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The consequences of Friday's peaceful protest
Vanuatu Daily Post - December 5, 2017
Chants of 'Free West Papua' and 'Papua Merdeka' rung on a Friday afternoon as an orchestra of arbitrary symphonies tagged along; from string bands to little horns, the Morning Star Flag waived side by side the National colours as the protest gained in numbers on its way to Crow's Nest area for the handover of an official West Papuan headquarters in the country.
However, with such events, one can only imagine the dreadful repercussions it would have on the indigenous people in West Papua.
In an interview with Yamin Kogoya, a member of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, he mentioned that they are fully aware of the consequences of their actions but "it is a risk that we have to take".
"We know that every time that we do this kind of event, more lives in Papua are at risk, and there's more violence, imprisonments, and also deaths, this is the retaliation from the Indonesian state, the Indonesian military forces. We are fully aware of the repercussions and the consequences of these sort of actions of these events, but this is a brave action that we have to take to the world, if we do not take this sort of risk, then in the next 10 to 20 years there will not be a single Papuan alive in Papua," Mr. Kogoya alleged.
Many who leave West Papua, don't usually return, but for Daniel Randongkir and Menase Tabuni, members of ULMWP who left for West Papua on Saturday after the protest, are returning without an ounce of fear and expect to be severely disciplined by the Indonesian Military.
Mr. Tabuni explained that he is aware of how dangerous it would be returning but isn't afraid – "Yes very dangerous, but we experience this generation to generation, so why fear now? We are fighting the truth, one day the truth will defend itself".
Mr. Randongkir added: "Maybe they can arrest me or shoot me, we don't care, we are committed to the struggle, we give our life to the struggle."
A David and Goliath feat lays ahead for the West Papauns, after 56 years of determined and motivated protest, the voice of the movement is only growing stronger.
Although it may seem like they are fighting a losing battle; the question was tossed at ULMWP member Mr. Kogoya to which he replied, "It's like an elephant fighting an ant, if an ant gets into the elephant's ears for long, at the end the elephant will give up".
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