On this day
On September 11, Americans remembered the tragic events of September 11, 2001, in New York City. The day when hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center. Moments later, the iconic building of the American might collapsed killing more than three thousands people. I didn’t post about what I was doing because I was on the road all day and meeting very important people. I was basically on the road the whole day. However, I did join others in commemorating this day and paying my respect to all the families who lost loved ones on that horrific attack that morning, as I was on the road trying to inform the world of our own suffering and death in the hands of the Indonesian government.
On the morning of September 11, our West Papuan Human Rights’ team were on the Capitol Hill talking to people about our situation in West Papua. We met the staff members of one of Virginia’s congressional leaders, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D). We talked to them about the ongoing crisis in West Papua, particularly, the gross ‘Human Rights’ violations against our indigenous, West Papuans, that the world seemed to ignore. I believe the meeting was fruitful. In fact, Rep. Connolly and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine recognized the gross human rights violation in West Papua are are very supportive of our efforts here.
After that meeting, I was on the road again for hours.
Indo-Police bans public rally in Yapen
In the evening, I traveled to NYC to meet visitors at the UN. It is a 4 to 5 hour route that takes people right into the heart of Manhattan. While on the road, I received bad news from home, West Papua. The Indonesian government and police are doing everything possible to prevent West Papuans from expressing their anger and frustration. Public demonstration is one of the hallmarks of a free society, or a democratic country, but not in West Papua under the colonial regime in Jakarta.
Our local Yapen activists understand that “nonviolent methods” are the ways to deal with a violent opponent, especially one which has one of the largest military forces in the world. To do this the peaceful way, our activists wrote to the police and informed them of their upcoming coming rally. The letter was sent on September 3rd. A follow-up letter was sent on September 11th – a little over a week, again, reminding the Indonesian police of the indigenous people’s desire to hold a public rally in Yapen on September 16. There was no response to both letters. So, on September 12, leaders of the village and their supporters marched to the police station and delivered a letter- signed by more than 70 tribal representatives of various villages to the head of police.
Instead of responding to the letter, the Indonesian police took the leaders of the group, Filipus Robaha and Sius Ayemi, into the station and interrogated them for a few hours as if they had committed a horrendous crime. Afterward, they were released and told to inform their group that the Indonesian government and police do not authorize any public rally because they suspected the group was working with the West Papuan Human Rights Center in Washington, D. C. This is appalling!
The rally must continue
Even though they are not allowed to protest, WPHRC is aware that the group is intending to carry out their program as planned. We will update this page if that happens.
We encourage all West Papuans back home to continue putting pressure on Indonesia. There’s no room for negotiation. The tactic used by the president of Indonesia is not new. We’ve seen this propaganda being played out in the past; one which, the president speaks peacefully about unity, peace and calm, while his military generals violently arrest peaceful protesters and execute others! 50 years is a long period of time to negotiate, and they did absolutely nothing. Human Rights lawyer Veronica Koman was right – Indonesia doesn’t care about us, they only care about our resources!
Stay strong to the struggle and keep your heads up! Say no to violence and race your voice! It’s your home, your land, your right! Claim them!