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Jakarta Post

Commentary: Blaming provocateurs ignores voice of Papuans

  • Evi Mariani

    Managing editor at The Jakarta Post

  /   Tue, September 10 2019   /  12:16 am

Indonesians love conspiracy theories. In 1999, I spent two months in Ambon, Maluku, just as a religious conflict between Muslims and Christians flared up. I spent most of the time taking refuge among Christians, but I had the chance to meet Muslims too.Both communities had similar theories: The conflict was not caused by the people themselves but by agents provocateurs. “We were living in harmony,” one said. “Christians and Muslims here lived side by side in peace for decades, no problem at all,” another one said. “It’s people from outside the community that provoked the conflict, not us,” they said. There was also one theory involving a certain institution and its lust for the region’s mineral resources. And yet, I heard enough about animosity between the two groups. Granted, I heard more badmouthing of the other side from the Christian community because that was where I...