A Note for Papua Politicians and Church Leaders
Papuan politicians today seem quite interested in selectively joining words and phrases of their preferences as their slogans to appease their electors during election campaigns. The most used terms are "Aman, Damai dan Sejahtera" which literally means "Secure, Peaceful and Prosperous", “Maju dan Sejahtera” (or modern and wealthy). Newly elected governor of Papua province, Mr. Lukas Enembe, for example chose the phrase, "Papua Mandiri dan Sejahera" (which means autonomous and prosperous Papua). Another example is Mr. Usman Wanimbo, the Regent of Tolikara Regency who chose his slogan: "Religious, Aman, Adil, Makmur dan Sejahtera". It is indeed more confusing, and yet he might have thought this slogan is more appeasing. Mr. Wanimbo's election slogan says that he wants to see Tolikara in five years as a "Religious, Just, Prosperous and Wealthy" regency.
Barnabas Suebu, in his last bid for governorship used the phrase, "New Papua" as a selling slogan. Most Papuans thought "New Papua" actually means "West Papua that is new politically, economically, and legally", which literally means Bas Suebu will lead West Papua towards a free and independent West Papua, outside of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).
It is easy for anyone to state such abovementioned statements as too ambitious, but that is not my personal concern. I am more concerned about first of all, why they choose certain terms/ phrases and then leave out others; and secondly, the order the words they have chosen to appease their electors during their political campaigns.
For one thing, I notice quite closely that first of all, most of the Papuan politicians tend to choose terms or phrases that are somewhat ambiguous for both Papuans and Indonesians to understand what they are talking about. Such a choice potentially allows both Papuans and Indonesians to miss-interpret or make their subjective interpretations based on their views and perspectives on themselves and their identity. Most Papuans will tend to interpret these slogans as a hope, a sign, a light into “a free and independent West Papua”. At the same time, the Indonesians understand that Papuan politicians are just playing in scenario that I call “Papuan-sentiment game”, a game that all Indonesians want to watch joyfully, as all colonial powers of the world normally do, again and again, all over the world. As long as these candidates are already in the pockets of the colonial rulers, they do not really care whatever terms or phrases the candidates are using. What matters is that nobody really understands anything anyway, therefore, whoever can use whatever terms s/he likes.
Besides selecting ambiguous terms, the candidates are, I want to say this honestly, also unaware, or perhaps mal-informed on what and why they choose these terms and why they order them in a way that they do. In other words, in Genongga's choice for example, "How can a government create religious and peaceful regency?" "How both of them lead to just and prosperous, and to wealthy society?" What do they mean?
There are only two words in Mr Enembe's slogan, "Autonomous and Prosperous". How does autonomy relate to prosperity? Does autonomy mean independence from Indonesia? How far can Mr. Enembe go to make Papua as autonomous as expected and as outlined in the Autonomy Bill No. 21/2001? Or is he allowed to make the province autonomous from the rest of Indonesia? How far is he allowed to do so? Will the autonomy of Papua province from the rest of Indonesia make Papuans become prosperous? Exactly what are the measures for prosperity for Pauan peoples under Indonesia's occupation? A broader question, "Can or will Papuans become autonomous and prosperous when they are still colonised by Indonesia?"
The third point I want to make is that as far as I am aware of, none of the candidates choose terms/ phrases that Papuans want to hear, or Papuans are fighting for, for example human rights, environmental destruction and marginalisation of the native Papuans either economically, politically or legally. None of the candidates seem interested in choosing the terms or phrases like “Papua yang Damai (Bebas dari Pertumpahan Darah) dan Rukun” (which means ‘A Peaceful Papua or Papua that is Free from Bloodbath and Harmonious); or “Papua yang Aman dan Damai” (meaning ‘Safe and Peaceful Papua’). Right now, at this point of time Papuans are not dreaming to becoming rich or living in harmony with other Indonesians. We are thinking more about the security of our own lives. Almost all Papuans, including all Regents (bupati) and governors in Western New Guinea, civilians, public servants and members of the Indonesian armed forces and police forces, we are all thinking about our own fate under the Indonesian occupation. What Papuans desperately need right now is someone, a leader, a politician, a campaigner that is capable of creating a day, a week, a month, a year or even just a second without bloodbath, without fear, without terror and intimidation, without worrying about what to eat tomorrow if military or police comes and attack, without thinking about what Indonesians will do next.
Papuans need a leader who can promise to guarantee not security, but safety of our lives, a promise to make some efforts to provide protection from being shot dead by the Indonesian police or army. Papuans need a leader who can promise to guarantee our trees are not cut down, our mountains are not turned into valleys anymore.
Of course, Mr. Enembe, one of my classmates at secondary and high schools will tell me, "Come on, Sem, you know what I mean. I mean when Papuans make decisions more autonomously, then we will decide more things that will benefit us, and that means, we will have more authorities to determine our fate. Therefore, we will be able to achieve prosperity in my first five-year leadership."
Of course, Mr. Genongga will tell me, "Hello, you know what I mean. Both of us were as Church Youth leaders at one point and we were leading the church very well.
I can easily jump from one to the other, of these slogans, but that is not my point. My point is "how do these politicians order their terms/ phrases"? Do they order them based on the order of importance, or based on the order of achievability, or on ambiguity? My language knowledge does not help me to see what they are doing. The most possible guess is that they are just using these terms/ phrases for the sake of using them, and as long as they get elected, then that is the end of the "Papua-sentiment game".
By the way, in reality, Papuans do not choose candidates based on their slogans, or political views and religious beliefs. Almost all Papuans will elect anybody from their own family, or clan or tribe, or cultural region.
Even though these terms are pretty much useless to comment on, because they are not properly selected, plus people do not chose them based on their choice of terms/ phrases they use, I am interested in putting some of these terms in order of importance, just to challenge the world's perspectives on peace, security, democracy, law and order, harmony, and other beautiful words.
For me personally, the most important aspect of human life is the truth and the second one is justice. After "truth" and "justice" prevail, then other aspects can follow. Honestly, both truth and justice are already enough for all human beings or even for life on Earth. Once human beings have truth, then there will be justice based on the truth. Once truth and justice prevail, then peace, harmony, law and order, and all the rests will follow suit.
The least important aspect (or terms/ phrases) that human being need in this life, according to me personally, is peace and security (law and order). Everything will be in order of the law; all will feel at peace only after the truth prevails, as the truth will bring about justice. Justice will create everybody to accept the reality and respect whatever that is available, thus create social order, peace and harmony among human beings.
One more point to note. I deliberately did not mention on the title of this note: “Do you know what terms/ phrases should be left out anywhere in human life?” I have to be honest to you, and you must also be honest to me, we are all human beings, we know what human beings need and what we do not need at all. Human beings do not need to be prosperous and wealthy. Prosperity and wealth should not become our goal in this life, we should run away from either becoming or aiming to becoming or gearing towards becoming wealth and prosperous, and even we should launch campaigns to stop from becoming prosperous or wealthy.
What human beings need is happiness and joy in life, not material wealth and financial prosperity.
Papuan politicians, and perhaps all politicians in the world, should preach the truth to their fellow human beings, not the illusions. Politicians should avoid appeasing other human beings by promising something that is not what human beings need, something that never been achieved, and can never be achieved, something that is still a dream. Politicians should preach the truth, that is to say, that the truth always prevails, however anyone tries to manipulate it, whenever, by whoever it is, and however it is, the truth always prevails. That is why, politicians should be talking about the truth.
Then justice will come about when there is truth. Then all other "good sounding words", "politically correct terminologies" will follow, yes they will only follow after the most important and primary need of human beings, the truth prevails. "Who is available to talk about and show the truth on and about West Papua and her peoples?"
- Papua-Indonesia nationalists (such as Dr. Jhon Tabo, Lukas Enembe and Usman Genongga)?
- Papua Nationalists (like Benny Wenda, Otto Ondawame, Rex Rumakiek and Powes Parkop)?
- Liberals (Like Barack Obama, SBY and David Cameron)?
- Socialists (Like Bill Clinton, Tonny Blair and the Late Abdurahman Wahid)?
- Priests, Ulamahs and Pastors?
- Philosophers, academics and theologians?
The truth is that if
- Indonesia has a beginning, that it definitely has an end;
- If the USA has a beginning, then it will have an end;
- If the United Kingdom of Great Britain has a beginning, then it will definitely have an end;
- All and everything as a beginning and an end, including the suffering of Papuan peoples, as well as the occupation of Indonesia on Papua soil.
What never changes, can never change, and will never change is the "truth" itself. The "truth" is that everything in this world as a beginning and as an end, and so is the kingdom of the Java-nesia called NKRI (the Unitary Republic of Indonesia). That is the truth.