Neles Tandamat: Reconstructing West Papuan Hybrid Identity In The Pacific and The World

10 Agustus 2018   21:05 Diperbarui: 10 Agustus 2018   21:25 502 0 0

West Papuans are Melanesian people of the south-west Pacific that shares cultural, racial and historical affinity with the other Melanesian people of the south-west Pacific Ocean and the wider black community. They identify themselves as West Papuans of the south-west Pacific generally as Pacific Islanders from the Melanesian sub-region. 

They identify themselves as Melanesian people from West Papua in the Pacific region the identity that was outlawed by the government of Indonesia since 1963. They were even outlawed to call themselves as 'black people' and appreciate their black identity in all the official forms and other daily activities. 

West Papuans were literally forced to denounced their 'blackness' and abandoned their primitive cultures and converted into Indonesians under state sanctioned program known as 'mengindonisasikan orang Papua jadi organg Indonesia' simply 'Indonization of West Papuans into Indonesians'. The program was institutionalized throughout the province over the last 50 years that resulted in the extinction of most languages, and cultures including some tribes from West Papua.

The Indonesian state plans to annihilate completely the Melanesian population of West Papua through state sanctioned migration of Asian race to West Papuan territories, encouraged intermarriages between Asians and Melanesians to 'hilangkan rambut kriting' weed out curly haired people from West Papua. According to Farhat Abbas (May 2016) an Indonesian intelligence agent in his face book account stated that;

"When Indonesia got its independence indeed Papua did not participate... Lucky it was newly captured by Indonesia from Dutch .. so it is reasonable if Papua wants to split from Indonesia...but lest it happen Indonesia will have a big loss because Papua land is a big land mass with small population .. better government move the half of the island of Java where it is densely populated to Papua.. make indigenous people of Papua helpless .. supply them with women and intermarry so that the character of Papua slowly lost ..."

The current Internal Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan (February 2016) stated that "West Papua people have to go to Melanesia alone do not have to live in Indonesia". Historically, the Indonesian Army General Ali Murtopo (1966) stated that, "If the Papuan people want independence, please ... ask the Americans to provide a place in the moon for the Papuan people to occupy there."  

The identity of West Papuans were being subjugated and supressed by the colonizer in this case Indonesia in an effort to completely eradicate the black race from existence in its entirety from the Western part of the Island of New Guinea. The West Papuans don't have steady relations with the people of the world including the Asians due to the ongoing identity crisis they have been facing since 1961. 

They don't see a clear pathway for them in this situation in terms of establishing relationships between the West Papuans and the world because they are simply suppressed at all levels. West Papuans were outlawed from travelling out of Indonesia for the last 50 years. 

Education system in West Papua was heavily monitored in such a way that substandard system of education should be thought to West Papuans with closely monitored selection committee to select Asian race out of West Papua to represent West Papua in other parts of Indonesia or even the region and the world. No clear relationship existed between West Papua and other provinces of Indonesia simply because of racial differences.

West Papuan history was supressed with all its magnificent cultures from Indonesian curriculums, one will never fine a bit about West Papua in the social science and history books of Indonesia. West Papuans were thought to believe that their ancestors were Indonesians from the old kingdoms of 'majapahit' and 'sriwijaya'. They were so brainwashed to extend of some joining the Muslim religion and claims to be Indonesians and not as Melanesians. Many West Papuans of today are categorized as people with 'confused identity'.    

To establish a 'hybrid identity' by West Papuans publicly capturing their Melanesian identity with the global identity in general is supressed by the Indonesian government at the moment. 

They are even reluctant to claim the enforced Asian identity tagged upon them by the colonial government which in itself is a conflict of culture and identity one trying to subjugate the other that is considered as primitive. The current ongoing conflict against the Indonesian government is to separate themselves from the Asians simply through independence.

There were factors that maintain the Indonesian claim over the West Papuan people regionally. The other Melanesian countries' leaders still see West Papuans as Asians which results in West Papuans being rejected in every regional forum. 

Even Papua New Guinea the closest neighbour that shares the same land boundary is reluctant to accept that West Papuans are the Melanesian people of the Pacific through its diplomatic ties with Indonesia. West Papuans desire to be heard and accepted by the Pacific people to confirm their identity as Melanesians in the Pacific. 

The Pacific countries continuous support for Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua puts the West Papuans to extinction in a slow motion systematic genocide well planned by the government of Indonesia with an aim to take over the island. 

Every week loads after loads of immigrants are coming from other parts of Indonesia to Papua and the government seem reluctant to address the issue at all. West Papuans are being helpless due to the fact that the government policies seem to protect the immigrants' welfare more than the indigenous people of West Papua. Having access to affordable loans in West Papua is very hard if you are black person with curly hair as your identity. Nobody is interested to listen to a black person pleading for assistance in business or any other social progress.

West Papuans still longed to identify themselves as Melanesians of the Pacific decent one day even when the going gets tougher nowadays. The question is, when will the other pacific island countries accept the West Papua people into the pacific community?