Forgotten Bird of Paradise

The freedom struggle in the “Black Pacific” involves many peoples throughout the region. In an earlier post I provided information on the challenges faced by the Aeta in the Philippines. “Forgotten Bird of Paradise” provides much-needed coverage of the West Papua struggle for independence from Indonesia that has continued for over 45 years.

Produced, directed, filmed & edited by Dominic Brown.
For additional information about the West Papua independence movement see the official website of exiled leader Benny Wenda.


3 thoughts on “Forgotten Bird of Paradise

  1. Wenda maintains that his arrest and the charges against him were politically motivated, coming at a time when authorities were clamping down on leaders of the independence movement. This clampdown had led to the assassination a few months earlier of the leading pro-independence figure Theys Eluay.

  2. The charges against him were fabricated in an attempt to silence him. His escape from prison in Papua in 2003 probably saved his life, as did the decision by the UK to grant him political asylum. The Interpol red notice filed against him by Indonesia last year in an effort to have him captured and extradited recently was lifted. He now has the freedom to continue the movement to liberate his country.

  3. While some Papuan elites accepted the Special Autonomy proposal, eventually, most in Papua were unhappy as hardliners in Jakarta believed that too much had already been given to the Papuans and that if no ‘roll-back’ takes place it will only be a matter of time before Papuan independence becomes a reality. Also, most Papuans do not see any major improvement in their livelihood, especially the violence against them by the military, police and intelligence apparatus. Instead, many Papuans would prefer to internationalise their plight and seek a third party to settle the issue as they do not trust the Jakarta elites and Indonesians in general. Jakarta, instead, realising that the Papuans are being lost, has tried to launch various ‘peace talks’, organised by the Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs, the Indonesian Intelligence Agency, Home Affairs and even Indonesian Resilience Agency (linked to the Defence Ministry) but with no success. Incumbent President Bambang Yudhoyono has tasked the Indonesian Institute of Sciences to draw up a ‘road map’ for Papua’s future, but again little progress has been made. All these Indonesian measures are aimed at circumventing internationalization of the Papuan issue, which most Papuan elites demand but which Jakarta has been unwilling to agree even though with regard to the Aceh settlement, a third party, with the support of the Norwegian Government, succeeded in making a breakthrough. Papuans are hoping for a similar opportunity so as to ensure that the agreement reached between Jakarta and themselves will be honoured.

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