The other day I finished reading the brilliant and utterly perplexing book “Congo. A History“. One of it’s inevitable conclusions is that if indigenous people, literally living on top of vast natural resources, are being overrun by ‘foreign’ immigrants and crushed by big capitalism, huge and devastating problems are bound to surface.
I fear Papua is growing to be that kind of problem province in Indonesia. The most Eastern part of the country is being weight down by ” structural injustice“. No wonder discontent is increasing, violence appears to get worse and more and more people are getting killed almost daily.
Yet “Jakarta” appears to believe repressing dissent, disturbances and riots and crushing rebellion and guerilla, is the right way to respond. BIN’s chief Lt. Gen. Marciano Norman wants a comprehensive security sweep. The National Police planned to deploy Mobile Brigade’s special operations unit in Jayapura. Minister Minister Djoko Suyanto, coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs, made this chilling statement “We will take all necessary action to track them down, so don’t blame us for any human rights violations“. And now a new Papua Police Chief has been appointed. It’s telling that Brig. Gen. Tito Karnavian, the former Densus 88 Chief and acting deputy chief of the splendid new Counter-Terrorism Agency, will be this new man in charge.
It’s clear “Jakarta” decided to use an iron fist. In such a context last week’s arrival of the first four of eighteen A-29 Super Tucano fighter planes hardly can be considered to be a mere coincidence. These new TNI planes have been specially designed for counter-insurgency missions.
I admit the complexity of the present situation is beyond my comprehension. But what I’m sure of is that no unilateral ‘solution’ will be effective. And least of all unilateral solutions built on violence. Because that’s only the fast track to a “vicious circle” of violence.
Stopping this “vicious circle” in Papua is also what Commission I’s chairman Mahfudz Siddiq intends to do. He used these words commenting on the creation of a working committee to find solutions in and for Papua. Alas his working committee is likely to produce unilateral drawing-board wisdoms at best.
I’m afraid the government is on a bloody dead-end street in West Papua.