The Unknown Jihad
White House advisors McGeorge Bundy and Robert Komer from April 1961 lobbied US President John F. Kennedy to negotiate for Indonesia the trade of West New Guinea to Indonesian control; the resulting New York Agreement was drafted by Robert Kennedy and signed by the Netherlands, Indonesia and United Nations in August 1962.
Although the Netherlands had insisted the West New Guinea people be allowed Self-determination in accord with the United Nations charter and General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) which was to be called the "Act of Free Choice"; the New York Agreement instead provided a seven year delay and gave the United Nations no authority to supervise the act.
The legitimacy of this transfer was not recognized by the Papuan population, the majority of whom have continued civil disobedience by raising the West Papua Morning Star flag each year on the 1 December although this action is illegal under Indonesian law and may result in imprisonment of seven to twenty years if caught and handed over to the police for prosecution.
In October 1968 Mr Nicolaas Jouwe, member of the New Guinea Council and of the National Committee elected by the Council in 1962, lobbied the United Nations claiming 30,000 Indonesian troops and thousands of Indonesian civil servants were repressing the Papuan population. According to US Ambassador Galbraith the Indonesian Foreign Minister Adam Malik also believed the Indonesian military was the cause of problems in the territory and the number of troops should be reduced by at least one half.
Ambassador Galbraith further described the OPM to "represent an amorphous mass of anti-Indonesia sentiment" with "possibly 85 to 90 percent [of Papuans], are in sympathy with the Free Papua cause or at least intensely dislike Indonesians".
Brigadier General Sarwo Edhie oversaw the design and conduct of the "Act of Free Choice" which took place from 14 July to 2 August 1969.
The United Nations representative Ambassador Oritiz Sanz arrived on 22 August 1968 and made repeated requests for to the Brigadier General for Indonesia to allow a one man one vote system (a process known as a referendum or plebiscite) but these requests were refused on terms that the New York Agreement did not specify that the general public be allowed to vote. One thousand and twenty five Papuans were selected from and instructed on the required procedure for the act. The resulting vote was unanimous for integration, but by many Papuans and representatives of foreign governments, claim the result was rigged by the Indonesian Government.
In response, Oom Nicolas Jouwe and two OPM commanders, Seth Jafeth Roemkorem and Jacob Hendrik Prai, planned to announce Papuan Independence in 1971. On 1 July 1971 Roemkorem and Prai declared a Republic of West Papua, and drafted a constitution.
Conflicts over strategy between Roemkorem and Prai soon initiated a split of the OPM into two factions; the PEMKA lead by Prai, and TPN lead by Roemkorem. This greatly weakened OPM's ability as a centralized combat force. It remains widely used, however, invoked by both contemporary fighters and domestic and expatriate political activists.In 1982 a OPM Revolutionary Council (OPMRC) was established, and under the chairmanship of Moses Werror the OPMRC has sought independence through an International Diplomacy campaign. OPMRC aims to obtain international recognition for West Papuan independence through international forums such as the United Nations, The Non-Aligned Movement of Nations, The South Pacific Forum, and The Association of South East Asian Nations.
In 1984 OPM staged an attack on Jayapura, the provincial capital and a city dominated by non-Melanesian Indonesians. The attack was quickly repelled by the Indonesian military, who followed it with broader counter-insurgency activity. This triggered an exodus of Papuan refugees, apparently supported by the OPM, into camps across the border in Papua New Guinea.In the mid-1990s, the organization gained renewed prominence and greater support among indigenous Papuans. This was fueled in large part by anger over the actions of the gold mining corporation Freeport-McMoRan, which is accused of environmental damage and of supporting alleged human rights abuses by the Indonesian military. In separate incidents in January and August 1996, OPM captured European and Indonesian hostages; first from a research group and later from a logging camp. Two hostages from the former group were killed and the rest were released.
In July 1998 the OPM raised their independence flag at the Kota Biak water tower on the island of Biak. They stayed there for the following few days before the Indonesian Military broke the group up using force.
Reports of a massacre have since surfaced.
From a speech by Theys Eluay in 1998…
“The truth is that we have never been part of Indonesia, so
we aren’t leaving. The truth is that Indonesia attached
itself to the Papuan people like a parasite.
If we are to advance our struggle towards gaining our
independence, we need to pursue it within the corridor of
peace and love.”From a speech by Theys Eluay in 2001, just before he was assassinated…
“Our flag hasn't flown for so many years.
We're in the midst of an evil nation.
In the mouth of a tiger. But it's God's will.
Our prayers that the flag will fly will be answered.
I'm prepared to go to my grave, but the flag will fly. It will fly.
That's perfectly natural for me. I don't mind. It's in God's hands.
But we will not be under the Indonesians.”
are some of the most shameful of the past years. The
Western powers have much to answer for, and at the very
least should use their ample means to bring about the
withdrawal of the occupying Indonesian army and
termination of the shameful exploitation of resources and
destruction of the environment and the lives and societies
of the people of West Papua, who have suffered far too
Professor Noam Chomsky