We know we will die - West Papua under attack
|OPM: Some guerrilla of West Papua are fighting Indonesian special forces with bows and arrows.|
In the Indonesian occupied province of West Papua 22 freedom fighters with the Free Papua Organisation (OPM) were arrested yesterday.
The arrests come in a year of extreme repression directed by Indonesia at crushing the independence movement that has seen activists murdered by the Indonesian army and special forces burning tribal villages in the highlands.
Yet the underground fight for freedom continues. Chairman of the West Papuan National Committee, Victor Yeimo summed up the spirit of the resistance movement to an undercover Australian reporter recently,
We know that we will die, we will shot by them. It's not a new thing, it's not a new story, we have been killed by them - many of our elder have already been killed by Indonesia.But we will struggle for freedom because if not me, who? There's no way - we will struggle, we will fight or we will be lost from this country. We know it.Since 1969 over 100,000 people in West Papua have died as a result of Indonesian police and military violence.
The United States, Australia and New Zealand are all complicit in this violence. The US and Australia arm and train the Indonesian military and police forces. America is set to sell Indonesia eight state of the art Apache attack helicopters. These helicopters will be used in operations like one last year,
Last winter, the Army and police concluded Operation Annihilate Matoa, a massive joint offensive in the remote central highlands. According to reports by West Papua Media, an independent outlet headquartered in Australia that draws from a network of trained West Papuan journalists, Indonesian troops in search of Free Papua Movement (OPM) commander Jhon Yogi forcibly evacuated more than 130 villages, torched countless homes and killed dozens of civilians.
The operation also involved crude helicopter attacks. Using commercial helicopters borrowed from an Australian gold mining company, troops perched in the sky threw tear gas and grenades, poured fuel onto the hamlets below, and strafed them with machine-gun fire.Australia's governing Labor Party are currently under fire as revelations emerge that an Indonesian special forces unit trained and supplied by the Australian Federal Police is acting as a death squad against activists.
New Zealand's Indonesia Human Rights Committee in June broke a story of an Indonesian special forces officer being trained by the New Zealand Defence Force. The officer is from the same unit responsible for torturing West Papuans and murdering the New Zealand journalist Gary Cunningham in Balibo, East Timor in 1975.
Lush cosmetics recently began selling a Smell of Freedom perfume in stores to raise money for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee (IHRC). The IHRC recently called on the New Zealand and Australian governments and other Pacific states to support a regional fact finding mission to the West Papuan province. It is the very least our government could do to end the genocide in slow motion in West Papua.