Tuesday, May 14, 2013

1) Four Rescued From Freeport Mine Collapse, 32 Still Trapped

1) Four Rescued From Freeport Mine Collapse, 32 Still Trapped

2) Officials Downplay Papua Separatist’s Overseas Appeals

3) From Papua to Paris; the Bag Fight

4) Father Neles Tebay: The Noken is a Source of Knowledge


1) Four Rescued From Freeport Mine Collapse, 32 Still Trapped

[Updated at 7:08 p.m.]
Four workers have been pulled alive from a tunnel which caved in Tuesday at a mine in remote eastern Indonesia but police said 32 were still trapped underground.
The accident happened at Freeport-McMoRan’s Grasberg, one of the world’s biggest gold and copper mines which has been hit by a string of problems including a major 2011 strike that affected production.
“The roof of the tunnel suddenly collapsed at 7:45 a.m. and 32 workers were trapped. The landslide occurred at the entry point of the Big Gossan tunnel area. There is a possibility that the evacuation process can be done on the other side of the tunnel,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster and Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said on Tuesday.
Sutopo added that the search and rescue team managed to evacuate four workers from the tunnel, but their condition is still unknown.
Local police chief Jermias Rontini told AFP that he was not hopeful for those still trapped. “In the past, similar tunnel collapses caused fatalities as people who were trapped couldn’t get enough oxygen.”
Indonesian news portal Tempo.co reported that most of the trapped workers were still undergoing training.
The Indonesian subsidiary of US firm Freeport said the tunnel collapse happened in an underground training area, adding that the rescue was “difficult and will take some time to complete”.
The company said it did not expect production to be affected.
It did not disclose the nationalities of those involved in the accident, although the vast majority of the more than 24,000 workers at the mine are Indonesian. Neither police nor Freeport said why the accident happened.
The 2011 strike lasted three months and crippled production, only ending once the firm agreed to a huge pay rise.
The industrial action sparked a wave of deadly clashes between police and gunmen around the mine, with at least 11 people, all Indonesians, killed.
Earlier this month some 1,100 workers employed by Freeport contractors staged a three-day strike over pay but it caused only minimal disruption to production.
Additional reporting by AFP



2) Officials Downplay Papua Separatist’s Overseas Appeals

By Ezra Sihite on 12:00 am May 15, 2013.

Military chief of staff Agus Suhartono has sought to downplay Papuan separatist Benny Wenda’s activities overseas, saying he is not worried because the firebrand activist is getting little support from Papuans at home.
The Papuan independence leader recently roused the ire of Indonesian politicians following a talk he gave at a TEDx conference in Sydney in which he advocated freeing Papua’s people from Indonesian control. TEDx conferences are independently organized, volunteer-driven local events designed to stimulate dialogue. Its forums are devoted to the mission of “spreading ideas,” according to the website of TED, which licenses its brand.
Speaking at the Presidential Office in Jakarta on Tuesday, Agus urged domestic media to not “blow up” news about Wenda’s activities. He said the military receives frequent intelligence reports about separatist movements and shares them with the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
“The Foreign Affairs Ministry has to handle this really well,” he added.
Agus said Wenda’s accusations of human rights violations in Papua were misleading. Agus said he would prepare accurate data to counter the accusations.
Wenda has accused the Indonesian government of human rights violations against the people of Papua.
“The facts are not like that,” Agus said. “[Wenda and others] presented the wrong data. We will prepare the real data to help the Foreign Ministry. Let the Foreign Ministry explain everything.”
Not worried, but still watching
Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Nadjib Riphat Kesoema said the embassy in Canberra monitored the activities of Wenda and his lawyer Jennifer Robinson when they appeared at the May 4 TEDx forum in Sydney.
“I don’t think we should worry about it. They didn’t get wide public attention,” Nadjib was quoted as saying by detik.com on Monday.
Nadjib said that the Australian government has firmly stated its support for Papua as part of Indonesian territory.
Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro also played down Wenda’s efforts to attract foreign support on Tuesday.
“They have asked neighboring countries to take a stance against Indonesia, but they haven’t been effective,” Purnomo said.
Purnomo said Indonesian embassies around the world continue to monitor Wenda’s movements.
He added that recent events may serve as a wake-up call for the government, which he said should start intensifying diplomacy overseas.
“We have also tried to keep this issue from creating a stir on the international scene to prevent it from becoming a triggering factor for international intervention,” Purnomo said.
Strategic surprise
Jonah Weyah, a spokesman for the Free Papua Organization (OPM) Military Council of National Defense, said he was unaware of Wenda’s activities overseas.
Jonah added that OPM was likewise unaware of Wenda’s recent Sydney appearance that upset Jakarta officials.
“That’s Benny Wenda’s diplomatic affairs. We, from the Military Council, are more focused on the domestic West Papua [freedom] movement,” he said on Monday.
Jonah believes Wenda’s appeals in Sydney are a strategic step toward the movement’s long-term goal of gaining broad support.
“It was planned. There’s no way he would have attended it without planning it. But to be honest, we don’t know what his next move will be,” Jonah said.
West Papua National Parliament chairman Buchtar Tabuni said that their struggle will continue both overseas and at home.
“Yes, that’s right. The struggle overseas continues to go on and our activities in Papua will also continue,” he said.
Buchtar declined to elaborate on details of OPM’s overseas plans.
Measuring their response
Marzuki Alie, speaker of the House of Representatives, urged the Foreign Ministry on Monday to take a stronger stand against domestic separatist groups operating overseas, arguing that the country’s reputation and sovereignty are at stake.
Marzuki said the ministry should lodge a formal protest with the government of Australia. “The Foreign Ministry, as the spearhead of diplomacy overseas, has to improve its performance,” Marzuki said.
Tjahjo Kumolo, a member of House Commission I, which oversees foreign and defense affairs, agreed that the government should raise the issue with the Australian government.
“I think the Foreign Ministry needs to lodge a protest with Australia if Australia acted to protect Wenda and the speech,” he said on Monday.
Allowing Benny into Australia was inconsistent with Canberra’s stated aim of nurturing close ties with Jakarta, Tjahjo said. He warned that bilateral relations could be undermined by the incident.
“Australia and Indonesia have stated their commitment to forge stronger ties,” the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) legislator said.
According to his website, Wenda, who lives in Oxford, England, was granted political asylum by the British government following his escape from custody while on trial for murder and arson in Abepura, West Papua.
In August 2012, Wenda celebrated the removal of an Interpol red notice issued in 2011 at the Indonesian government’s request, seeking his arrest and extradition.
Wenda’s organization operates from offices in Oxford and in Germany, and lobbies internationally for Papuan independence.
Despite Indonesia’s insistence that the move was purely a legal matter, legal campaigners labeled the move as political. “They must think that this is the only way to stop me, because I am telling the truth,” Wenda said at the time.
The recent opening of the Oxford office was a source of diplomatic friction.

TUESDAY, 14 MAY, 2013 | 16:14 WIB
3) From Papua to Paris; the Bag Fight
Mama Juliana, an Amungme woman from West Papua, takes her noken bag everywhere she goes. When Tempo met her on May 1, Juliana hung it over her head, the way it's meant to be carried. The bag, made from tree bark, was so bit it dangled down to her waist. Though thin, it can hold up to 30 kilograms. "I made it myself," Juliana said. 
Konstantina Maniani, who comes from Serui, also takes pride in her noken. She said it was important for Papuans to use it. "So the Papuan tradition and identity do not vanish away," said Konstantina, 36.She lamented the fact that many in the younger generations have taken to more modern bags instead.
Indeed, use of the noken is declining. Since the 1990s, most Papuans have been using nylon to knit or weave their pouch. According to activist Korneles Siep, 42, several factors have contributed to the noken's petering out. Not only are less people are knitting and weaving, but the particular type of tree whose bark is used to make the noken has become difficult to find. People have also can buy mass-produced bags at cheaper prices.
The noken is more than just a bag, said Titus Pekei, a cultural conservationist. It has to do with Papuans' very survival as a people. For example, he said, when a man is carving statues in the forest, he puts his lunch in the noken. Mothers carry their babies, piglets and crops with thenoken. When Papuans elect a tribal chief, they use the noken as a ballot box.
The noken is one of the things that unite all the people of West Papua, Titus said. All of its 250 tribes use it, he added, and it would be a shame if it faded away. "Younger generations no longer understand the relationship between the noken and safeguarding of our lives," said Titus, 38.
That's why Titus works to preserve and promote the noken. His efforts have not been in vain. On Dec. 4, 2012, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) added the noken to its "List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding."
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which proposed that the noken be nominated, said it valued Titus' contribution. "We should praise him because he is the pioneer," said Harry Waluyo, former head of Center for Cultural Research and Development (Kapuslitbangbud), a division of the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
More on this article is available on this week's edition of Tempo English

4) Father Neles Tebay: The Noken is a Source of Knowledge
In early 2012, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recognized the noken, a traditional Papua bag, as a world cultural heritage that needed urgent attention, for the culture of noken-making among Papua's 250 tribes is fast disappearing.
Neles Tebay, a peace activist and Papua community leader confirmed this trend. Neles, who recently received the Tji Haksoon Human Rights Award from South Korea, said that the noken contains a valuable cultural value, which needs to be preserved. Tempo correspondent Jerry Omona met Neles at his office in the campus of the Fajar Timur Institute of Theology in Jayapura two weeks ago, to discuss the history and future of the noken, one of Papua's cultural icons.  Excerpts:
  What is the significance of the noken in the life of the Papuans?
Besides being a practical bag to carry things, philosophically the noken contains 'life's items.' We refer to it as a (symbol of) fountain of knowledge and thinking. There is meaning in the way it is made. For example, when the maker washes the knotted bottom part, he or she invokes a certain prayer, to plead for the strength to have only good thoughts.
Where does it stand in terms of tradition?
Some tribes use the noken as a symbol of initiation. Among the Mee tribal people, who live in the western part of Papua, when children reach the age of eight years, the elders will present them with nokens filled with 'wisdom, religious values and spiritual strength.' This ritual is usually done in the middle of the forest. To symbolize that they have gone through this initiation process, the children get a noken and a new name, In line with his or her character.
Why is it slowly disappearing?
The raw materials to produce it, like orchids and tree barks are becoming more difficult to obtain. Today, people must go deep inside the jungle to find them. In Painai, orchids used to grow in one's backyard, but not anymore. Besides, children spend a lot of time in schools, leaving them littletime to learn how to make a noken.
What should be done to conserve the noken?
The government must secure the continuing availability of the special thread by cultivating the orchid. This could motivate people to replant orchids in their backyards, so they no longer have to go far into the jungles to look for it. The government must also stop being a 'Santa Claus' who gives out money to the people. This creates a sense of dependency, causing them to shirk from work and stop making the noken.
More on this interview is available in this week's edition of Tempo English

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