power.