They Massacred My People. They Rape West Papua


West Papua. Genocide. In this modern age of development and sophistication, the international community barely maintains a sustainable thought for a land colonised by a regional power, Indonesia.

Papuans, also known as the indigenous Melanesians, are not “Indonesians” nor are they from the same racial stock of the Javanese population. The atrocities by both the Indonesian police and military seems to barely affect global politics, much less leave an impact upon the thoughts of the civilised world.

Joko Widodo, the president of Indonesia, seems to be more interested in increasing his public profile in West Papua than actually exerting his executive power to enable a greater voice for the Papuans in decision-making or even self-determination. Is Joko a smiling-pawn of the military, with no authority to advocate for basic rights and social justice? Or perhaps, the government’s dependency on the multi-billion dollar mining projects in a land that does not belong to the Indonesians?

West Papua. The ancient land belongs to Papuans, their home, and home to the largest goldmine with huge natural gas deposits. Yet its obvious, even to the millions of Indonesians, of their government’s systematic, institutional rape of land and sea. Of consorting with foreign and local corporations to petrify the soil and destroy the environment, just to fatten Indonesia and fill the national coffers with blood money.

And what of the member states of ASEAN? Are they twiddling their thumbs, to maintain respectful silence of non-interference despite knowing of the piling broken, bloodied bodies as a result of Indonesia’s brutality? What of advocates of human rights in this region, these high-so champions of articulate morality and righteousness, are they blind to the horrors?

Or perhaps, we as a whole, fancy the thought of a mighty empire grow on top of a mountain of Papuan skulls?



An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at and @bedlamfury

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