“The Problem of Papua awaits God’s decision” - Djoko Suyanto
“The Problem of Papua awaits God’s decision” - Djoko Suyanto
by Selpius Bobii | Abepura Prison
9 August 2013
“The problem of Papua awaits God’s decision” were the words of the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Legal, Political and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto. Suyanto’s statement was responded to by Rusdi Mathari in his recent article when he raised the questions ‘”What is wrong with a nation desiring to be independent? Or must the matter of Papua be surrendered to God as was stated by Coordinating Minister Suyanto? Whilst meanwhile as they wait for that answer Papuans are allowed by Indonesia to keep living but in this most tragic way?”(As translated). A similar response was published in Islam Times with the comment “So The Coordinating Minister for Legal, Political and Security Affairs Djoko says ‘Let’s allow Papuans to continue to live tragically and later a miracle of God will set them free’ “(3)(as translated)
When we look closely it’s clear Djoko Suyanto’s statement is full of implicit meaning and unanswered questions. Behind his words are matters domestic and international for Indonesia and implicit are meanings of both politics and faith.
From a political perspective there are recognised three possible analyses that could explain the implied meaning behind the Coordinating Minister Suyanto’s words. The first possibility is that Suyanto’s words could have been referring to the unwillingness of the Republic of Indonesia (RI) to discuss at length the various problems regarding Papua with a view to finding a suitable solution. Not only has the world to date seen an unwillingness of RI to enter dialogue but in fact RI has clearly made continual efforts to prolong the period until that time when the problems of Papua will finally be discussed. For instance the unilateral application of Special Autonomy regulations; RI’s present efforts to revise the earlier Special Autonomy arrangements so as to create governance regulations for Papua (known as Special Autonomy Plus); the Unit for Acceleration of Papuan and West Papuan Development Strategy (UP4B); the creation of new provinces, kabupaten, cities, districts and villages in the land of Papua; and so the list goes on. These are all efforts by RI to prolong the time until the issue of Papua is dealt with at length and a solution found.
Although there has been pressure on RI to date from a number of countries in the world together with the international community in solidarity with Papua to enter into dignified dialogue with Papua to find a solution, the State of Indonesia nevertheless has to date been unwilling to do so. In fact RI has actually been working to the opposite end and taking unilateral steps - such as the recent revision of the Special Autonomy arrangements to create regulations for the Governance of Papua – which rather than bringing an end to the problems will for certain create new problems for the nation of Papua.
The second possibility of what was behind Suyanto’s words is an implied reference to an inability of the State of Indonesia to handle and bring an end to the Papuan problem. Clearly RI has to date been avoiding facing up to those pits which have been and are still being dug by RI and its allies, by applying a number of security, legal and socio-cultural and welfare illusion approaches to try and hide the problems. However instead of ‘smoothing-over’ the problems, RI’s measures have had the effect of instead widening and deepening that first and primary pit created by the annexation of Papua into RI and furthermore creating new pits. New massive problems that must one day be overcome.
The lack of ability of RI to bring an end to the problems in Papua is not because RI is incapable in terms of political diplomacy; and neither is it because RI does not possess the means in terms of the financial resources or government systems required (domestic and international) to bring the Papuan problems to an end. Rather Indonesia’s inability lies firstly in its inability to face up to and move through the very pits that it has dug and continues to dig; and secondly in its inability to face up to the non-violent Struggle of the nation of Papua. A struggle that has been committed to non-violence since the National Papuan Congress in the year 2000. Every one of RI’s approaches to ‘smooth-over’ the massive pits has failed to date and will continue to fail as the reality is that RI can never ‘Indonesianize’ the indigenous peoples of Papua. So the massive open pits remain and meanwhile despite severe repression by the Indonesian armed forces in Papua, the Struggle for the liberation of the nation of Papua continues to grow and become stronger. To that point that Papuan Freedom political aspirations are now being echoed in a number of countries around the world.
The third possible explanation of what was behind Suyanto’s words is that RI is intentionally allowing the problems to continue in Papua without looking for a solution. That RI is intentionally not organising dialogue between the two nations as Indonesia actually doesn’t want the problems in Papua to come to an end. For in allowing the problems to continue indefinitely the people or Papua are in the meanwhile being butchered, increasingly marginalised, discriminated against and becoming more of a minority, together amounting to a slow moving but certain genocide against the ethnic West Papuan race.
A wise person once said ‘If a problem is created by humans then humans also have the means to bring an end to that problem’. RI has been audacious enough to with full awareness dig massive pits so now RI must look for solutions that uphold the dignity of all that will close those pits. To do so RI is going to need to have the courage to involve those from the Papuan Freedom Struggle. As there was international involvement in the annexation of Papua into RI so accordingly RI is also going to have to find the courage to also involve the international community in solving the problem and in particular the Netherlands, USA and United Nations (UN. As they were the international parties that together with RI that dug the first and primary pit with the annexation of the nation of Papua into RI culminating in the morally and legally flawed Act of Free Choice in 1969. If the various players within the Papuan Struggle and those relevant international parties (specifically the Netherlands, USA and UN) are not involved in the handling of the problems in Papua, then the reality is that those pits both dug in the past and still being dug in the present, will not be closed and rather the number of new pits will continue to increase.
So often we hear question raised ‘The problems of Aceh were able to be overcome through negotiations between RI and the Free Ach Movement (GAM) in Helsinki by entering into an agreement together, so why can’t the problem of Papua be resolved through dialogue between Papua and RI facilitated by a neutral third party?’ Indeed the question needs to be asked what are the real reasons it so difficult for Indonesia to agree to enter into dialogue with the nation of Papua and this points to some aspects of what lies behind Suyanto’s statement. In summary Papuan problem is so very different in essence from that which existed in Aceh. The problem in Aceh was much less complicated and therefore able to be brought to an end so much more easily than that of Papua. As International parties have been and continue to be involved in creating the problems in Papua, so the problems will not be solved without RI involving the UN and other international parties in finding the solution.
From a political perspective Suyanto’s statement is clear evidence that RI is not yet ready and willing to act to bring an end to the problems in Papua. Due partly to RI not finding it easy to find a way through the matter of the massive problems that it once created and has continued to create, due also to RI not being capable of thoroughly dealing with the problems in Papua. Whether Indonesia will find the courage or be given the ability by other parties to be able to deal thoroughly with the problems in West Papua is yet to be seen and remains an unanswered question.
A FAITH PERSPECTIVE
Indeed Suyanto’s statement remains something of a puzzle with many questions about his words unanswered. Was he speaking as someone wrestling with the matter of Papua? Or was he but acting as the mouthpiece to express the struggles of a particular party with the matter of Papua? Only Suyanto and God will ever know the answer to that. Behind his statement however it does seem to the Writer as if the Minister received some type of revelation from God that the problem of Papua is a matter that is God’s business and will be dealt with by an act of God.
We have looked earlier at the possibility that behind Suyanto’s words is an implicit admittance that RI is not capable of dealing thoroughly with the problems in Papua so that RI has surrendered the problem to God. That RI is waiting on God to arrive at a decision regarding the problem of Papua and that at some point God will take action to deal with the problems in Papua. If this was Suyanto’s implicit meaning it indeed amounts to a statement that challenges God. That ‘puts God to the test’ as to whether God will in fact act to deal with the problems of West Papua or not.
Indeed that is true the period ahead for the nation of Papua is not something that lies within the palm of any nation on this earth. The period ahead lies only in the palm of God. According to Dr Benny Giay the ‘Struggle of the nation of Papua moves from episode to episode’ and for certain will continue until that episode which will be determined according to not the plan of humans, but rather the plan of God.
When Reverend Ishak Samuel Kejne on 25 October 1925 (in a place called Automeri in Papua) put in place a symbol of civilization of the nation of Papua, he prophesied:
“On this rock I place the civilisation of West Papua. Even though other nations of the world will come to develop this place with wisdom yet they will not be able to develop this country. The moment will come when this nation will rise up to develop itself” (as translated).
Kejne’s words are not just rhetoric or some merely fictitious statement or conclusion of scientific research or similar. Rather his words are a prophecy, a revelation from God that came about as a result of Reverend Kejne’s lifetime of servant hood in Papua. This prophecy is well known in Papa and has given inspiration and hope to every Papuan to keep struggling towards the fulfilment of that revelation. In the conviction that in God’s time that prophecy will be incredibly fulfilled. A time that will be determined by God and not by humans. So many prophecies have been given by God about Papua through those who serve the people, none of which are mere hallucinations or daydreams. They are revelations by God to those who have dedicated their lives to serve God and the people and in God’s time they will be fulfilled.
Djoko Suyanto as the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Legal, Political and Security Affairs through his statement the Writer perceives was both challenging and testing God in relation to God’s actions to save God’s creation. At the same time however the Writer perceives there was also a sense of RI’s submission to God to deal with the problem of Papua because RI is simply not capable of bringing the problems to an end. This surrendering of the problem to God is about faith.
The Writer also is convinced that God in time will act to rescue the sovereignty of God’s people in Papua who are now suffering under the colonial domination of RI. That God will bring that about by working through those who have given up their lives to serve the people together with the entire community in Papua and those who support Papua internationally, whether privately, through an organisation, a government body or the U.N.
It’s clearly recognisable in this life that God needs human beings to work together with God to bring about the realisation of God’s Will in this world. Just as God sent out the prophet Moses from the land of Egypt to save the nation of Israel from the colonialism of Pharaoh and his followers; just as God raised up Joshua to lead the people of Israel into the land of Canaan. God also needs human beings in this era to be sent out in the same way in order to bring about the liberation of the nation of Papua from the many present forms of tyranny of oppression. Just as the Hand of God was upon the prophet Moses and Joshua, so the Hand of God will accompany all those who dedicate themselves in response to the call of God to bring about the liberation of the nation of Papua that is presently enchained by the colonial domination by RI and its allies. Miracles of God always accompany the sacrifice of self in service in response to the call of God, just as it did with the miracles from God that accompanied the prophet Moses and Joshua.
God will call who God wills to call and within that call God does not distinguish between persons based on their background, tribe, race, grouping, gender, their work, age or religion. Rather God needs a readiness and willingness of heart from humans who have a desire to partner with God to bring about God’s Will.
God is always calling people and waiting on the readiness and decision of people so as to act to liberate God’s people from the chains of colonialism wherever that may be. In the case of Papua internally, in the same way God is forever calling people and waiting on the readiness of every individual. Waiting on Papuans to develop a national unity between Papuans and the restoration of selves so we can step forward together heading towards the victory of the faith revolution. For Indonesia, God is also always calling and waiting on Indonesia as a nation to open its heart and to be ready and willing to deal with the West Papua issue. God is also always calling and waiting on the willingness of heart from the international community whether as individuals, organisations, government bodies or U.N, to hear and act in response to the cries for freedom from the West Papuan nation.
God has heard the screams of pain and the cries for freedom of the nation of Papua from the oppression the people are suffering and God has and continues to call human beings whoever they may be to work to set free God’s people in the land of Papua. Those who have experienced themselves, or who have seen or heard or perhaps read of the suffering and cries of God’s people in the land of Papua. Whoever hears the voice of God and opens their heart, God will use them in bringing about the liberation of God’s people in the land of Papua, whether directly or in terms of direct or indirect support.
Djoko Suyanto’s statement that “The problem of Papua awaits God’s decision” implies not only a challenge to God but also presents a challenge to the wider community of persons who value truth, justice, honesty, human rights, democracy and peace. A challenge to have an attitude that will enable the taking of real steps that will bring an end to the problems in Papua.
Suyanto’s words as the Indonesia Coordinating Minister for Legal, Political and Security Affairs the Writer believes also constitutes a cry for help to the international community including the PBB, to implement a humanitarian / security intervention within the framework of dealing with the problems in Papua. As it has come to the point that the State of Indonesia is no longer capable of handling and bringing an end to the problems in Papua. The Writer believes that implicit in Suyanto’s words is that Indonesia has surrendered the matter to God with the words “The problem of Papua awaits God’s decision.”
To those who care, to those who have a good heart, to those who hold in high esteem the above values; and to those who feel the effects of colonial domination by RI wherever you may be, it is now the moment to take on an attitude and to unite firmly together so we can act together with peace to rescue the nation of Papua.
‘The savings of human souls from the chains of the tyranny of oppression is the highest of laws.’