1) Causes Unclear in Fatal Papua Clashes Robertus Isidorus | March 21, 2013
Six people have died in a clash between two ethnic groups that started on Friday around Freeport Indonesia’s Tanggul Tengah mining area in Papua.
The conflict occurred around a river bank at Freeport’s Mile 34-35 area, said Freeport head of communications Daisy Primayanti.
She said the company believed those participating in the conflict were illegal miners and the dispute centered on access to mining areas.
“We are saddened by the incident that resulted in six civilians killed. Until now the company’s internal security officers and the police are still working together to monitor the situation to prevent the clash from happening again,” Daisy said on Wednesday.
But based on reports by news outlet Gatranews, the cause of the clash between the two Papuan ethnic groups, the Damal and Key clans, remains unclear.
“Although the situation in the city of Timika was conducive [to peace], people were advised to not go out to the Kwamki Lama area and were advised to remain cautious,” said an anonymous source quoted by Gatranews, referring to the still-tense situation on Sunday.
According to one report, two Damal group members from Kwamki Lama went to the area to check on animals traps they had installed.
Soon after, 30 people arrived at the scene and accused the men of stealing goods from the Key clan.
The accusation led to an argument and later the duo were mobbed by their accusers.
One of the men escaped the scene and returned with dozens of men from the Kwamki Lama area to help with the dispute.
The men who arrived were equipped with weapons, escalating the conflict.
But according to a separate report, the incident stemmed from an earlier conflict between the groups over mining locations.
The six people killed in the violence have been identified as Fitron, Etimus Mom, Rusli Rizal, Namura, Syamsul and Yosep Watfian.
The bodies of Rusli and Etimus were discovered on Saturday at miles 32 and 34, respectively. Rusli’s body was discovered with serious arrow wounds.
Yosep’s body was found b y Yuli Mangera, a local resident who was doing road construction. Yuli discovered Yosep with an arrow stuck in his body.
Yuli reported his discovery to the Kuala Kencana Police who immediately sent a forensic team to the location to identify the body.
Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr I Gede Sumerta Jaya said on Tuesday night that Yosep’s body had been taken to the Mimika regional hospital for an autopsy.
Some of the victims died after being hit by poison arrows, while others sustained serious blows from blunt objects.
Local authorities are still investigating the cause of the clash.
A disputed mining area had reportedly been set ablaze by the disputing parties.
Freeport’s copper and gold mining areas in Papua have been the backdrop for numerous violent clashes since 2009.
In November 2011, eight illegal miners were shot and killed by police for encroaching Freeport’s mining site in Paniai.
Indonesia probably deserves every single criticism in the latest Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, which highlights governmental negligence and even complicity in the persecution of religious minorities.
The report opens with a graphic first person account of an Ahmadi who was stripped, robbed of his belongings, faced an attempted genital mutilation yet managed to get away with “only” a stab to his left eye.
The report consist of a no-holds-barred naming and shaming of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), the Islamic People’s Forum (FUI), the Indonesian Muslim Communication Forum (Forkami), Hizbut-Tahrir Indonesia and the Islamic Reformist Movement (Garis) as hardliners that participate in and/or support persecution of minorities they call “infidels” and “blasphemers”.
Suryadharma Ali’s Religious Affairs Ministry was repeatedly mentioned in the report by the New York-based organization. The report went further, claiming that Yudhoyono is “part of the problem” due to his passivity that had emboldened militants.
A previous report noted the possibility of these intolerant anti-vice groups being recruitment pools for terrorists. Political observers are all too aware of the increasing role of political Islam within secular-nationalist parties like the Democratic Party, who deliberately attempt to appeal to the anti-pluralists.
Terrorist attacks were the only area where the government was fairly successful in protecting religious minorities — just as the most influential Muslim groups demand the Special Detachment 88 be disbanded.
It is sometimes argued the intolerance is more of a cultural phenomenon than a political one, but I believe intolerance lies in the realm of public morality where the cultural can influence the political and vice versa. Moral distinctions that are cultural can be incorporated into laws. These laws encourage intolerance, constructing it as lawful behavior.
The 2008 Anti-Pornography Law was probably the first open battle for public morality, the 2008 Joint Ministerial Decree its first major loss, and Lhokseumawe’s sharia-inspired bylaw forbidding women to straddle motorcycles is the embarrassing joke that Indonesia ends up with.
A feminist critique highlights the deficiencies of sharia bylaws, and criticizes the intellectual basis of such policies. Proponents of the bylaws, blame media sensationalists and shadowy international interests in creating public villains, blame the stampeding of Indonesia’s new middle class in electronic herds, and blame concealed political interests for blowing the issue of intolerance out of proportion. Government officials simply brush off the issue of intolerance as “naïve”.
Today, any mention of public morality reeks of hypocrisy and is tainted by local political elites manipulating it to push through sharia-inspired agendas or to achieve short-term political gain or popularity — usually at the expense of women, ethnic and religious minorities. Public morality was also problematic in the recent ASEAN declaration of human rights.
Public morality plays an extremely important role in nation-building. The public morality of how women straddle their motorcycles in Lhokseumawe, for example, might not have any significant social or economic consequences to ordinary Papuans, but it is an extremely potent political symbol of what the Indonesian ruling class believes and stands for. It is a matter of principle, a common moral compass, and a shared “moral blanket” for the nation.
Unfortunately, small blankets reveal everything else when you pull them up to cover your face. Public morality’s heavy focus on the crotch-related issues of prostitution, extramarital cohabitation, abortion, nudity and pornography is repressive of women. The number of Indonesian regulations discriminating against women has nearly doubled from 154 bylaws in 2009 up to 282 bylaws in 2012.
However, when not obsessed with genitalia, public morality tackles important questions of racial segregation, ethnic discrimination, war, humanitarian interventions and the distinction between corruption and acceptable political fund-raising.
Crimes against religious minorities also climbed from 299 cases in 2011 to 371 cases in 2012. Religious minorities’ places of worships are dismantled, forcibly closed and criminalized under the rhetoric of public order and morality.
Facing the “tsunami” of sharia bylaws and local demographic transitions, West Papua capital Manokwari declared itself a gospel city. Many Papuans continue to question their place within the so-called secular Indonesian republic.
Public morality debate generates a high degree of public participation. Since the debate is about abstract first principles, everyone considers themselves seasoned experts with valid opinions. The debate also enables the wider public to participate due to its non-technical and non-scientific nature.
Although Indonesian elites and lawmakers cannot consult the public in every aspect and detail of government, the moral preference of their constituents can be deciphered through public morality debates. National elites and lawmakers can then consult these moral preferences in making decisions and designing regulations. However, problems arise when local elites use public morality entirely as a substitute for intellectual and technical expertise in formulating sound policies — sometimes imposing their version of “universal” morality on the public.
Lastly, public debate on “moral distinctions” may take decades, if not centuries, to settle. Indonesia is no older than most of our grandfathers, therefore, public morality is still being contested both in rhetoric and practice. The public morality of slavery in the US, for instance, took centuries and a bloody civil war to settle. The same can be said of racial segregation in South Africa.
In my opinion, Indonesia’s public morality is mainly constructed by moral condemnation. Indonesia is constructed as a political entity that is (1) sovereign, (2) secular, (3) firmly unitarist and (4) adheres to a market economy. This construction was achieved mainly through the moral condemnation of European imperialism, the DI/TII Islamist aspirations, the PRRI/Permesta federalist rebellions and the 1965 communist purge.
Reconstructions of public morality can and will occur. However, the basis for public morality must stretch from Aceh to Papua. Religion, as decided by our nation’s founding fathers, failed to make the final cut.
The writer is executive director of the Marthinus Academy.
3) Indonesia to Buy More Russian Jet Fighters, Patrol Ships March 20, 2013
Indonesia plans to buy more than a dozen Russian Sukhoi fighter jets and domestically made, missile-equipped patrol ships as part of a $15 billion five-year campaign to modernize its military, defense officials said on Wednesday.
Southeast Asia’s largest economy has sharply increased its defense budget since 2010 as the military looks to bolster its capacity to protect shipping lanes, ports and maritime boundaries.
Indonesia is also wary of being left behind as China, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and other Asian nations ramp up defense spending.
Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said Indonesia wanted to buy a full squadron of the Sukhoi fighter jets and the patrol boats.
He also warned delegates at a military conference that rapidly increasing military spending and stronger defense capabilities in the region could sow distrust and fuel rivalry.
“If this is not accompanied by enhanced transparency that improves trust and confidence, it could run the risk of an arms race that adversely impacts on peace and stability,” he said.
Another Indonesian military official said the plan was to buy as many as 16 more Russian Sukhoi fighter jets, 17 patrol vessels, three light frigates and an undisclosed number of tanks and missiles.
Indonesia also planned to upgrade a squadron of US-made F-16s. Indonesia already has more than 10 Sukhoi jets.
Last October, the Defense Ministry said it was set to buy 130 Leopard 2 tanks from Rheinmetall AG of Germany worth a total of $280 million.
Indonesia, a vast nation of islands with key sea lanes and 54,700 km of coast, has also ordered three submarines from South Korea to expand its fleet to five.
Defense spending in 2012 stood at Rp 72.5 trillion ($7.54 billion), up 30 percent from 2011. It is expected to rise to Rp 77.7 trillion in 2013. Reuters