Politicians from Fahri Hamzah Gelora Party discuss Papua. 

Every time I talk about Papua, I experience a lot of nostalgia. From the start, I was fascinated by Papua as part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. That’s why I often take the time to visit Papua when I was a member of the DPR RI. When not in office, going there is expensive, and far away. I went up to the highlands, up to Dogiyai, Paniai. Taking the plane was a bit nervous.

As children of the nation, we find extraordinary distance. I underline this for anyone who wants to cut this distance. That’s why when the President built infrastructure with a huge Special Autonomy Fund. I reminded him of the understanding of the distance that exists between us. Between us and Papua, there is not only physical distance but other distances as well.

I always recommend that the process of cutting this distance be comprehensive and complete. As long as we don’t have a good understanding of our distance from Papua, we will never be able to completely solve the problem.

Papuans need comfort. Papuans need to enter into their hearts that we are indeed the same and are brothers. Elementary things need to be retold massively in the world of education. The 1969 Act of Free Choice may be accepted by the United Nations, but we must tell our brothers and sisters in Papua that everyone in this republic, all regions did join after Indonesia’s independence.

Even though the reality is that we are nationalities because we are combined by many things in common, which were then summarized in 1928 with the Youth Pledge, one nation, one homeland, one language, similarities that are extraordinarily summed up, and the fact that we are different who come from different backgrounds too. This has to be rephrased, because I’m afraid it won’t be understood. My village, Sumbawa, joined the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia in 1953. The Sultan of Sumbawa handed over all regional assets to the central government, then declared that it is a part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia and managed with the concept of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

Thus, all areas are similar. Kingdoms originating from Aceh, Ternate, Tidore, Jailolo, and so on, including Papua, were all people who came to join. This history must be told more massively, so that we do not have our own history. So that we are not cut into pieces, and so that there is no feeling of “distance” that is more dominant from day to day. So there is the same feeling, the one feeling, and the feeling that we stay and live on the same land in this republic.

In November 2015, I was invited by the Papuan Customary Council in Biak. I was overjoyed. At that time, they were a little afraid to gather and come because permission was not given until seconds before the event started. I called General Gatot, who was the Commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces, and the National Police Chief, Pak Badrodin Haiti, to ask about the permit. When I landed in Biak, I was greeted in an extraordinary and lively manner. At this moment, I said that the perspective of the Republic of Indonesia has changed. We are no longer a totalitarian country. We are a democracy, which in its conception, humans are more important than the state.

Public safety is more important. Protecting the entire Indonesian nation and all the blood spilled, that is the meaning of the principle of people’s sovereignty. Therefore, his honor, his authority, his dignity is in the protection of a democratic country. I conveyed it that way and was embraced by all the tribal chiefs.

Consequently, there is still such a distance. So, never forget of the awareness every morning you wake up that you both dream of a great country and its people live in joy and freedom. So if there is work to be done later, it is necessary to create a way of thinking and curtail the distance between us and Papua.

*Extracted from the National Webinar “Terror Attacks Papua” by the Moya Institute.

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