Thanks for writing and the work you are doing for us,
The questions you are asking are common questions and I will answer them briefly. I hope sometime later, these questions and answers will be on my website:
But right now, not yet.
>For example, do you grow food
Two types of staple food here.
1. Sago, mostly consumed by Papuans in coastal areas: Biak, Serui, Jayapura, Maroke, etc. People don't normally grow sago as they grow wild all over the coastal areas. Normally people do not work hard here, fish is available, pork and others are in the jungles, and sago grows everywhere.
2. Sweet Potato, we in the highlands grow and eat this as our staple food. Our main source of protein is pork, and also culturally very valuable. It was used to pay bride-price, pay fines, buy forests/trees to build houses, and it still has a very high value here. We work hard here to make
garden, plant, breed? and grow the crops and animals, no wild pigs here as those in the coastal areas.
Coastal Papuans are generally referred to as the Austro-Melanesians, ancestors originated from Asia. Highlands are Papua-Melanesians, ancestors until today are not yet identified, but generally referred to as native Papuans in this land.
>What is a common meal and who and how is it prepared?
The meal is prepared with a method in Indonesian called "bakar batu" or "bake the stones", which means, heat the stones with fires. Dig hole on the ground, put grass, then put the hot stones on the grass, cover the stones with more grass, put the meal: normally sweet potatoes first, then put the stones on top of the potatoes. After this, put the grass again, then put the vegetables (such as cabbages, spinach, sweet-potato leaves,
cassava leaves, papaya leaves, etc.), or fruits like cucumber, corn, etc.
We can mix meat with vegetables, just like in a pan as you do in the West. So vegetables are mixed with the meat, well not mixed as in the west but they spread the taste and smell well over. To make it nice...
Mostly men prepare the fires, heat the stones, find the woods, find the grass, slaughter the meat, (or hunt) and women clean the meals in the water/stream, then prepare the meal, and sit on the side of the hole and put the meals into the "cooking pan" (which is the ground for us), then men help them by handing out hot stones (women mostly wait on the ground to give order to men where to put the stones, etc)
After all, we cover the cooking up with more grass and leave them for about an hour. Before opening, men go first to sort out the grass, then women can go some minutes later to open. WOmen are responsible to decide which meal to go which group (We do not eat individually in separate plates and spoons. We put meal on the ground for some people, we sit for meals in groups of young people, boys, girls, etc.)
>What do you drink?
I personally drink Guinness, but my people drink pure water, mostly unboilled one. We have pure and fresh water. But now it is changing, we are advised to boild water beforehand.
On the coastal areas, they also drink "saguer", and what I call Papuan wine, made out of coconut fruit. Taste coconut, but some minutes later, it shows its power...
>How do you get your water?
We get water from its source, from the ground, stream, etc.
>What are some specific trees, plants, flowers, animals that define the jungles of West Papua?
The most unique bird is called The Bird of Paradise, only exist in Papua land, nowhere else. In the highlands, pig is the most valuable animal in economy, ceremonies, social, and cultural lives.
We are born and we have our own trees where our parents watch the trees. If the tree dies, I die, if something bad happen to the trees, so is happening to myself. This is uncommon, but only some tribes. You know we have 250 tribes or more in West Papua, and there are some common things, and also specific things for each tribe.
>How do you want to portray your country to someone who has never been there?
This is what I tell them:
If you want to see the meaning of "stone-age people" go to West Papua, you will never find it anywhere else, especially in this 21st century.
If you want to see original, untouched forests, go to West Papua as well.
If you want to see glaciers in the tropical area, it only exists in West Papua, nowhere else.
If you want to be free, free from all, go to West Papua and live in the jungles.
BUT ABOVE ALL:
These people, this place want INDEPENDENCE,
because they want to keep these as they are. This generation is responsible to keep our world heritage, to keep it for our future generations, and for our world's history. It does not mean we do not want computers, etc., but we want what we want and what we need, not what the West things we should have.
> 2: What are the necklaces you wear around your neck?
Two of them: One is my uncles finger, hanging on Papuan-style necklaces.
The other is another style, but in Papua mostly worn by women. I was wearing it to remind me, that sometime Papuan women will come out to speak for their country, and I am responsible to encourage them. (Until today, I have taught two Papuan girls who will soon come out to the world to speak for their country, but we are waiting for the security situation here to calm down)
So, in brief, those two represented men and women of West Papua, I was not alone, with all of them, together.
>I remember you wore so many - could you remind me of a few of the individual details?
Another one, which you or people cannot see, is on my arm, given by my uncle, to remind me that I am with him, all the way, that I am not alone.
> 3: what is your Papuan name? Could you spell it and show me how to say/pronounce it?
Which means: A person who walks through the troubles (wars), but without enough ammunitions (in this case meals, money, friends to help, etc). This is my new name, given recently after I came back.
> 4: What is a saying in your native language - perhaps a greeting or a farewell or a blessing? How does one pronounce it?
Wa! (ooa = means thank you, or hallo.
Yogo! =good bye (I cannot write the pronunciation)
Good sayings I have in my life are:
We are born to die;
I am born for others, others are born for me;
I am alright here, don't bother me, please!
5: What are the colors of the W.
Papuan flag? What does it look like?
The flag is here now: www.westpapua.net/index.htm
You will see it on the top let corner.
Thanks for your work. Remember, your are not doing only for West Papua, but for the whole world. The world heritage is here: in West Papua.
I hope this is enough for now and thanks again.
Keep up the work for the world,
Views & Perspectives, Facts on
Indonesia's Sovereignty over Irian Jaya
Questions and Answers
1. What was the nature of the Irian Jaya issues ? Was this issue a case
of decolonization or incomplete decolonization of Indonesia ?
Irian Jaya was a bilateral matter between the Netherlands and Indonesia
regarding an incomplete process of decolonization of the Netherlands East
Indies. Irian Jaya was neither a separate entity nor a non-self-governing
territory detached from the Netherlands East Indies. The problem arose
when the Netherlands insisted on maintaining its presence in the western
half New Guinea. At the beginning, there was no international dimension to
this problem until Indonesia brought the issue to the United Nations in
1954 after all bilateral means had been exhausted. Therefore, it would not
be relevant to draw a comparison between East Timor and Iran Jaya as the
crux of the problem is totally different. East Timor was recognized by the
United Nations as a non-self-governing territory, with Portugal as the
administering power, while Irian Jaya remained an resolved question of
decolonization of Indonesian territory of what was once the Netherlands
East Indies. It was the disruption of the Dutch decolonization process in
1949 that led to struggle of more than a decade by Indonesia to
consolidate its territorial integrity and sovereignty over Irian Jaya.
2. Did the Dutch renege on its earlier agreements with Indonesia ?
The Dutch reneged on a series of commitments made prior to the Round
Table Conference of 1949 in Den Haag. For before that time, there was
never any doubt in the negotiations between the Dutch and the Indonesians
on the status of Irian Jaya. This is reflected in several agreements
concluded between Indonesia and Netherlands : The Linggardjati Agreement
of 1947 explicitly stated " The United States of Indonesia shall
comprise the entire territory of the Netherlands East Indies". The
Renville Agreement of 1948 further underlined " Sovereignty
throughout the Netherlands Indies is and shall remain with the Kingdom of
Netherlands until, after a stated interval, the Kingdom of the Netherlands
transfers its sovereignty to the United States of Indonesia", and the
Roem-Van Royen Agreement of 1949 which in sum stated that the "United
States of Indonesia shall comprise of the entire territory of the
Netherlands East Indies in accordance with the terms of the Revile
Agreement". Two other documents prove in an unmistakable way that it
had never been the intention of the Dutch to separate West Papua from the
rest of the East Indies colony. These were the Netherlands Constitution of
1948 and the Netherlands Report on its colony to the United Nations in
1949. Later, the Round Table Conference of 1949 settled the conflict
between the two countries, resulting in the full recognition and
acceptance by the Netherlands of the independence and sovereignty of
Indonesia. It did not however settle the conflict in a comprehensive
manner as it left out the territory of West New Guinea. In Indonesia’s
view, this constituted a case of incomplete decolonization. For, it left
out the unsettled question of West New Guinea was to be resolved within a
period of one year after the transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia through
peaceful negotiations between the Government of Indonesia and the
3. On what basis did Indonesia claim sovereignty over Iran Jaya ?
As far as Indonesia was concerned it was the legal successor to all
territories, which during colonial times were called the Netherlands East
Indies, in accordance with the provisions of agreements concluded between
the two countries as well as by established international legal
principles. Thus, it viewed Irian Jaya as an integral part of the Republic
of Indonesia at the time of the proclamation of independence on August 17,
1945. In this regard, it should be emphasized that the international
principle of "uti posseditis juns" asserts that the boundaries
of nascent post-colonial countries conform to their pre-sovereign ones.
For whatever reasons, in principle and logic, the issue of tittle ends
4. Why did Iran Jaya become an issue at the United Nations ?
The bilateral question became an issue at the United Nations because
Indonesia brought up the matter before the UN General Assembly at its
ninth session in 1954 as no progress had been made to resolve this matter
in the bilateral talks and therefore there was a need to solicit
international support. Such support was further obtained at the Bandung
conference of 1955 and was incorporated into the final communique
requesting to the United Nations to help the two sides reach a peaceful
solution. The United Nations General Assembly discussed this items from
the years 1954 to 1957 and then again in 1961 but a peaceful solution
5. What were the background developments to the New York Agreement in
For eight long years, the General Assembly had been unable to assist
the parties in finding a solution. In light of the breakdown of relations
between the two countries, Indonesia therefore availed of the initiative
of the United Nations Secretary-General to join the Netherlands in
informal discussions. Both the Indonesian and Netherlands Governments
agreed to the intermediary of the Secretary-General U Thant and Ambassador
Eilsworth Bunker of the United States of America. Largely due to their
tireless efforts and coupled with the desire of both Governments, a
bilateral settlement was reached between Indonesia and the Netherlands,
with the conclusion of the New York Agreement.
6. What was the role of the UN with regard to the question of West
Papua ? Who were the parties to that Agreement ?
The role of the United Nations was limited to an intermediary one. In
this regard, it should be noted that Article XVII of the New York
Agreement stated "Indonesia will invite the Secertary-General to
appoint a Representative who, together with a staff made up, inter alia,
of experts refered to in Article XVI, will carry out the
Secretary-General’s responsibilities to advise, assist and participate
in arrangements which are the responsibility of Indonesia". It is
also pertinent to note that financial expenses incurred by the
Secretary-General were borne by the Indonesian and the Netherlands
Governments in equal shares. Nothing was to be paid for by the United
Nations. From the outset, the UN’s involvement was aimed at finding a
solution to bilateral matter through dialogue and peaceful means.
7. What are the salient features of the New York Agreement ?
The central feature of the agreement was the provision for an initial
transfer of administration of this territory from the Netherlands to an
interim UN authority (United Nations Temporary Executive Authority/UNTEA)
effective 1 October 1962 and then for a final transfer from UNTEA to
Indonesian control after 1 May 1963.
In addition, it was stipulated that an act of free choice would take
place before the end of 1969 in order to determine whether or not the West
Papuans peoples wished to remain subject to Indonesian jurisdiction, the
arrangements of which were to rest solely with the Indonesian Government.
It is important to stress that the Agreement was clearly a bilateral one
and not called for by resolution of the United Nations or by any other
mandate of the General Assembly.
8. Were the transfers of authority in Irian Jaya from the Dutch to the
UN and later from the UN to Indonesia in line with the terms of the
The transfers of administration from the Netherlands to the UNTEA
(United Nations ) took place on 1 October 1962, in accordance with Article
V and VI of the New York Agreement, in a ceremony when the UN flag was
raised and flown side by side with that of the Netherlands. Later, on 31
December 1962, the Netherlands flag was replaced by the Indonesian flag
and flown next to the UN flag. In line with the provisions of Article XII
of the New York Agreement, the Administrator of UNTEA, transferred full
administrative control to Indonesia on 1 May 1963. The transfer of
administration from the Netherlands to UNTEA and thereafter to Indonesia
was achieved peacefully and without incident. The population was prepared
for the changes to be brought about by the Agreement. The disruption of
essential public services was avoided and continuity in employment was
9. What were the grounds to pronounce that the act of free choice in
1969 was internationally acceptable and valid?
The act of free choice was final, legal and irrevocable as Article XVII
of the Agreement was implemented whereby the representative councils of
Irian Jaya were consulted on the appropriate procedures and methods to
ascertain the will of the people. Indonesia’s proposal was accepted and
the enlarged councils, which included a total of 1,026 members, pronounced
themselves, unanimously on behalf of the people of Irian Jaya to remain
with Indonesia. Considering the specific difficulties of the terrain and
the condition of the population at that time, the modalities of
consultations with the representatives councils on procedures on methods
were the best option to ascertain the free will of the people. This
position was also reflected in the Secretary Generals report to the
General Assembly in 1969 in which his quoted his Representatives
conclusions of the implementation of the act of free choice by stating
that "…it can be stated that, with the limitation impose by the
geographical characteristics of the territory and the general political
situation in the area, an act of a free choice in West Irian…". It
is also noteworthy to point out was that this episode mark a significant
event for the United Nations, considering it’s participation in such an
activity for the first time.
In sum, it is an indisputable fact that the people of Irian Jaya
exercise their right of self-determination through an act of free choice
conducted from 14 July to 2 August 1969 in accordance with the relevant
provision of the 1962 New York agreement.
10. Was the UN successful in mediating the bilateral conflict between
Indonesia and the Netherlands? Why did the United Nations General Assembly
only take note of the result of the New York Agreement?
Bearing in mind the limited role of the United Nations in this
conflict, in can be concluded that the Organization was successful in
acting as a mediator by bringing to an end long-standing bilateral dispute
between Indonesia and the Netherlands. Indeed, the United Nations had
completed its task finding a lasting and peaceful solution to a question,
which could have post a real threat to regional security and stability of
South East Asia. In affirming the successful outcome of this act of free
choice, UNGA resolution 2504 (XXIV) only took note of the result of the
New York Agreement in light of its bilateral nature while acknowledging
with appreciation the fulfillment of the Secretary General and his
representatives of the tasks entrusted to them under the Agreement of 1962
between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
In reflecting the overwhelming support of the international community,
the latter solution was adopted with 84 members voting in favor, none
against and 30 absence, as the entire process had met the requirements of
the New York Agreement. It should be recalled in this context the earlier
UNGA 1752 (XVII) had taken note of that instrument went authorizing the
Secretary General to carry out the task entrusted to him. The UNGA took
note of the Agreement as envisaged in the Article 1 of the Agreement which
says that ‘… Indonesia and the Netherlands will jointly sponsor a
draft resolution in the United Nations under the term of which the General
Assembly of the United Nations takes note of the present Agreement.
11. Is the claim of the Second Congress of Papua in June 2000 that
Irian Jaya has been independent since 1 December 1961 true?
Such a claim without foundation as the fact of free choice had already
been conducted in line with the provisions of the New York Agreement and
all parties, including the United Nations, played their respective roles
and fulfilled their responsibilities. In this regard it should be
reiterated that the UN General Assembly has noted the results of the act
of free choice through resolution 2504 (XXIV) and thus consideration on
this question cannot be renewed. The Dutch never recognized Irian Jaya as
a sovereign entity, a fact which was confirm in the proceedings of the New
York Agreement in 1962. Neither did they ask the other party to the
bilateral Agreement challenge its outcome. Irian Jaya as an integral part
of Indonesia occupies a status equal to the other provinces, its people
join political parties, participate in election and send representatives
to the Indonesian Parliament.
12. Considering the historical evolution and contemporary developments,
what is the most appropriate solution to the issue?
The issue of Irian Jaya has to be put in the right perspective that
Irian Jaya was an integral part of the Netherlands East Indies during the
Dutch colonialism. The Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945 as well
during the proclamation of Indonesian independence in 1945 the restoration
of Indonesian sovereignty through the transfer of authority from United
Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) to Indonesia and the
conclusion of the act of free choice solidified Indonesia’s territorial
sovereignty over Irian Jaya. Therefore, any solution to the issue must be
within the framework of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia. It
is important to stress that Indonesia is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural
and multi-linguistic nation with "unity in diversity" as its
model. It is therefore important to find common ground to bridge
differences among its peoples as differences are common in democratic
societies through out the world. One such way is to accord greater
autonomy to provinces, including Irian Jaya at the regional level so that
the people can improve their lives an assured access to the government.
Indeed, regional autonomy is destined to emerge as a unifying factor of a
diverse, united and democratic Indonesia.
Problems arising of the province of Irian Jaya has to be dealt with on
a national basis and the Government would view any attempt to disrupt
Indonesia’s sovereignty over Iran Jaya as interference in the internal
affairs of a sovereign state.
(Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United
Nations in New York, April 2001)