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Indonesia in Papua’s Perspective


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Fadhal Alhamid, a Papuan youth who became the first speaker on National Youth Dialogue entitled “Questioning the Cultural Identity of Indonesia”, on May 20, 2010, in Jakarta, said that the Dutch did not make the raid, or the practice of colonialism in Papua. Instead of damaging or killing, the Netherlands provided education as well as development for the people of Papua.

Sometimes, said Fadhal in the commemoration of National Awakening Day, when people are disappointed with the Indonesian government, people are reminded by the Dutch times which considered good, including education matter.

“If you teach reading: ‘This is fire, the fire lit, the pig runaway’. It is something which is applied in reality. Now, ‘This is Mr. Madi, Mr. Madi goes to rice field’. Who’s Mr. Madi? Which rice field? Papuans don’t know about rice field. Papuans know sago forest.”

Apart from different history, culture, and race than most of other area in Indonesia, Fadhal hopes Papua can be accepted into the diversity of Indonesia. Papua should have been given the space to participate in developing and coloring the identity of Indonesia.

Fadhal Alhamid

However, the problem is not easy. In various advertisements in mass media nowadays, so-called beautiful people are straight-haired and white. And that criteria makes the Papuans, in their own land, are difficult to fill this requirement in the market, such as banks or supermarkets.

Even when there is a beauty pageant which is held by a group of Dharma Wanita (woman organization) in Papua, the Dani (ethnic) female are persuaded to transform as Javanese ones – by putting her chignon and kebaya. Whereas, it is not the perspective of beauty for Dani people.

“A beautiful woman is one whose hands are strong. Strong head to carry noken. She should be smart in taking care of the garden, children, and pigs. That is Papuan woman, the beautiful woman of Dani.”

Fadhal also noted the problem of militarism in Papua. According to him, the government and military of Indonesia feel more disturbed when they see ‘the Morning Star flag’ is arose rather than see schools and health services are not functioned. Nationalism of Indonesian only presents in the form of military posts and the Red-White flag.

If anyone raised ‘the Morning Star flag’, the government and military of Indonesia never ask why the flag was raised. They will immediately take rough action: arrest, judge, imprisoned.

“Whereas, when somebody raised that flag, it could be because their children didn’t pass the civil service test, or their salary hasn’t been paid for several months, or because their forests were taken,” said Fadhal.


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