Thursday, July 23, 2015

1) Tolikara: Confront injustice against minorities at its roots -

2) Muslims, Christians reach  peace in Papua
3) Tolikara and the paradox  of tolerance
4) Tolikara conflict must be settled through legal process: VP Kalla
5) Intan Jaya Students Reject Freeport’s Subsidiary Managing Wabu Block
6) Freeport Made No Progress on Smelter Project

1) Tolikara: Confront injustice  against minorities at its  roots - 
Iwan Mucipto, Bogor, West Java | Opinion | Thu, July 23 2015, 6:46 AM -

News of Christians burning down a mosque on Idul Fitri, of course, makes a splash, and knee jerk reactions are predictable. There is anger clothed in religious terms and worry over a backlash getting out of control following the incident in Tolikara, Papua. 

People have not forgotten the civil war in Ambon, Maluku, that started with a fight between a Muslim thug, or preman, and a Christian public minivan driver. 

But what most people have overlooked is that this communal fight became the trigger for exploding ethnic tensions that had been building up for years, tensions exacerbated by Soeharto’s “Islamic card” policy upsetting the traditional balance between religions in the bureaucracy. 

The roots of the Ambon conflict, which started in 1999, were ethnic, and its religious dimensions the result of bad politics. 

Now, discrimination against indigenous Papuans is a dirty not-so-little secret, denied for the sake of national unity. The bad politics started during the New Order regime, when anyone defending tribal, community or cultural rights against the state and its crony capitalists was accused of being affiliated with either the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), Free Papua Movement (OPM), the anonymous rabble rousers (Gerakan Pengacau Keamanan/GPK) or the New Left, often followed up by arrest and torture of the “intellectual perpetrators”, to have them confess and leave them broken. 

Once I was in a village in Papua where a fight broke out among some villagers. The fight was stopped by three Papuan police officers, who then tried to stop soldiers who appeared to conduct an investigation. 

The officers, knowing that such an investigation could mean brutal treatment of “suspects”, insisted that the case was police jurisdiction and denied access to the soldiers, who did not look at the official National Police uniforms but at their ethnicity. 

The result of this confrontation was a shoot-out and a Papuan police officer being shot in the leg. 

The situation was saved by a Javanese activist who happened to be in the village. 

Indonesians have grown wary after two generations of witch hunts, mass murder, mob violence and ethnic cleansing ...
But just imagine, firing at a village with assault rifles because some Javanese soldiers could not accept the authority of ethnic Papuan police officers. None of the villagers were hit since they had immediately fled. 

In another village my guide introduced me to a toothless man — his teeth had been knocked out because he had protested logging on tribal land, at a time that the laws on local governments opened the door for investors to take over from whatever traditional, tribal or communal land rights existed before. 

So the man was automatically accused of being a member of OPM, arrested and beaten up to serve as an example to the community. 

Then some years later, while working for the Food and Agricultural Organization and doing a survey on coastal villages, I reported that in Jayapura, Papua’s capital, all trade was in the hands of South Sulawesi migrants who bought only from Sulawesi fishermen. Papuan fishermen trying to enter the market were boycotted. 

Restaurants also bought only from what a Bugis (of South Sulawesi) owner told me, “orang kita sendiri” (our own people). I also heard stories about the stupidity and primitiveness of the natives on a daily basis. 

The frustration and hatred toward the Papuans was palpable, but they were powerless. One professor at the local university once told me: “OPM? We’re all OPM here […]”

In other words, what I witnessed is what most open-eyed visitors to Papua can see: The indigenous people feel like second-class citizens and are already a minority on their own land. So what is the role of religion here? 

Religion is often related to the politics of identity. Religion is technically an aspect of culture and culture is what makes and unites a community, and in a larger context, a society. 

And talking about community and society, we are talking politics — which can be translated into who gets what and how much of it, and reversely, who gets the crumbs. This in turn relates to power, which according to Mao Tse Tung, grows out of the barrel of a gun. 

Of course, nowadays intellectual power is more decisive, but who gets to attend university? The last time I visited Papua, in 1999 for a social survey — again I was struck by the backwardness of provincial education. In other words, the Papuans are “opportunity poor”. 

One post-colonial fallacy is that colonialism is associated with the domination of a Western power over a non-Western population. 

Post-colonial regimes vehemently deny the oppression of their ethnic, religious and regional minorities. Oppressing Palestinians is wrong because Israelis are identified as “Western”. 

Oppressing Kurds, Berbers, Chaldeans, Assyrian, Copts, Tibetans, Dinkas, Misqitos and Penan etc. is not colonialism but legitimate nationalism, supported by the appropriate political myth legitimizing the hegemony of the ruling elites.

Another fallacy is that religion is just religion. Religions are belief systems, identity for social groups, ideologies of hegemony, moral teachings — and for some, a means to a political end. 

For the unwary, who only want to believe, religion may be the battle flag to mobilize them as cannon fodder for the power hungry, ideologues, plotters and schemers. 

But the present discourse on the Tolikara incident of July 17 on social media gives hope. Indonesians have grown wary after two generations of witch hunts, mass murder, mob violence and ethnic cleansing; only ushering in corrupt regimes and power elites. 

Of course, there are the comforting conspiracy theories blaming the Jews, the Illuminati or other evil aliens, but in their heart of hearts the people know that these are smoke screens to hide inconvenient truths. 

What we need is honesty; to admit that social injustice is perpetrated to ethnic and religious minorities and that conflict needs to be resolved by going to the root of the problem. 

Social conflict seldom can be explained by playing the blame game or solved by denial and repression, which only may create ill will, inherited over generations until it suddenly explodes in conflagrations that lay cities in ash and drives refugees over borders in the millions, creating more ill will to plague our species to the end of time. 

The writer holds a Master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Indonesia and a diploma degree in social ecology from Pitzer College in Claremont, California, the United States. - 


2) Muslims, Christians reach  peace in Papua
Nethy Dharma Somba and Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura/Jakarta | Headlines | Thu, July 23 2015, 4:30 PM - 

Muslim and Christian communities in Tolikara, Papua, reached a peace agreement on Wednesday following last week’s riot in which angered masses burned down several kiosks and the fire spread to a musholla (small mosque). 

Taking place at the Karubaga Military Command (Koramil) in Tolikara, leaders from the two communitues shook hands in the traditional pegunungan tengah way, in which the middle finger of a person is squeezed by the middle and fore finger of the other person and then tugged to create a sound. 

After shaking hands, they hugged each other as residents from the Muslim and Christian communities witnessed the truce agreement. The settlement was preceded by community work to clean up debris from last Friday’s fire.

The Muslim party was represented by Muslim preacher Ali Muchtar, while the Christian party was represented by Marthen Jingga and Nayus Wenda.

“Peace has been reached this morning at the Koramil office, where they [Muslim and Christian leaders] shook hands and hugged each other. The situation was calm and economic activity has returned to normal. The event took place for only two hours,” said Tolikara Regent Usman Wanimbo in Jayapura after visiting victims receiving treatment at the Dok II regional hospital on Wednesday.

During the reconciliation, Ali Mochtar appealed to other Muslims to refrain from making provocative statements. 

“Muslims in Java and Sumatra and other places should not take to revenge because positive measures have been taken as an alternative,” said Ali. 

Separately, six victims who were shot during the Tolikara incident in July are presently receiving treatment at the Dok II regional hospital in Jayapura. Three of them, identified as Perenus Wanimbo, 28, Keratus Kogoya, 30, and Yulianus Lambe, 28, who were all hit in the thigh, have undergone surgery.

Three others, Erendinus Jikwa, 21, Galibuli Jikwa, 50, and Amaten Wenda, 31, will undergo surgery on Thursday.

According to hospital director Yeremias Mzen, the gunshot victims must undergo surgery due to the shrapnel that is embedded in their wounds. 

Yeremias said that the bullets that hit them had likely ricocheted off other objects. “The bullets may have ricocheted and then hit the victims,” said Yeremias.

The six victims claimed that they were not involved with the group that set fire to the stalls, which in turn then spread to the musholla, but rather that they were only bystanders who were watching the incident from the sidewalk. Galibuli, who is hearing impaired, was standing on the sidewalk when he was hit by a bullet. The bullet lodged in his thigh and it came out by itself when he was at the hospital. 

Four other gunshot victims are presently receiving treatment at the Wamena regional hospital in Jayawijaya, and another victim is undergoing treatment at the Tolikara regional hospital. The deceased has been identified as Endi Wanimbo, 15.

Cenderawasih Military Command chief Maj. Gen. Fransen G. Siahaan was also seen visiting victims at the Dok II regional hospital.

Meanwhile in Jakarta, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will soon to host a dialogue between religious leaders, indigenous leaders and Papuan figures to ease tensions in Tolikara, and at the same time, restore trust among the people nationwide.

The plan was made following a meeting between Jokowi and a number of government officials, including Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti and Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, who discussed the Tolikara incident on Wednesday at the State Palace.

Gatot revealed that Jokowi also disbursed Rp 1 billion (US$ 74,418) in financial aid to help rebuild the kiosks and the musholla. 

“We will also build 15 more kiosks in addition to rebuilding the 70 kiosks [which were burned and destroyed during the incident] for the locals there,” he added. -

3) Tolikara and the paradox  of tolerance
Bonni Rambatan, Jakarta | Opinion | Wed, July 22 2015, 8:43 AM - 
Media reported that on Eid last Friday, GIDI, a Christian group in the Papuan regency of Tolikara caused a riot while trying to disband a group of praying Muslims, leaving one dead, over a dozen wounded and one mosque plus numerous shops burned to the ground.

There is a strange phenomenon in almost all of the critical reviews regarding the Tolikara incident. Most are quick to warn us how this should not be seen as merely a religious incident and look at the structural causes of violence: How living conditions in Papua are horrible, how many are marginalized, hence making a perfect breeding ground for violence and so on.

That’s fine, but why does the general public never speak of violence this way when the perpetrators are Muslims?

When Muslim fundamentalists commit violence, we mock them endlessly. 

My point, of course, is not that we should start calling the Papuans evil — conservative reactionaries have done this numerous times — but that we should not discriminate between what happened in Papua and other religious conflicts around the world.

I think that the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies of Gadjah Mada University, which stresses that this should not be seen as a larger part of national and global religious conflict, is wrong in this regard. 

If it has acknowledged that religious conflicts are never about religion, why shy away from placing the Tolikara incident in a global context of religious conflict?

Some would say that incidents like these are not about tolerance. But they are precisely about tolerance — recall the still-ongoing Rohingya incident and how fundamentalist leader Ashin Wirathu put it: “You can be full of kindness and love, but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog.”

Rather than being hypocritical, does this not paint the true face of tolerance today? 

We tolerate people who are different than us, as long as they stay out there, in the distance. People can grow beards, wear religious clothes and walk with their wives in black burqas, but we feel uneasy when they enter our malls.

Is this not also the logic behind GIDI’s acts? A full report of the incident said that a warning was given almost a full week in advance (which raises questions as to 
why security seemed so underprepared, but that is another can of worms) to carry out Eid prayers somewhere else. 

Aside from pointing at the marginalization and displacement of many Papuans and their struggles with immigrants and urbanization as a specific case, and denying the reality of vocal claims of religious tolerance at play in the conflict (i.e. “We will tolerate you if…”), then, I claim it would be much better to fold the former into the latter, and see that this is a problem inherent in the concept of “tolerance” itself.

For what is tolerance if not respect at a distance? And what is the world today if not a constant shift of goods, people and technology that, more and more, erodes distance and, with it, the possibility of a tolerant life?

 Yes, it’s true, religious conflicts are never about religion — in Papua or anywhere in the world. They are always about alienation and marginalization from causes other than religion. 

But they are also about a group of people trying to find meaning by fighting back a specter they have created for themselves.

We cannot deny that the creation of this specter has deep roots in religion and other signifiers of difference, and therefore has everything to do with tolerance/intolerance dynamics. 

It is precisely for this reason that we must place the Tolikara incident in the bigger picture of global religious conflicts, next to Rohingya, Reclaim Australia, and, yes, even the more terroristic ones such as Boko Haram and the IS (Islamic State) movement.

Although it is undeniable that the normalized structural displacement of the people in Papua has contributed significantly to making it a fertile breeding ground for conflict and that religious and cultural norms often play a part in extinguishing these conflicts, it is also hard to deny that these conflicts are almost always pregnant with religious and cultural fundamentalisms.

After all, when structural causes cannot be expressed because we keep saying the common people will never understand the complexities of banks and corporations, what choice do we have but to express it in such fundamentalisms?

Yes, we should look at structural causes, but that should not make us shy away from the issue of tolerance and its paradoxes. The two are always already inextricably linked in this only language of unfreedom that we have.
Religious conflicts are never about religion — in Papua or anywhere in the world.
The writer runs the online publication Southeast Asian Social Critique.
4) Tolikara conflict must be settled through legal process: VP Kalla
Kamis, 23 Juli 2015 21:15 WIB 
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The conflict that occurred on Friday, July 17, in Karubaga District, Tolikara, Papua, must be settled through legal steps, stated Indonesian Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla.

"The dispute will not end if everyone continues to retaliate in other cities," the vice president noted here on Thursday in connection with the conflict.

Kalla affirmed that Indonesia has several laws in place, and all citizens must abide by them.

"We are a law-abiding state, and we must punish whoever violates the law," Kalla affirmed.

According to Kalla, all local regulations that are not in accordance with the laws and legislations implemented in Indonesia should be revoked.

The vice president stated that the incident was related to Tolikaras regulation on worship procedures.

"To gain approval to implement a local regulation, the proposal must be sent through the district chief to the governor and then to the central government through the Ministry of Interior Affairs. It will not be imposed if it is not approved by the central government," Kalla noted.

Earlier, Tolikara District Chief Usman Wanimbo confirmed the existence of local regulations that ban the construction of places of worship other than the Gospel Church in Indonesia (GIDI), as it was the first place of worship to be built in the area.

Any activities and places of worship that are allowed to exist in the Tolikara region are of the GIDI only.

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo stated on Wednesday that he has not received any reports on local regulations governing worship procedures.

"Only about 70 regulations are still in place out of the 139 regulations that have been examined by the Ministry of Home Affairs. No single regulation is related to (ordinances of worship) religion in Tolikara," added Tjahjo.
5) Intan Jaya Students Reject Freeport’s Subsidiary Managing Wabu Block
Jayapura, Jubi – A student group in Intan Jaya has rejected plans by PT. Freeport Indonesia to run a subsidiary to operate in Intan Jaya Regency.
“The company is planning to operate in Wabu river area. We reject any attempt to bring a company here,” the Independent Student Community of Somatua  (KOMISI)  Coordinator of Homeyo Sub-district, Omiel Zagani, told reporters in press conference held at Expo Waena, Jayapura City on Tuesdya (21/7/2015).
The students urged the government to facilitate hearing with relevant parties including the company, local government, customary people and land tenure owners to discuss their concern and expectations.
“We ask for hearing before the government issue the operating permit for the company. The company might be operated but the hearing must be conducted in prior to listen people’s opinion,” said Zagani.
A student Salmon Selegani similarly said he strongly resist the government’s plan except it conducts public hearing involving local community and related parties who have concern to Intan Jaya’s gold.
“Without hearing, we’re afraid Intan Jaya’s people would get same experience as Mimika’s residents becoming object of PT. Freeport Indonesia. Intan Jaya is small region, where would we go?” said Selegani.
Meanwhile, Intan Jaya senior student Rufinus Yapugau said the rejection over the government’s plan is realistic since there are many things have not yet fulfilled, such as local human resources in Intan Jaya are not ready yet to manage their natural resources.
“We strongly reject the company to operate in Intan Jaya. We demand the government to accommodate and prepare the local human resources, thus the native youngsters could manage it. Do not just bring the investors in,” he said.
He further said the students had information that four companies affiliated to PT. Freeport are planning to operate in Intan Jaya Regency, namely PT. Irian Mineral, PT. Indika Energi Minera Tbk, and PT. Maneserve, PT Nusa Jaya.
According to him, these companies would operate after the Provincial and Regional Government negotiated with Central Government to decide Wabu Block as operating area.
“One of PT. Freeport Indonesia’s commitments about contract sustainability with the Indonesian Government is the gold mining operation at Wabu Block,” he said. (Mawel Benny/rom)

6) Freeport Made No Progress on Smelter Project
Jayapura, Jubi/GeoEnergy – PT. Freeport Indonesia has made no progress in materializing the MoU with the Indonesian Government concerning to smelter project.
The smelter is very important at that point. Besides the fact it is the Mining Law’s mandate, its presence would definitely become an added value for Indonesia because it could clearly confirm the total number of gold and other minerals transported by PT. Freeport to outside of Indonesia.
“It should be an assumption that PT. Freeport has cheated Indonesia on the report of minerals transported from Papua, because we never knew the exact number of mineral exploited and transported by Freeport. Thus, the presence of smelter becomes very crucial to immediately be implemented. Do not cover this obligation by exaggerating the information that Freeport has given back the block area rich of gold to Indonesia. Do not provide the public with manipulative issues. The area handover was referred to the Mining Law. So their obligation to build smelter shouldn’t be covered with this news,” the Executive Director Energy Watch Indonesia Ferdinand Hutahaean on official statement last week.
He further said the government through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources should have made a priority on this case. Do not manipulate the information to the public. After decades we never took the real benefit from Papua and now under the President Jokowi, it should be a significant change.
“Jokowi must warn the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources for not being constraint to Freeport while its export permit would be ended in the end of this month. The Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources should give serious attention on this case, even though the permit must be extended in the end of this month, it is important that Freeport should be charged with 15% export tax on concentrate export,” said Hutahaean.
Meanwhile, in connection with Freeport’s operational management, the President Director of PT. Freeport Indonesia Maroef Sjamsoeddin recently told reporters in Jakarta that PT. Freeport Indonesia has agreed about the increase of royalty on mining commodity, namely copper from 3.5 % to 4%, gold from 1% to 3.75% and silver from 1% to 3.25%.
Additionally, Freeport also agreed about share divestment that increase from 9.36% to 30% and expected the divestment is conducted through initial public offering (IPO). Even, the utilization of domestic goods and services would also be increased from 71% to 90%. Freeport also claimed the 35% corporation income tax of net profit should be charged is remain the same while Indonesian corporations should pay 25% of income tax according to the Income Tax Law.
According to Maroef, during 42 years operating in Indonesia, Freeport has given direct and indirect contribution to Indonesia and Papua. In the period of 1992-2014 or 22 years operating, Freeport’s direct contribution to Indonesia was USD 15.7 billion and its indirect contribution reached USD 29.5 billion.
“Direct contributions are including taxes, royalties, dividends and additional costs. Meanwhile the indirect contributions are including salaries and domestic purchasing fees, regional development and domestic investment. Taxes and other retributions received by the government from Freeport for 22 years are USD 12.8 billion, dividends USD 1.3 billion and royalties USD 1.6 billion,” revealed Maroef. (*/rom)


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