Monday, January 3, 2011
The Guardian - I have a hit list in my hand. Fifteen people are threatened with assassination because they speak out for freedom and democracy, against a massacre. One of them, in a list of civilians including church ministers, youth leaders, legislators and an anthropologist, is a friend of mine.
The hit list is compiled by Kopassus, the Indonesian army's notorious special forces unit, responsible for vicious human rights abuses in Timor-Leste and West Papua. Kopassus targets these 15 for their "prohibited speech" that has "reached the outside world", bearing witness to "the issue of severe human rights violations in Papua". These are the words of Kopassus itself, in a leaked report given to investigative reporter Allan Nairn, last month. Kopassus has not denied its veracity.
Although the US Leahy Law forbids funding to military units that violate human rights, Kopassus is now being supported by president Obama, under the guise of fighting terrorism. The Kopassus document gives the lie to that, showing their systematic targeting of civilians. Number five on their list is the current president of the Papuan Presidium Council, whose predecessor, Theys Eluay, had his throat slit in 2001. While I was in West Papua, I met the then-president, who told me he had also been the victim of a failed assassination.
My friend, a church minister, told me of widespread abuse, rape and killings. Another told me about seeing soldiers torture and murder around 100 villagers. In October, video footage showed West Papuan villagers being tortured by the military. Yelps, gulps and sobs of fear and pain momentarily broke a media silence until the websites hosting the footage were subject to cyber attacks. But the chances are you won't know anything about this, because the media does not bear witness to it. In a form of lethal meekness so well exposed by John Pilger, journalists say Indonesia refuses entry to the media. This is entirely correct and entirely spurious. It is not difficult to go there: buy a ticket, say you're a tourist, and get your notebook out.
A functional media is as important to democratic freedom as voting. West Papua has been robbed of both. Indonesia invaded in 1962. In 1969, under the "act of free choice", 1,026 West Papuans were ordered at gunpoint to vote for integration with Indonesia. This contravened international law, and was a travesty of democracy. "The process of consultation did not allow a genuinely free choice to be made," said a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office briefing that year. The American embassy in Jakarta in June 1969 knew what was in store for the Papuans: the act of free choice, according to the embassy, "is unfolding like a Greek tragedy, the conclusion pre-ordained".
The reasons for this collusion become clear if you rewind to 1967, when president Suharto's men struck a deal to hand over West Papua's wealth of natural resources to international companies, including a mountain of copper and gold – now the world's most valuable mine, Freeport McMoRan.
In return, Indonesia received billions of corporate dollars plus, crucially, international connivance in covering up human rights abuses. Racism played a part: those who would suffer, said the British embassy, were merely "a relatively small number of very primitive people", occupying what a White House adviser dismissed as "a few thousand miles of cannibal land".
A massive transmigration programme of Javanese aims to make Papuans a minority in their own lands. At least 100,000 Papuans, according to Amnesty International, have been murdered, with weaponry provided by British and American companies in lucrative arms deals. Obama knows this: just ahead of his November visit to Indonesia, 50 members of the US Congress wrote to him concerning West Papua's "slow-motion genocide", and Congress held a (barely reported) hearing on Papuan human rights abuses. Human rights organisations repeatedly bring massacres and abuses to the attention of the media, who repeatedly ignore them. In these lethal omissions, the press tacitly colludes in mass murder.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Leaked US State Department cables reveal that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono privately told the US that continuing the ban - introduced in 1999 because of Kopassus's appalling human rights record, including killings in East Timor and West Papua - was the ''litmus test of the bilateral relationship'' between the US and Indonesia.
Six months later, the US agreed to resume ties with Kopassus, despite fierce criticism from some human rights groups and American politicians about Jakarta's failure to hold officers to account for their role in atrocities.
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The cables, released by WikiLeaks exclusively to The Age, detail US concerns about Indonesia's failure to prosecute the military personnel responsible for murder and torture during the conflicts in East Timor and Aceh.
But they also reveal that US diplomats in Jakarta believed that Mr Yudhoyono's demands should be met to ensure that Indonesia's military and security services would protect American interests in the region, including co-operation in the war on terror. It was also argued that closer military ties would encourage further reform of Indonesia's military.
The Indonesian leader's call to lift the Kopassus training ban is described in a January cable from the US embassy in Jakarta.
''President Yudhoyono (SBY) and other senior Indonesian officials have made it clear to us that SBY views the issue of Army Special Forces (KOPASSUS) training as a litmus test of the bilateral relationship and that he believes the … visit of President Obama will not be successful unless this issue is resolved in advance of the visit,'' the cable says.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said in July that the US needed to renew links with Kopassus ''as a result of Indonesian military reforms over the past decade, the ongoing professionalisation of the TNI, and recent actions taken by the Ministry of Defence to address human rights issues''.
An Australian expert on the Indonesian military, Australian Defence Force Academy associate professor Clinton Fernandes, said yesterday the cables appeared to show that members of Congress such as Senator Patrick Leahy - author of the 1999 ban on training with Kopassus - ''have not been told the real reason for Obama's decision, which was to provide photo opportunities for the President''.
''The decision to renew links shows contempt not only to the victims of gross human rights violations but to members of the US Congress,'' Professor Fernandes said.
US diplomatic cables from the past four years reveal that Jakarta's intense lobbying to lift the Kopassus ban was largely supported by the US embassy in Jakarta, which cited the Australian military's ties with Kopassus as a reason to lift the ban.
An April 2007 cable says that ''our Australian counterparts often encourage us to resume training for KOPASSUS''.
However, numerous cables also detail serious US concerns about resuming ties.
In October 2007, the embassy told Washington that ''Indonesia has not prosecuted past human rights violations in any consistent manner. While we need to keep Indonesia mindful of the consequences of inaction on TNI [Indonesian military] accountability, Indonesia is unlikely to abandon its approach. We need therefore to encourage the Indonesian government to take alternative steps to demonstrate accountability.''
Around the same time, another cable from the embassy noted that several high-ranking Indonesia officers had been promoted, despite questions about their involvement in past atrocities.
''In two cases (Muis and Zamroni), officers linked to human rights violations have been promoted to key positions,'' the cable said. ''Indonesian Defense Department contacts have told us the promotions for these two were delayed beyond the usual date because of their past activities. One case (Heryadi) may herald closer ties with China.''
Another 2007 cable details US concern about the appearance at a Kopassus anniversary celebration of Tommy Suharto, the notorious son of the former president who served several years in prison for arranging the killing of a judge who convicted him of fraud.
In May 2008, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, was briefed by US diplomats that ''the key impediment to expanded engagement remains the failure of the GOI [Indonesia] to press for accountability for past human rights abuses by security forces.
''The accountability issue stopped our planned engagement with the elite Army Special Forces (KOPASSUS) dead in its tracks and can be felt in other mil-mil [military-to-military] activities.''
The cable welcomes the Indonesian military's reforms but noted they were not ''the same as putting generals behind bars for past human rights abuses''.
In late 2009, about six months before the US lifted its Kopassus ban, US Under-Secretary for Defence Bill Burns told senior Indonesian officials that ''engagement with KOPASSUS continued to be a difficult and complex issue, particularly as there remained many in Washington, including in Congress, with serious concerns about accountability for past KOPASSUS actions''.
But the US cables also reveal the Jakarta embassy's efforts to water down the background screening that Indonesian military officers must undergo if they undertake training in the US.
The US embassy is also revealed in another cable as heavily playing down a 2009 report by Human Rights Watch that alleges Kopassus soldiers had committed recent human rights abuses in Papua.
The embassy called the report unbalanced and unconfirmed. It said that the abuses detailed did not appear to ''meet the standard of gross violation of human rights''.
''In these incidents, KOPASSUS personnel allegedly beat and kicked nine Papuans inside a KOPASSUS compound … Several cases involved Papuans who were drunk or enga
ged in disruptive behaviour near the KOPASSUS barracks.'' (Philip Dorling and Nick McKenzie )
Monday, December 13, 2010
Filep Karma, 51, and Buchtar Tabuni, 31, both serving jail terms for, respectively, treason and inciting hatred toward the government, were transferred on Dec. 6 three days after a prisoner was shot and killed in his hideout after a prison break.
Both men were accused of inciting a subsequent riot in Abepura after news of the killing reached inmates and then arrested. They have men denied access to their lawyers and are on a hunger strike in protest against the death.
Elaine Pearson, deputy director of HRW’s Asia division, said that police’s refusal violated the United Nations Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, which stipulates that prisoners must be allowed to consult their legal council without delay or censorship.
“Prisoners have rights too, and ignoring those rights is no way to celebrate Human Rights Day,” Pearson said. “The authorities should explain why Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni have been thrown in a police lock-up and denied access to lawyers.”
Nazaruddin Burnas, head of the Papua office of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights confirmed that Karma and Tabuni were under investigation for their alleged roles in the riot.
“Once police conclude their investigation and if they find nothing against them, they will be returned to Abepura,” he said.
Ridha Saleh, chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), said that he had also been denied access to Karma and Tabuni.
“Police told us that we should contact prison officials, which we have done. But they still wouldn’t let us in,” he said.
Ridha demanded police grant both men access to legal representation and their families.
Cynthia Warwe, a close friend of Karma, said both men had refused food for several days in protest following the death of prisoner Heron Wetipo.
“I haven’t been able to see them, so I am gravely concerned about their health and well-being,” she said.
Jayapura Police Chief Adjutant Chief Comr. Imam Setiawan said they believed Hiron and five other escapees were armed when they raided the hideout. One other prisoner was arrested and four others escaped.
The incident is the fourth reported breakout from Abepura this year. In May, 18 prisoners took advantage of a brawl between prison guards to make their getaway.
A month later, 26 inmates escaped after guards failed to show up for work over a labor dispute. In October, two more fled.
According to HRW, Karma is six years into a 15-year sentence for treason following a Papuan independence rally.
Buchtar Tabuni, a leader of the West Papua National Committee, was jailed for three years for organizing protests against the shooting of his relative, Opinus Tabuni.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
By Dominkus Sorabut
In recent years, each approached and cut in November and December become blooding is always in the tranquility and intimacy of the people of Papua. This was shown by events ranging from kidnapping bloodshed Theys H. Eluay, the firing of Kelly Kwalik and others.
In memory of the people of Papua, in November and December is a month which is very crucial, because the Government always duplicate the December 1 Papuan independence day by claiming the nation through the efforts of conditioning conflict with the brutal actions that violate human rights in Papua. Also for the majority of the people of Papua in December preparing for the Advent and Christmas party, but always in trouble with weeping tears. The meaning of Christmas for the people of Papua did not mean.
End of 2010 in November and December this had happened a few incidents of violence, raids, confiscation of property and so forth, which fear Papuan people, such as the shooting of five civilians in the village of Nafri. Before the shooting incident in Nafri village, there are several events have occurred prior to such burning house in the village due to the song that harass Yoka dignity of the people of the Middle Mountains of Papua, Papuans in general, and tribal warfare in Timika Kwamki old and District and District Iwur Batom Kab. Star Mountains, there was a massive mobilization of people, that on December 1, 2010 will be held referendum in Papua.
The attacks on civilians in villages that failed Nafri shooter identified, then the combined forces (TNI / Police) suspected that the perpetrators of the attack civilians in the village is the people Nafri middle Mountains of Papua, so that the brutal forces conducting searches, confiscation of property and the detention of civilians around settlements and land Nafri black. Also at the same time the shooting occurred Abe Miron Wetipo prison dwellers, by members of the Police want to escape, consequently Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni cs transferred to Papua Police Detention, shooting 2 people resident (Atili Wenda and Elius Tabuni) in Bolakme is worship in the village Yugum, shooting Wendiman Yambi Wenda in Puncak Jaya during dug sweet potatoes in the garden. And Cyprian tertabraknya Similar bans on Waena and Sebby Sambom, about to go to Jakarta by the police officer in Sentani.
This conflict is deliberately managed and developed to frame one group and or a target group, especially to the people of Papua drag on the first act of treason and sepratis Papuans be used as a terrorist.
In detail the events there in the table below:Table violence late November-early December 2010No Time Event Violence, sweeping, and detention1st Sunday, November 28, 2010 1. Nafri Abepura shooting in the village of Jayapura, at 10:00 AM: Riswandi Yunus (35) was shot in the left neck and died instantly at the scene. Another victim was Fernal Nongka (10), was shot in the chest left and right, Alex Nongka (40) in the upper right arm, and Baharudin (49) and Dian Novita in his right hand. The shooting allegedly by an armed civilian groups.2. Yambi shooting in Puncak Jaya, at 13:00 on Wendiman Wenda (55 th) were killed, by multiplying the TNI was sweet in the garden, allegedly TPN Goliath Tabuni OPM forces.2nd Monday, November 29, 2010 sweep and arrests by the joint forces (TNI / Police) against civilians living in the village Nafri (people of the Middle Mountains of Papua), on behalf of Jere Kogoya and Annidigen Kogoya, at 04th afternoon. They are alleged perpetrators of the shooting in the village Nafri, then secured in Jayapura Police.3 Wednesday, December 1, 2010 shooting by the combined forces (TNI / police) in Wamena on behalf of the District Bolakme Atili Wenda and Elius Tabuni. At 11.00, while worship Yugum kampong.4 Friday, December 3, 2010 1. Joint forces (TNI / Police) conducting at about 3:00 subu at Dani's house in the complex Kogoya BTN Puskopad Black Soil, Abepura. And arrest civilians:a. Ev. Yesmin Yikwab. Jupiter Tabunic. Tenius Yikwad. Manu Kogoyae. Lambert Siepf. Nalius Karobag. Yumbuk Yikwah. Yotan Kogoya
2. Police had shot a prisoners would escape Abe LP on behalf of: Miron Wetipo and 3 people fled; other names escape namely: Jhon Wandik, Urban Mabel, Marnus Togodli, Paro Kosay, Yohanis Elokpere. At 04:00 Hours Morning.3. At 12 o'clock tonight, the Toko Papua Perumnas a Waena, hit by a death in the name of Cyprian Similarly, 20 Year (student Uncen Semester Programs IRS 5).5 Saturday, December 4, 2010 1. Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni Cs narapida allegedly inciting inmates to prisons Abe's shooting rampage killed due to one member prison Wetipo Miron, thus secured to the Papua Police Insulation Resistance. Berssama with other prisoners is, Dominggus Pulalo, Alex Elopere, and Lopes Karubaba. In the early morning. Until this moment police are not open space for family and friends come to see the conditions Filep activist and Buchtar. Karma Pilep condition was critical due to hunger strike from the beginning.
2. 08.00, Sebby Sambom, plans to Jakarta by Garuda Indonesia airlines flight to Makassar, Jakarta, blocked by a police officer and prosecutor then entrusted in Prison Drug Sentani.
Of the phenomenon and the real action that has been raised in the sweep of events and raids, shootings and even soul pencegalan civilians, all in an effort to conditioning (the conditioning region, fear conditioning, conditioning issues, etc.). Papua Everyone is conditioned to maker further unrest and chaos is a common behavior of certain groups in Papua (directed community groups from the mountains of central Papua). Each of the Papuans also conditioned to understand that would be tragic if it was shot dead try to perform actions such as trying to undermine the authority of the sovereignty of the republic unitary state of Indonesia. Situations like this bring us to the ways used to suppress freedom of every person's rights to expression, assembly, speech, and opinion. Anyone arrested to justify that what is alleged is true perpetrators of crimes, let alone supported by the characteristics: the same ethnic origin, family name (clan) the same, and others, to blame and fear within the community. This is far from the desired peaceful life shared by us all.
In connection with this event, as a whole shows that:1. Government of Papua Province, Papua Police Chief, and Commander XVII / Cenderawasih are silencing all the events of violence in Papua, and was ignoring the explanation to the public about what really happened.2. Government of Papua Province, Papua Police Chief, and Commander XVII / Paradise deliberately maintaining violence with law enforcement and human rights.3. Papua police chief without legal procedure and human rights arbitrarily arrested and detained and tortured civilians on the basis of stigma against people of Papua, especially the younger group and Papuans (from the Central Highlands of Papua).
Therefore, it should be done in-depth and comprehensive investigation of the above series of events in accordance with the mandate provided for in Law no. 39/1999 on Human Rights and announce the results to the entire community and provide assurance of protection to the innocent victims who were experiencing resistance.
Similarly Portrait Violence in Papua November and December 2010
Greetings and Respect.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The visit of the President of the United States (US), Barack Hussein Obama, is over, but the people and government of Indonesian certainly hope this is not the last time he will be visiting Indonesia. In a speech on the campus of the University of Indonesia, Depok, he said that Indonesia was a part of him.
Naturally, if Obama says so. He spent four years of his life in Indonesia. At the time he went to Indonesia with his mother, Ann Dunham and his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian. His stepfather was forced to leave college in Hawaii, and was drafted to military service in Papua New Guinea (Papua) by the Indonesian government.
Apart from Obama's childhood in Indonesia, we also need to focus on the arrival of Uncle Sam’s number one citizen. Who is he now? What is his interest in Indonesia? And why did he come?
There is a great difference between the old Obama and the Obama of today. He was just a kid with a "runny nose" with no real influence or power. In fact, he could have not counted at all, being only an ordinary immigrant.
But now it is different. He is the 44th President of a superpower, the US. He is leading a country which has enormous power to rule the world. He is also the number one in the third most populous country in the world today.
In reality, his coming to Indonesia did not correspond to what a lot of Indonesian people had in mind. He actually did not "go home," although he said that Indonesia was his home.
If Indonesia was his home, why did he not visit the elementary school of Menteng? Why did he not stay in touch with childhood friends? Or why he did not meet up with his stepfather’s family which has stayed in Indonesia for very long?
In order to understand his behavior, we need to keep in mind that he came to Indonesia on behalf of the US Government and in order to promote and defend the national interests of the US He did not come for his own personal interests.
Just imagine, Obama was in Indonesia for only 18 hours, unlike his visit to New Delhi in India, which lasted nearly three days. Even in New Delhi, he visited several historical sites, including the Humayun's Tomb monument which, according to some sources, was the inspiration behind the creation and building of the Taj Mahal.
Maybe Indonesia is not so important in the eyes of the US government. Even a visit to the Kalibata National Heroes Cemetery, which was originally part of the White House’s program, was also canceled. His visit which was very short to begin with, was shortened even more.
If so, how important is Indonesia to the US government and to Obama? Obviously not that important. Why? There are three things in my opinion.
Firstly, it is because Indonesia's current position is simply that of a "consumer of policy" of the US and the world, not that of a policy maker. Indonesia does not have strong bargaining power at the international level. In short, Indonesia is considered as a faithful follower who will abide by all US interests as long as necessary.
Secondly, Indonesia does not have the capacity to help the US with their economic growth rate as they are still recovering from the banking crisis which struck three years ago. Today the US still needs to improve its economy, so that it can remain the most powerful in the world.
Thirdly, Indonesia's current position is only that of a spectator; it is not a player in the global arena. A spectator cannot manage the game, nor can it direct it, let alone participate in the game by making policies and deciding the rules; the players are the ones who decide the rules and who have broad competence and power.
From all the Asian countries, the US considers that only China is able to respond to its needs. So do not be surprised if China was the first country in Asia which Obama visited, after his election. Indonesia came as third, and not to mention that the visit was cancelled a few times.
If you are in a position of strength to bargain in the global arena, then the US and someone like Obama would certainly think twice before deciding to visit Indonesia within only a dozen hours. Surely they would turn it into three days, or even four days.
What should Indonesia do to be considered as an important actor by the US ? It is actually quite simple. It should focus on building the country's economic strength internally so as to enable it to mature. It should also enter into partnerships with socialist countries who generally do not only think of their interests. Indonesia should also develop and build its economic strength based on the rule by the people. This would be the first step to becoming a major player in the global arena.
Of course, the time he took to visit Indonesia does not tell you the importance of Indonesia to his eyes, but at least Obama and the US government are aware that a lot was done by the people and government of Indonesia, in order to welcome him during his 18-hour long visit.
As one listened to Obama’s speech on the campus of the University of Indonesia, one could of course conclude that the aim of his visit to Indonesia was to restore the image of the American society in the eyes of Muslims, and to convince them that the US has no intention of waging a war against Muslims. More precisely, it was more because of symbolic politics that Obama came to Indonesia.
What possible steps could be taken by SBY-Boediono so that Indonesia will be considered important by the US, at the next visit? We'll just wait and see.
*Oktovianus Pogau is a freelance journalist, he lives in Jakarta.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
By Jhon Pakage
Miron Wetipo, on Friday (03/12/2010), military officers were shot dead in Tahiti Hills, Tanah Hitam Abepura Jayapura Papua. These civilians mistaken for members of the Free Papua Movement.
since the early days of TNI officers found eight people in a meeting in the dark Honai Puskopad Komplek BTN. 172 Korem task force officers who were seconded to PWY Jayapura Police found machetes, arrows, ammunition at the site. Therefore, since the morning armed forces fire guard around the black soil.
As a precaution, a team of officers 751/BS Battalion saw five prisoners passed in the hills near the scene of the raid. "We've been screaming for them (prisoners) to stop, but desperate to escape. One person even tried to throw us with bottles of alcohol, so we're shooting," said a source officer at the scene.
As a result, one of five prisoners named, Miron Wetipo shot dead fallen. He pierced right in the back leher.sementara an inmate, Jack Mabel had been arrested. Three other prisoners managed to escape.
Now dozens of military and police officers on guard at the site and the bodies have been evacuated. In gathering the Head of Legal and Human Rights Regional Office Papua Nazaruddin Bunas, Assistant Regional Military Intelligence Colonel Cenderawasih XVII (Inf) Victor Tobing, 1701 Lieutenant Commander Kodim (inf) SIH AKBP Police Chief Imam Setiawan, and a number of officers.
Meanwhile in Wamena, two civilians were shot security forces on 1 December 2010.dua villagers Yugum namely Atili Wenda (35) and Melianus Tabuni (46), was shot after celebrating Papuan independence day and Christmas together on December 1, yesterday in Kampung Yugum, District Balogme, Jayayawijaya. Currently shooting victims still critical in hospital Bandua, District Bolakme, Jayawijaya.
assault and the shooting was a moment i Yugum village after residents celebrate Christmas together at a time of worship to celebrate the independence of Papua on 1 December. After worship citizen-oration delivered political speeches. TNI and the police allege is a place where persembuyian OPM group.
Head of Information Kodam XVII / Paradise, Lieutenant Colonel Czi. Harry Priyatna states, until now it did not know about the shooting case. "Sorry, until now we do not know. There are no reports to us about the shooting. We have not received the report, "said Priyatna.
I inform you directly from Jayapura West Papua that the people of West Papua is now on emergency under Indonesia military forces. Until this night TNI (the national army of Indonesia) and Police are still blockading every places in Abepura. I got accurate information from my people near Tanah Hitam that Indonesian military shot dead a farmer at Abe Gunung when this man was in garden. One man namely Miron Wetipo shot on 6.18 PM this afternoon and his body was in Bhayangkara Hospital.
Last night on 03.00 AM Indonesia military forces destroyed all of the West Papua people's houses near Abe gunung and arrested 2 man. One of them was a shepherd. From the morning till this night police and TNI arrested people without any reasons. According to the witness, they are looking for Dany Kogoya. He is an activist and also advocate for the OPM and TPN.
The photo above is the church building that was destroying by TNI and Police (Brimob).
According to Danny's neighborhood, TNI and Police intentionally put the gun and bullet near the Danny's house to publish out that it was Danny's gun and bullet so that they could carry out everything they want.
Here is the name that were arrested: 1. Ev. Yesmin Yikwa 2. Yupiter Tabuni 3. Tenius Yikwa 4. Manu Kogoya 5. Lambert Siep 6. Nalius Karoba 7. Yumbuk Yikwa 8. Yotan Kogoya
According to the chef of Police in Jayapura, the reason was to arrest the perpetrators of the shooting that happening some days ago. But I inform you that the Indonesian army and the police are carrying out shooting and arresting without any interrogation against them. They have intimidated, terror and tortured the civil of West Papua brutality. In fact, they are not the perpetrators. Police and TNI also were blockaded near the barracks of Uncen (Cenderawasih University).
Tonight, many shooting sounds are still continue.
By Oktovianus Pogau*
Second, the White House again cancelled a planned visit by Obama because he had to devote his full attention to resolving the crisis of the leaking British Petroleum (BP) oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
And, for the third time, the number one man in Uncle Sam's country is planning to make a visit to Indonesia. Among the issues which will be discussed, there will be the question of the military co-operation between the United States and the Indonesian military forces (Kopassus).
It is certain now that Obama is scheduled to visit Indonesia for two days and one night, namely from 9 to 10 November 2010.
Obama as a role model
If one looks at the two trips to Indonesia that Obama had to postpone, one sees that it was simply because he chose to solve problems inside his own country. He decided to prioritize the State agenda for the benefit of his own people.
In addition, Obama realizes fully that he became the number one man in a country like the United States because he was elected directly by the people; and not through money politics, money laundering and so forth, practices which are common in a “democratic” country such as Indonesia.
The following question then arises: is there any leader in this country who can follow the example and the behavior of Obama?
On Monday 4 October 2010, Wasior District in West Papua was smashed to smithereens after a flash flood hit the region. Six days later, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was scheduled to visit this area but he abruptly canceled his visit.
On Wednesday 13 October 2010 to be precise, President Yudhoyono visited Wasior in West Papua. But strangely enough, he visited the place and talked to the flood victims for only three hours. That was too short a time for such a visit
As for Vice-President Boediono, he visited Sleman District in the special region of Yogyakarta, where victims had fled the bursts of Mount Merapi. He spoke with the refugees for only five minutes and after that he continued with his journey, even though the refugees had been waiting for him since early morning.
And not to mention the members of the respected House of Representatives who are merrily preparing their trip to go abroad to engage in comparative studies. Would it not be more decent and noble for our honorable councilors to visit the tsunami victims in Mentawai?
We ask ourselves: is this model of government, and of representatives, one which cares for the people?
We would not be wrong if we were to expect that the visit of President Barack Obama to Indonesia will provide important lessons for the leaders of this country, including for the representatives of the people in Parliament. These lessons would enable them to pay attention to basic human rights and to the needs of the citizens of this country as a whole in the event of a disaster.
Obama and Papua
During his childhood years which Obama spent in Indonesia (from 1967 to 1971) Papua was a “volatile” area. It was not clear at the time whether Papua was going to become an independent country or whether it would be part of Indonesia. A number of military operations had been carried out in Papua, with the aim of seizing the territory from Dutch colonial rule.
But then the question arises: why did Obama not mention the matter of Papua and its people in the book which he wrote? Why did he not write about the easternmost province of Indonesia, where PT Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. is operating today, a multinational company owned by the United States?
Maybe he just did not know that the area was inhabited by people of the Melanesian race, a race which shows very similar traits to his own traits, and which most probably have the same origins. Or perhaps he was too small to think of such matters, let alone think about Papua which was very far away, an area out of reach of the mass media.
And this time around, during his State visit to Indonesia, will Obama talk about the humanitarian crisis in Papua?
Several international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International, often call on the international community for the resolution of the recurrent cases of Human Rights violation perpetrated by the Indonesian military in Papua.
A few weeks ago the Indonesian public and the rest of the world were shocked as they were shown a video depicting images of torture, which was circulated on the Internet on YouTube. The video was entitled: "Indonesian Military Torture and Ill-Treat Indigenous Papuans." This video showed how members of the Indonesian military brutally tortured two civilians who were suspected of being members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
The benefits of the visit
The visit of the president of a country with super power status will hopefully bring important benefits. The bilateral co-operation between Indonesia and the United States, a relation that has existed for a long time, can be increased further.
In addition, there are great expectations as to how the humanitarian crisis throughout Indonesia will be discussed, in particular the situation in the Moluccas and in Papua. During their meeting, both Obama and SBY need to be aware that many military officers who should be protecting and nurturing the community instead often commit inhumane acts.
As long as their rights are still being violated, peace will never become a reality and conflicts will continue to take place in Indonesia. Hopefully the meetings between Obama and SBY will have an encouraging outcome which will contribute to the enforcement of human rights throughout Indonesia, especially in Papua. Wellcome Obama!
* Oktovianus Pogau is an Alliance of Papuan Students activist.