What Bob Marley says for West Papua


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    comment by Jason Brown 

    Avaiki Nius was started in Rarotonga in 1999 and the "Nius" part pays homage to the historical links between Avaiki and Papua, with our ancestors, including mine, serving across Melanesia, mostly with honour. They sing our songs, and songs of praise, to this day. 

    From a historical perspective, there is precedent for people from the Cook IslandsSamoaFrench Polynesia, and indeed, all of our Polynesian islands, to once again take positive action in salvation of our fellow Nesian sisters, and brothers. 

    Granting membership to West Papua at the Melanesia Spearhead Group is only a small step towards freedom for West Papua. But it is a deeply significant one, granting as it would potential for diplomatic immunities. And all that entails, including a rightful seat at the United Nations, next to Wantoks from the east.

    Opposition to MSG membership is immense. And worryingly close. In the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the MSG, its host country, Vanuatu, astonishingly, agreed to security exercises with Indonesian police forces. How many millions of vatu changed hands to extract this extraordinary outcome? These are the same police who are busy breaking their own laws, in a stolen country, applying a veneer of regional reform to their vulgarity. 

    Hence this petition. It is impossible to remain an observer when one's colleagues are being slaughtered for asking the 'wrong' questions. As is their God-given right, confirmed by countless global treaties, including hundreds signed by Indonesia. Rights that include freedom of choice, movement, speech and faith. As journalists, we retain the professional right to address common 'industry' issues. As outlined by the Pacific Freedom Forum, our leading concern is a deadly culture of impunity in West Papua, and industrial-scale slaughter; against which authorities in Jakarta might best regard this petition as part of a journalistic jihad, eternal. 

    Easy to cast this genocidal carnage as a matter of faith. Heathen Muslims against God-fearing Christians. Unfortunately, any heathenism on the part of Muslims is amply matched, no, exceeded by infidel savagery. West Papua is a vast treasure house of gold and copper, timber and oil. Muslim soldiers raping and pillaging people of West Papua do so on behalf of foreign companies from Christian countries, busy raping and pillaging the land. An American mining company announces "record profits" - think billions - hands dripping in Blood Gold.

    God bless America?

    Hard to reconcile that plea with the people of Papua, suffering horrific barbarity. What can be done? Globally, most people will have seen some news of rape and murder on a bus in New Delhi. Outcry across India draws on traditions of a man, of peaceful protest who, when asked by western reporters, what he thought of Western Civilisation, replied, "I think it would be a good idea."

    Time then, as the globe turns, for the Arab Spring to melt into an Island Summer, so that our ocean may truly be Pacific. Let us do it through our clicks, our emails, letters, chats, and turn those into songs of freedom.

    All islanders who danced a jig for Bob Marley's birthday these past two days will remember his one plea. 

    Say something.

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