Colonialism Alive and Well, Better Say as Bad as Ever! Part 3: Proxy Colonialism in West Papua

Veröffentlicht: Dezember 5, 2017 in Politik, Wissenschaft
Schlagwörter:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Colonialism Alive! Proxy Colonialism

On this blog I wrote quite a lot about the Proxy Colonialism the US henchmen Kagame of Rwanda and Museveni of Uganda are exercising_on_the_DR_Congo leading to the death of eight to ten million people in that country during the last two decades. All this done for Western industrial greed for resources like Coltan.

Many reports are also to be found about the US Empire and Saudi backed proxy mercenaries terrorizing Syria. Saudi Arabia´s colonial proxy war on Yemen, waged on behalf not only their own interest but on behalf of Israel and the US is also getting into the focus. But there´s another dramatic case of Proxy Colonialism on the other side of the Globe.

West Papua and Indonesian Proxy Colonialism

When Indonesia (to that day “Dutch East India”) gained independence (declared August 1945, formally recognized December 1949 by the Dutch, with exception of Netherlands_New_Guinea (the Western part of New_Guinea) under Ahmed Sukarno it tried to follow a path of independence in the Non-Aligned_Movement. But the military was very strong and deeply linked to the US. Sukarno who had tried to balance the military and on the other side the strong communist party failed in the end. In a terrible conflict (500,000 people, many landless sympathizers of the KP, butchered) the balance crumbled in a military take over.

The Indonesian Regime, a Brutal Henchman of globalized Capitalism

General Suharto was the man of the US and seized power (officially in 1968) over the archipelago with so many different ethnicities. He and his military clique turned the many islands into a plunder ground for the Westerners and Japanese interests using Javanese dominance for their purposes, especially to eastern regions, i. e. the western part of New_Guinea.

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New Africa“: New Guinea

When the Spaniards and other Westerners came across the island, its dark skinned inhabitants with frizzy hair reminded them of Africa´s Guinea Coast (which was already made the hunting ground for slavers) which inspired them to name the island New Guinea. Going further east they met similar people up to the Fiji islands and in course of time named them Melanesians because of their dark pigmentation.

In New Guinea the natural surrounding with high mountains and deep valleys led to an enormous linguistic splitting and the number of languages outnumbers that of continents. Certain forms of conflict practices (though culturally limited in a refined way) as well as other cultural practices strengthened western prejudices. When the Dutch reigned over “Dutch East India” including the western part of New Guinea, they infected many of the other colonized with these prejudices.

For a broader perspective on the situation of the black inhabitants of South East Asia and the Western Pacific see an article from 2011:

https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/the-forgotten-struggle-of-west-papua-and-neocolonialism/

Intrusion: „Divide and Rule“

Throughout Colonialism the Colonizers liked to play one group against the other. If force „was needed“ to keep people in one place down people were recruited as colonial soldiers from other ethnicities. This is also to be found with the „use“ of the Nepalese_Gurkha by the British in South East Asia. And these methods „linked“ even Continents (as for work force this was common for example with Indian contract laborers to the Caribbean and to Fiji). Between 1831 and 1872 the Dutch enlisted about 3000 people from West Africa, mainly from Ashanti and other Akan peoples, into their colonial army in Dutch East India. They were called Belanda_Hitam, black_Dutchmen. The offspring_of_those_Indo-Africans are still to be found in the Netherlands, Surinam as well as in Indonesia. By and large this history might not have contributed to Indonesians liking for black people.

The Creepy Beginning of a Tragedy

When Indonesia gained independence soon after WW II formally in 1949 Western New Guinea as said before remained under Dutch control to the distaste of the Indonesian ruling Elite. The issue of borders in connection with independence raised some complicated questions in general, which were even more felt in Africa. A basic contradiction was lying in colonial borders which separated ethnicities and lumped others – having historical conflicts or having very different types of society – together. General line among the anti colonial movements was to avoid endless border issues. But on the other side in Africa the large entity of former French West Africa was also split into a number of countries.

The aspirations of the Javanese dominated Indonesian political class (under pressure of growing overpopulation in the archipelago´s West) were confronted with a special situation. Firstly West New Guinea had been longer under Dutch control and was de facto already no more “part of Indonesia”, secondly, but more important, it was a very different world. It was not only inhabited by very different people but by people on whom especially the majority and decisive group, the Javanese, looked upon in despise with that racist arrogance based on the perceived „backwardness“ of the Papua and which was strengthened by North European anti black racism. And the social structure would have left the Papua almost defenseless to economic and social exploitation.

Despite different plans by the Netherlands

On basis of this situation – and possibly based on own interest to establish neo-colonial relations – the Dutch government made plans to prepare West Papuans for Independence to be gained in 1970. Such considerations didn´t bother neither the Indonesian government nor the UN dominated by the US government. Indonesia tried to solve their “problem” by military force. Under the strong influence of the US the UN made the Netherlands in the New_York_Agreement complying to hand over administration to Indonesia (which they did in March 1963). Especially the US aim to keep Indonesia close to the West played its part. For this the US had special plans, fittingly analyzed by Noam Chomsky in an interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWlYorZWvWw). But the treaty also included a procedure after a while in which the Papua should decide whether they wanted to stay with Indonesia. The Agreement included this:

a) Musyawarah (consultative councils) would be instructed on procedures to assess the will of the population

b) The actual date of the act would be completed before 1969

c) The question in the act would allow the inhabitants to decide whether to stay or to separate from Indonesia

d) ALL adults would be allowed to participate in the act of free choice

But what became out of it?

The Fake “Decision”, the “Act of Free Choice”

The “Act_of_Free_Choice” was then in 1969 nothing but a typical colonial theatre. The Indonesia military had selected 1025 men to vote in an event in July to August 1969 about the future of their people, which was being performed by “hand rising” (surrounded by barbed wire and armed forces nearby), blocking any public discussion on the matter. It doesn´t need much fantasy to imagine which mixture of bribing_and_terrorizing a military organization has to apply to reach_the_desired_aim. Nevertheless the UN manifested this fake procedure in the resolution 2504 (XXIV) without any qualification whether it fulfilled the demands described in United Nations General Assembly resolutions 1514 and 1541 (XV) respectively. To call this theatre play an act of „self determination“ requires a high grade of cynicism.

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Another Intrusion: The Eastern Part of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea

The eastern part of New Guinea was up to World War I divided between the Germans in the North East and the British in the South East. The German part was handed to the Australians as a “protectorate” afterwards. Both parts got independence as Papua New Guinea in 1975 including the “Bismarck Archipelago and the Northern Solomon Islands (http://tinyurl.com/chrqzkg). Rich resources (oil, copper, gold) as well as well as agricultural products (coffee, cocoa, oil palm and tea) inspire Western greed and expose the country to all well known evils of neocolonialism as the western part of the island does. All 7.5 to 8 million inhabitants of today will have to defend their place against this growing greed.

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Pending Genocide: Ongoing Resistance and ongoing Massacres in West Papua

By and large the resistance and armed struggle began as campaigns by tribal warriors, who just wanted to get rid of the strange occupants. The United_Liberation_Movement_for_West_Papua and the Free_Papua_Movement were formed. By the time it got more organized, gained more support from exile Papua and sympathizers in Papua New Guinea (the eastern half of the island) and other Melanesians.

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Infuriating is the plunder of the mineral_resources by international companies, by which Indonesia tries to pay their own debts to world finance (a general problem of “Third World countries). The Grasberg_mine run by Freeport McRohan is the world´s largest Gold mine and second largest Copper mine. Now Freeport_has_given_51%_control_to_Indonesia, for which it will be allowed to keep the mine till 2041. The destruction and pollution of the natural surrounding and the expelling of people, so that Westerners can get “their” oil, gold and other precious resources “which by incident got under the rain wood of those savages”, fuels the resistance of the people. And the devastation is also going on for plunder of precious woods and else.

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On one hand there is a real ecocide_going_on_in_the_heartlands of West Papua. Even worse are the direct sufferings of the population. The brutality of the Indonesian army is well known. It´s reported that four_out_of_ten_West_Papuan_women have been subjected to Indonesian state violence.

The land as such is wanted by Indonesians. The Indonesian immigrants are about to outnumber the Papuans. A Transmigration_program is existing. In fact there is evidence for genocidal_intention on the side of Indonesia. In an article in „The_Tyee“ from November 2006 one can read: „It has been estimated that 100,000 Papuans (about 10 percent of the population) were killed by the Indonesian military after they took control of West Papua. In a recent Associated Press article, human rights monitors put the death toll at approximately 200,000.“ The Papuan leader Benny_Wenda is even claiming that half a million Papuans might have fallen victim_to_the_Indonesian_state_sanctioned_murder.

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An important role might play AIDS. In the same article on can also read: „A 2005 report, published by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, alleged that the military has been involved in supplying HIV/AIDS-infected prostitutes to the region. Currently, the province of Papua has the second highest number of AIDS sufferers in Indonesia, after Jakarta. With the number AIDS cases doubling in just four years, and the systematic discrimination against Papuans in government-sponsored AIDS education programs, many villages have virtually been wiped out.

In a word: The indigenous people of West Papua are in a desperate situation!

And a Third Intrusion: Brothers in suffering

How little the Indonesian political attitude towards West Papua has to do with the fact that West Papua was once “united” with Indonesia in “Dutch East India” showed the treatment of the former Portuguese colony East_Timor which got near independence in the downfall of Portugal´s Salazar regime (to which the struggle of the people in its African colonies contributed enormously). With the support of the US Indonesia annexed East Timor and massacred many thousands of the inhabitants. In all this resulted in more than 100,000 deaths as the consequence of massacres but also of hunger and illness. In the end the enormous brutality raised international protest which contributed together with the fierce resistance (by Falintil, the armed force of the Fretelin) to East Timor´s independence in September 2002. This development is in a way a torch and hope for the suffering Papua.

Hopes, Dangers and Perspectives

As said before the example of East Timor might be encouraging, but notwithstanding the fact that East Timor has besides its Sandal wood off shore oil resources about which a partial sea boundary solution with Australia is reached, West Papua is a much more tempting prey for imperialism. If West Papua would hopefully gain independence international corporations are more on the uncertain side because the resistance as such is a lot motivated by the extraction of the resources. In such a case the empire (US) might even prefer unification with Papua New Guinea since neocolonial ties there are already established. The present turmoil in the eastern half of the island is largely the result of that. As long as the US capitalists are relatively sure of Indonesia they´ll do a lot to enable Indonesia to uphold its grip. A changing geostrategic situation in East and South East Asia could change things, especially if the upcoming currency treaty between China and Japan might do its part, since Japan is joining in the exploitation of Indonesia at the US´s will. On the other side do the covered plans to expand NATO to Australia and New Zealand not provide much good for the region since it´s the clear symbol for the will to perpetuate “white man´s world rule” forever.

The people of Papua must know that even Europe being still in the status of a vassal to the US Empire would be a very shaky ally in their aspirations. Public pressure and a strong support by leftist parties as well as solidarity from “Third World Countries”, especially from African countries, would be a desired help, but are still lacking. Understanding in Melanesia is growing, Vanuatu gave a good signal. It will be a hard and protracted long struggle only to be won with the patience the freedom hero Filep_Karma has shown, who was thrown into prison by Indonesians after having raised West Papua´s flag in 2004.

And one should be skeptical of certain allies. Especially infiltrated NGOs and Christian groups could be eager to keep the resistance groups close to the Western plunder by globalist neoliberal capitalism. Thus the resistance groups should be on the watch.

Fake Friends and Allies

Oppression means also to keep the oppressed away from information. Ignorance as the result of oppression has for example driven Jamaicans to a mystification of the Haile Selassi regime of those days and led to the Rastafari movement (luckily with little real Western influence). Western Christian infiltration of the South Sudanese struggle made South_Sudan a toy in the hands of the West.

There´s also a dangerous confusion among sections of West Papua’s resistance about Israel, systematically nourished also by (US) Evangelicals, with close connection to Zionism. This phenomenon is also linked to the fact that Islam is Indonesia´s most prominent religion. Superficial approach and the likewise dangerous and superficial idea “my enemy´s enemy is my friend” contributed to this. It is understandable that Papuans might be annoyed about Indonesian_hospital_for_Palestine whereas the health situation in their own country is grossly neglected to formulate it mildly, but things should be seen in context. The Papuan sympathizers for Israel do not know that there are informal_relations_between_Indonesia_and_Israel even on the “security level”. Likewise the sympathizers are for example unaware that not the whole Arabic world at all turns a blind eye to West Papua´s sufferings. Arabic Aljazeera for example is quite aware of West Papua. It did not only report about Indonesian_massacres_inside_the_country but pays lot of attention to the ongoing plunder_of_West_Papua as well as to the background_and_resistance with sympathy. Also the Indonesian_misuse_of_interpol in the case of Benny Wenda is well documented by Al Jazeera. In deed there are great similarities in the situation of West_Papua_and_Palestine and Papuans would be well advised not to run into illusions about Israel.

Israel as Protector for Black People?

Henry Myrttinen has researched_the_strange_sympathies for Israel in an extended way. He reports that a student activist in Manokwari stated:

I really don’t understand this whole Israel thing. I mean, look at it: it’s the Israelis that are taking away Palestinian land and the Israeli army is acting just like the TNI [Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Indonesian Armed Forces] is acting here, breaking human rights, shooting people … If we’re to identify with someone’s struggle, then it’s the Palestinians.

Even leaving aside Israel´s attitude to the Palestinians one should look at Israel´s political attitude towards Black people. The Falasha, Ethiopian_Jews, the “Black brothers in faith” were seduced to emigrate to Israel (and welcome as “gun fodder”), they given birth-control_without_their_consent. Anti-African_racism is widespread in Israel and is “white_supremacy” in practice. There are many records proving the open racism of open_racism_of_Netanyahu_and_many_officials in Israel! Disgusting incidents are reported about racist_excesses_in_Israel. And it seems there are infections of more racism in the US by Israel-trained_police. Any West Papuan thinking of refuge in Israel should think twice!

An Outlook

Unfortunately the Indonesian_left is not really to be seen and the political spectrum rather_unbalanced. In face of widespread growing_ethnic_and_religious_tensions in Indonesia this is highly regrettable. But on the long run the hidden Indonesian left and the formations of resistance against Javanese dominance in Indonesia should not generally be discarded as potential allies. Based on the insight that Indonesia is at least partly acting as a proxy colonial power in favor of Western resource greed there could hardly be trust in Western countries as allies. But important are anti-imperialist and anti-racist movements in the West. More attention by African and Carribbean societies would be desirable. In fact many Africans and African Americans are not even aware that they have sisters and brothers in suffering on the other side of the globe.

A clear and well based anti-imperialist ideological orientation is essential to make allies. Fake allies (like Israel) should be avoided, the more since that makes broader alliances more difficult. As dramatic as the situation is, it appears there is a long struggle ahead. And to be very clear about it: In the US Neocon_Think_Tanks there are plans even for Bio_Warfare against the Southern Hemisphere, East Asia and all non-Western countries!

As long as we don´t understand the overall concept of neoliberal globalized Capitalism with its extermination concepts – which are also at work in West Papua – we´ll not be able to build a broad front to end it!

Papua Merdeka!

Andreas Schlüter

https://www.youtube.com/user/westpapuaunite

https://www.bennywenda.org/

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Kommentare
  1. […] Something into which the US & the West are deeply involved! “Colonialism Alive and Well, Better Say as Bad as Ever! Part 3: Proxy Colonialism in West Papua”: https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2017/12/05/colonialism-alive-and-well-better-say-as-bad-as-ever-part-… […]

  2. […] Colonialism Alive and Well, Better Say as Bad as Ever! Part 3: Proxy Colonialism in West Papua […]

  3. The New Zealand Green Party is closely following events in West Papua: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11950488

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