Celebrating Indonesian 67th Independence by reflecting on Papua’s integration
By Farsijana Adeney-Risakotta
In August 17, 2012, our country is celebrating its birthday, 67 years old. In this joyful moment, among the Papua people there has been a question of whether their integration to Indonesia was legitimed. Due to this argumentative debat, I would like to rise a question on whose imagination is it actually when a country start creating a nation state?
A country is a political concept in which states about the imagination of coming together as a nation-state. A country like Indonesia which was created to follow the colonial line existed already in the cultural nation boundaries. Except, Papua that joined Indonesia in 1963, all the nations within Indonesia today were obtained directly due to the loss of Japanese occupation in Indonesian teritories at the time.
Japan took over Indonesia to control from the Dutch East Indish government when they campaigned the rise of Great Sun of the East. Papua was under the control of Japanese occupation as well. However the serunder of Japanese government on the Second World War, only gave the territories from Maluku to Aceh to become a nation state of Indonesia that state in the details following the Independence’s delaration.
Historically, Papua was given to the new Indonesian nation state only after the Dutch was asked to leave the area by the USA and its ally. Papua was used as the Dutch homebase to start the second clash over the new nation state teritory of the new Indonesia which ended with the winner of Indonesia to force the Dutch accepted the indepence of Indonesia in 1949.
As one of the countries that was destroyed by the second world war in Europe, the Netherlands needed an economic help from the USA. Marshall plan which was an economical recovery project given by the American government with the agreement that the Dutch government had to give Papua to Indonesia. The USA government had to control clearly the Pacific politics which had no link with the communist influences at the time.
After the round table meeting at the United Nation in New York City, a special representative was sent to Papua to prepare for the integration of Papua to Indonesia. Dr Fernando Ortiz Sanz was the representative of UN who worked to prepare the process of Papua integration to Indonesia. Now the Papua felt like the process of integration was not taken place well. In the election process of the integration there were only 1000 people whose voices determined the existence of Papua to be part of Indonesia. Now the Papua people are questioning the process.
For me, the most important things to be considered are that countries were made after the second word were actually involved a supranational decision making. Indonesia had to fight with the Dutch over Papua during the war of Irian Barat. This war though appearing naturally was actually supported by the Indonesian military, there was an involvement by the USA forces. When the war got worse, then the fighting countries could appeal to United Nation to ask for their neutral position in the intervention of the aspiration of the local people. Then as described above, the people chose to integrate into the Indonesian country.
This example showed that a nation like Papua could join to a county because of the external forces to push the local people to accept a domination of power over them. As a result, the agreement was made to tie both parties, Indonesia and the Dutch government to fulfill their responsibilities to the local people as written in Pepera 1963. For example, the article on Pepera 1963 states about the justice, education and economic social aspects given to the local people have to be implemented.
However, the Papua people naively, have believed that after 46 years of integration with the Indonesian country their livehood did not change. The people are still undeveloped on educational, economic and political skills to manage their own rich natural resources. Even now the Indonesian government has given a special status which was Special Otonomy (Otonomi khusus) to them, but the people do not obtain the benefit. This is why the people rethink about their nature and nurture of the integration.
To conclude, this article argues that the process of an integration of a nation to a country has to be carried on based on the principles of equality, and freedom. If it happened because of the political economic interests, it will affect the way the local people are going to be treated in discriminative ways that leads to the question of their origin of their integration. By celebrating Indonesian independence day, we have the chance to initiate the dialog between the government of Indonesia and the Papua.