Rape of a Nation

In an essay in The Ecologist, Paul Kingsnorth describes
the

Indonesian military’s violent campaign in West Papua
, where
citizens are clamoring for independence. The Indonesian government,
a staunch US ally, has succeeded in keeping journalists and aid
workers out of the country, and any significant mention of the
atrocities — ‘burning villages, attacking civilians, raping women
and killing men’ — remains absent from the mainstream media.

‘For the Papuan people, this is par for the course,’ Kingsnorth
writes. ‘They have got used to the fact that the ongoing genocide
of their people and their nation is routinely ignored by the rest
of the world. For the soldiers and politicians of Indonesia, the
nation that has occupied West Papua, against the will of its
people, for almost half a century, this was just the way they like
it.’

Kingsnorth suggests that the Indonesian military’s attempts to
‘Indonesianise’ the diverse indigenous peoples of West Papua can be
explained in a word: ‘resources.’ This country of over one million
is ‘a literal goldmine,’ and the desire of its inhabitants to
achieve true independence would mean a smaller piece of the pie for
the Indonesian government.

Despite the increasingly strong violence against them, Papuan
pro-independence groups continue to attract followers; new groups
have sprung up in Australia and Britain as well. ‘Slowly but
surely, the Papuans are bringing their case before the world,’
Kingsnorth observes. ‘What they need now is for as many voices to
join them as possible.’
Danielle Maestretti

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Rape of a Nation

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