11. THE UNKNOWN WAR IN WEST PAPUA
the guise of the "redistribution of overpopulation" and with the support
of loans from the World Bank, the Indonesian government has, without drawing international
media attention, invaded and occupied several Fourth World nations including East
Timor (one of the top ten "censored" stories in both 1979 and 1985)
and West Papua.
These countries are then resettled with people loyal to
the central Indonesian government. Indonesia's 1984-1989 five year plan is to
move five million people from Java, Madura, and Bali to areas which resist Java's
imposed sovereignty: Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, South Moluccas, East Timor,
and West Papua. Over the next 20 years, some 65,000,000 more people are to be
moved to Javanize Fourth World territories claimed by Indonesia.
this in West Papua, the Indonesian government is faced with the task of destroying
the OPM (Free Papua Movement). The OPM has been fighting the occupying Indonesia
forces in a classic David vs. Goliath battle since 1965. As usual, it is a war
where the civilians suffer the most; there are some 12,000 Papuan refugees living
in camps on the Irian Jaya-Papua New Guinea border.
The basic strategy of
the Indonesian military is to attack small village communities supposedly sympathetic
to the guerrillas with ground attack jets and strafing helicopters. They then
land ground troops who kill any survivors, destroy the houses, kill the livestock,
and devastate the gardens and trees.
West Papua is one of the main areas
targeted for annexation and incorporation by the military-backed Indonesian transmigration
program. Its abundant forest and mineral resources and offshore oil potential
make it even more attractive for development by invasion.
West Papua, like
East Timor, has been living under Indonesian military occupation for many years.
Worldwide ignorance about the events that led to its colonization, the nature
of the repression, and the lack of information about the resistance has made it
possible for Indonesia to proceed with the destruction of Papuan life largely
unhampered by international concern and condemnation.
By failing to report
what is happening in West Papua, East Timor and elsewhere in the region, the media
quietly lend their support to the crimes by the Indonesian military there.
SUN NEWS, November 1986, "The War. Nobody's Told You About," by Malcolm
Gault-Williams, pp 5 & 8; THE UTNE READER, Jan/Feb 1987, "Repression
and Eco-devastation In Indonesia," by Charlie Sugnet, pp 9-10; SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL
U.S.A., January 1986, "Papua Refugees Forcibly Repatriated."