Treaties, lies and the Morning Star Flag

Treaties, lies and the Morning Star Flag

“The West Papuans have become the victims of Australia’s regional foreign policy arrangements that prop up the anti-refugee policies of Operation Sovereign Borders.” Ian Rintoul, Refugee Action Coalition. Fifty-two years ago on this day, the Morning Star flag otherwise known and Bintang Kejora, was first raised in West Papua, (formerly known as West New Guinea and to Indonesia, Irian Jaya), marking the unofficial independence of the small province as the ...

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Australia’s Racism Problem Just Won’t Go Away

Australia’s Racism Problem Just Won’t Go Away

This post has been proferred by Imogen, a reader of Blak and Black. As South Korean-born Dami Im’s X-Factor win in Australia is celebrated with a number one single it’s a shame that this demonstration of a multi-cultural country is also accompanied by an expression of that country’s darker side. While Im won on a public vote, her victory was also accompanied by that dispiriting modern phenomenon, an outbreak of racist social media posts ...

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Never a number

Never a number

On the ground floor of the Art Gallery of NSW I saw one of the most moving pieces of sculpture I can remember visiting. It did not surpass the sublime La Pieta, Michaelangelo’s masterpiece of sorrow and loss, but its impact was every bit as forceful. In the dimmed light of the large room, a single exhibit comprising twenty evenly spaced figures in ranks spoke such volume that I was ...

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West Papua - time we were #idlenomore

West Papua – time we were #idlenomore

“We recognize international law …” Every country that is a member of the United Nations recognizes international law, Bob, at least as far as it serves their purposes. It seems to me that every nation also ignores any aspect of international law that puts some aspect of their own commercial or national value at risk. Every nation has at its heart not the rest of humanity, but it’s own nationalistic ...

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Promises and passages - it's all an illusion

Promises and passages – it’s all an illusion

  Promises and passage, that what’s they were sold. A truth not realized, the loss of all that was family and home. The South Sea Islanders who came to Australia in the 1800s and early 1900s were referred to as Kanakas. Many were kidnapped by ‘blackbirders’. As the descendents of Anglo-Celtic migrants, those sugar-cane farmers in Queensland may well have listened and danced to tunes such as Sharon Shannon’s jig ...

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West Papua: Remembering 51 years of oppression

West Papua: Remembering 51 years of oppression

Dusk is falling across Melbourne and West Papua, but not over the dreams of the Papuan people. Today, remembering 51 years of oppression having been denied the right to self-determination, the West Papuan people gathered in Melbourne to celebrate their national day and raise awareness of the human rights abuses the people of West Papua still endure since the departure of the Dutch colonial governors. And on this day of ...

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A process of truth and judgement

A process of truth and judgement

Judgement is our oldest belief, our most habitual holding-true or holding un-true, an assertion or denial, a certainty that something is thus not otherwise, a belief that here we really “know” – what is it that is believed true in all judgements? Friedrich Nietzsche – The Will To Power (trans. Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale) P. 288 “Truth”: this, according to my way of thinking, does not necessarily denote the ...

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The limits of Shiva’s dance: West Papua, Australia’s role in genocide

The limits of Shiva’s dance: West Papua, Australia’s role in genocide

Nataraja dances, his right foot supported by a crouching figure, his left foot elegantly raised. Of his four arms, one swings downwards, pointing to the raised foot; another with palm held up signals, “Do not fear!” In his other hands he holds aloft a drum and a flame. The river Ganga sits in his hair. A Cobra uncoils from his lower right forearm, and the crescent moon and a skull ...

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West Papua the Guernica of the 21st Century sans outrage

West Papua the Guernica of the 21st Century sans outrage

We were about eighteen miles east of Guernica when Anton pulled to the side of the road jammed on the brakes and started shouting. He pointed wildly ahead, and my heart shot into my mouth, when I looked. Over the top of some small hills appeared a flock of planes. A dozen or so bombers were flying high. But down much lower, seeming just to skim the treetops were six ...

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The assassination of Mako Tabuni: the AFP is the devil in everyone’s democratic aspirations!

The assassination of Mako Tabuni: the AFP is the devil in everyone’s democratic aspirations!

…I show vice triumphing everywhere, and virtue as the victim of its own sacrifices, I show an unfortunate woman wandering from misfortune to misfortune, a plaything of wickedness and vice; who is stunned by the boldest and most specious sophisms; and who is prey to the most skilful seductions, the most irresistible subordinations; a woman who has only the tenderness of her soul, a sensitive heart, a natural spirit and ...

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300,000 dead West Papuan’s: a fair price for our golems?

300,000 dead West Papuan’s: a fair price for our golems?

Sydney: city of mystery, city of marvels. Sydney: its foreshores once teeming with Gadigal; now a captive city pregnant with memories, enveloped by memories of a Gadigal Atlantis. The traditional Gadigal are all but gone, however their presence remains. Though brutally murdered, their legend survives. By telling their tale, we resurrect their Atlantis. By reviving their legends, we awaken their spirits. Their souls haunt the city still. Their presence pervades ...

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Beware there be Jinn in the forests: Indonesia and West Papua, a clash of cultures

Beware there be Jinn in the forests: Indonesia and West Papua, a clash of cultures

Last weekend I took a stroll through the Mesopotamia exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. While reading the commentary attached to a number of the artefacts I realised, in a profound way, that what we call civilization is actually a reaction to and against nature. Some cultures, those we choose to call ‘primitive’, ‘savage’ or ‘uncivilized’ attempt to live in harmony with nature, or at least attempt to develop a rapport ...

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Portia’s Lament: Western greed and the death of the indigenous cultures of West Papua

Portia’s Lament: Western greed and the death of the indigenous cultures of West Papua

Fragments from the Alfoxden Notebook There he would stand In the still covert of some rock, Or gaze upon the moon until its light Fell like a strain of music on his soul And seemed to sink into his very heart. Why is it we feel So little for each other, but for this, That we with nature have no sympathy, Or with such things as we have no ...

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Silence no longer so golden

Silence no longer so golden

Complicity takes many forms, as discussed in posts by both Bakchos and me. Many believe that silent complicity is the least culpable, but to my mind if the silence enables the perpetrator of the wrongdoing to continue causing harm, then the silence is of a gross kind. An example of such silent complicity allowing continuing harm is described by Steven Miles generating discussion in both the Lancet and via his ...

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Copper and gold: the blood diamonds of West Papua

Copper and gold: the blood diamonds of West Papua

Invaded by Indonesia in 1961, West Papua is the crisis on Australia’s doorstep. The conflict generated by the usurpation of the former Dutch protectorate is not recognized as anything other than a separatist movement by those in power in the international community, but it is so very much more. Since the Act of No Choice in 1969 in which 1025 West Papuans voted under extreme duress unanimously in favour of ...

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The Jayapura Five: Our choices and actions do affect the lives of others

The Jayapura Five: Our choices and actions do affect the lives of others

Little fly, Thy summer’s play My thoughtless hand Has brushed away. Am not I A fly like thee? Or art not thou A man like me? For I dance And drink and sing, Till some blind hand Shall brush my wing. If thought is life And strength and breath, And the want Of thought is death, Then am I A happy fly, If I live, Or if I die. William ...

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Genocide in West Papua, collective responsibility and the role of Ernst & Young

Genocide in West Papua, collective responsibility and the role of Ernst & Young

The TNI under Suharto was seen as different from other armies because: Indonesian army sees itself as quite different from other armies in the world, because it was never created as an instrument of the state, but was itself involved in the creation of the state. Thus the military considers itself the embodiment of Indonesian nationalism. In theory, it remains above the state, and technically does not consider itself answerable ...

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Indonesia and Australia the illegitimate states of the Asia Pacific Region

Indonesia and Australia the illegitimate states of the Asia Pacific Region

What is self-determination? The notion of self-determination as a universal principle, whether viewed through a political, moral, or legal lens, has been and continues to be imprecise and in dire need of further clarification. U.S. president Woodrow Wilson understood self-determination to be the belief that every people had the right to select their own form of government, to “choose the sovereignty under which they shall live” and thus be free ...

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The Lombok Treaty: a win for self interest over justice

The Lombok Treaty: a win for self interest over justice

The current humanitarian crises in West Papua, formally West New Guinea (“WNG”), has at its roots Western colonial greed and paranoia over Soviet influence in the region. WNG was and remains culturally, ethnically and economically separate from the rest of the Javanese Empire which replaced the Dutch East Indies Empire in the area that is currently known as Indonesia. WNG’s links lay naturally with the Australian New Guinea and the ...

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Bintang Kejora: a struggle for a new dawn

Bintang Kejora: a struggle for a new dawn

Former Kopassus commander Lt. Gen. (ret.) Prabowo Subianto (who was “forced to retire because of his involvement in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of democracy activists in early 1998”) has argued: Indonesian culture is very violent and the military is a mirror of society. … This whole culture in Indonesia is a culture of violence between tribes and ethnic groups. …This is something that we are aware of, something we ...

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