A dialogue initiated by Jakarta has recently been followed up by massive strikes at the Freeport gold mining site and third Papuan People’s Congress on the rights of the people and the future of Papua. The violence that erupted amid all these, however, is rooted elsewhere — not in Papua.
Papua may be viewed to have been the result of a series of historic fait accompli.
First, it was incorporated into the colonial edifice of Dutch-Indies only in the early last century. Next, it was put under the sovereignty of independent Indonesia, but this only materialized much later than the other parts of the republic.
As a result, like East Timor, Papua was not part of the processes of Indonesia’s nation-building when this reached its height from the 1940s to 1960s.
Lastly, Soeharto’s 30-year militarized state, which was the first to put Papua under Jakarta’s ef...