December 1 Has Never Been West Papuan Independence Day

Every December 1, a few of West Papuans raise the Morning Star flag and celebrate what they call Papua’s “Independence Day”. This celebration is carried out by a few people in several places, and then they spread it massively on social media in a manipulative way as if the activity was carried out on a large scale. They also build a false narrative about December 1, not based on the history to be referred.

Since the beginning of the independence of the Republic of Indonesia, Papua has been an inseparable part of the Republic. Even at the Youth Pledge of October 28, 1928, where youths from all over the archipelago, which at that time were still under Dutch rule, took an oath to unite under Indonesia, there were representatives of Papuan youth joining Jong Ambon (the Ambon Youth). 3 Papuan youths namely Abneer Ohee, Orpa Pallo and Aitai Karubaba heroically along with other youths from the archipelago took the oath to have one homeland, one nation, and one language, namely Indonesia.

In addition, the best sons and daughters of Papua also fought together with their brothers and sisters from all over the archipelago to break away from the Dutch and establish the state of Indonesia. Some of them are Frans Kaisiepo, Silas Papare, Marthen Indey, Machmud Singgeri Rumagesan and Johanes Abraham Dimara.

Long before the Morning Star Flag was used as a symbol of struggle by a few West Papuans who did not want to join Indonesia, Frans Kaisiepo on 31 August 1945 raised the Red and White Flag of Indonesia and sang the national an them Indonesia Raya in Papua. In 1946,even Frans Kaisiepo founded the Free Indonesia Party in Biak. Because of his resistance to the Dutch, Frans Kaisiepo was detained by the Dutch in 1954 1961.When he was released from prison, Frans Kaisiepo re founded a political party, namely Irian Part of Indonesia, in order to unite Papua into the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

Like Frans Kaisiepo, Silas Papare also founded a political party, where in 1946 he founded the Indonesian Irian Independence Party (Partai Kemerdekaan Indonesia Irian/PKII). Previously, in 1945 upon hearing of Indonesia’s independence, Silas Papare resigned from his job and joined the West Irian youths in the Papua Battalion to stage a rebellion against the Dutch and encourage Papuan integration into Indonesia.

Another Papuan fighter, Johannes Abraham Dimara, in 1946 participated in the raising of the Indonesian flag of the Red and White in Namlea, Buru Island. Johannes Dimara is also active in fighting for the return of the territory of West Irianto the Republic of Indonesia.

Based on the Dutch constitution of 1938,which was the constitution of the Netherlands when Indonesia proclaimed its independence on August 17, 1945, the territory of West Papua was clearly stated to be part of the Dutch East Indies. Thus, when Indonesia proclaimed independence on August 17, 1945, based o nthe principle of international law Uti Possidetis Juris, the West Papua region automatically became part of the Republic of Indonesia.

Nevertheless, the Dutch government still wanted to maintain the West Papua region as part of the Dutch colony, so the Dutch used all means to prevent the West Papua region from joining the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

One of the maneuvers carried out by the Dutch to defend the territory of West Papua from returning to Indonesia was to form a New Guinea Council and then inaugurate it on December 1, 1961,by raising the Morning Star Flag. This maneuver, however, doesn’t mean that the Dutch Government has given in dependence to the people of West Papua, because the Dutch did not want West Papua to be independent from the start or to become part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

At the time of the inauguration of the New Guinea Council, there was no discussion of independence, no proclamation of independence, no discussion of the constitution, and essentially there were no steps to liberate Papua. So, in fact, the state of West Papua or a country that only consisted of the territory of West Papua from the beginning did not exist. History also records that the President of the New Guinea Council is held by a Dutch civil servant, Frits Sollewijn Gelpke, not by Papuans, so this shows that the New Guinea Council was not formed to liberate Papua.

After all, with the principle of Uti Possidetis Juris, since the beginning of Indonesia’s independence, the West Papua region has automatically become part of Indonesian territory, since the Netherlands is reluctant to hand over this territory, so the Indonesian government takes military and diplomatic steps both bilaterally with he Netherlands as well as multilaterally through the United Nations.

The peak of Indonesia’s struggle to reclaim West Irian (then the name of West Papua) was through the 1969 Act of Free Choice which was legally recognized by the international community and also by the United Nations through UN General Assembly Resolution No. 2504 (XX IV) that Papua is part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. The UN resolution is an undeniable legal fact, and the results of the Act of Free Choice also reflect the desire of the Papuan people to join their brothers and sisters from all over the archipelago and merge into one big entity: Indonesia.

From the data above, it is clear that the date of December 1, which has often been echoed by a few West Papuans who want to separate them selves from Indonesia, is not true, history is being manipulated for their benefit. These few separatists commemorate the raising ofthe Morning Star Flag on December 1,1961 and consider it a commemoration of West Papuan independence, although they are not really sure, since there are other dates that they commemorate as West Papuan independence day.

This is very contradictive, because the early Papuan figures actually fought with other Indonesian heroes from the start and they also raised the Indonesian Red and White Flag as a symbol of their love for Indonesia.

While Papuan separatist supporters are still raising the Morning Star flag as a symbol of their struggle, the creator of the Morning Star Flag, Nicolaas Jouwe,who was a key figure of the West Papuan independence movement, returned to Indonesia in 2010 after realizing that Indonesia was actually carrying out massive development in Papua and that the his separatist movement actually hurt the West Papuan people a lot.

Nicolaas Jouwe is a Indigenous West Papuan with the highest position when Papua was still colonized by the Dutch. Nicolaas Jouwe is also the Vice President of the New Guinea Council.

In conclusion, December 1 has never been West Papuan independence day, and the brave sons and daughters of West Papua from the beginning have been fighting together with other young Indonesians to form the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, by forming a nationalistic political party as well as flying the Indonesian Red and White Flag even though lives are at stake, not flying the morning star flag.