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Jakarta Post

Commentary: Nationalism: Poisoned chalice or panacea for Indonesia?

  • M. Taufiqurrahman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, August 23 2019   /  12:27 am

In the wake of the latest conflagration in Papua, many were quick to surmise that racism was at the heart of the problem, especially after evidence found that protesters who targeted Papuans in East Java hurled the word “monkey” as an insult to Papuan students alleged to have refused to celebrate the country’s 74th Independence Day. The racial epithet appeared to have confirmed the long-standing belief that Papuans have long been targeted with negative stereotypes and racial abuse mostly because of their skin color. But reducing the long-standing persecution against Papuans to a simple problem of racism ignores the larger context of why the injustice persists, why suspicion lasts and why tension remains between the central government and Papuans. This is not to underestimate the role that racism plays in our relationship with Papuans or to downplay the fact that racism does exist i...