We have recently been discussing your ongoing courageous struggle to liberate yourselves from more than 100 years of occupation, first by the Netherlands, briefly and brutally by Japan during World War II, and now by Indonesia. In that regard, we would each like to share a brief message with you, our friends from West Papua.
From James: I have been very impressed with the information gleaned from my son Robert Burrowes after his recent meeting in Brisbane with your leaders Octovianus Mote, Benny Wenda, Jacob Rumbiak and Rex Rumakiek of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
The work and dedication you have been devoting to the cause of freedom for West Papua has inspired me to recall my own experience with some of your ancestors during my 4 years with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during World War II, which included 21-and-a-half years as a coastwatcher. Ten months of this time was spent in enemy-held territory as a signaller.
I am 92 years old now, but in those days from 1942 to 1945 I was Sergeant James Burrowes VX136343 in ‘M’ Special Unit of the Allied Intelligence Bureau, known as the ‘Coastwatchers’. Our intelligence role for the war effort was described by Admiral Halsey, Commander of the US 7th Fleet, in these words:
‘Without the Coastwatchers, the Pacific War would not have been won!’
Therefore, in this context, I would like to briefly relate the contribution of some of your Papuan ancestors who were also coastwatchers, assisting and being part of parties infiltrated into Japanese-held territory.
Those I can name include Papuans known to us as Yali, Mas, Buka and Mariba although I can name many others such as Golpak, his son Kaole, Yauwika, Rayman and Ishmael. Some, including Sgt-Major
Simogun, are famous and were duly honoured with the British Empire Medal and/or Loyal Service Medal for their fighting service. I mention the first four named for a specific reason.
I recall one very notable incident when eleven coastwatchers paddled ashore in rubber crafts from a submarine at Hollandia (now Jayapura, the capital of West Papua) only to be wrecked by the surf, losing most of their equipment, before being ambushed by the Japanese. Five coastwatchers (including Papuans Mas and Buka) were killed and those remaining (which included the Papuans Yali and Mariba and the Indonesian known as Lancelot) somehow managed to escape and, after incredible hardship, later rejoined allied forces.
On a personal note, I am lucky to be here today. I was selected to go on that Hollandia venture but, at the last minute, the signaller Jack Bunning replaced me after recovering from sickness. He was one of the men killed! I am also lucky to be one of the handful of Australian coastwatchers still alive to tell our story.
I would be thrilled if any survivor or relative of any of the Papuans named is still able to connect with this experience from some 72 years ago.
I have included a photo of the Hollandia party (in which you will see the four Papuans), a photo of Sgt-Major Simogun, and two photos of myself from way back then and now.
I sincerely wish you the very best of success in your long-term struggle for independence.
You helped us to preserve the independence of Australia from Japan.
Best regards, Jim Burrowes
From Robert: When I was a child, each year my father would take me to the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne at the beginning of July. I would listen to an old man talk about the sinking of the Montevideo Maru, a Japanese prisoner of war ship that was sunk during World War II, killing all of the 1,053 Australian prisoners of war on board.
I would watch my aunt crying as this story was told.
One of the prisoners on this ship was my father’s older brother, Robert (Bob), who had been captured at Rabaul during the Japanese invasion on 22 January 1942. Bob was a member of the 34th Fortress Engineers of the Australian Imperial Force and had been responsible for installing guns at Praed Point in Rabaul Harbour.
Apart from his older brother, my father also lost his twin brother Thomas (Tom) during the war. Tom was a member of the RAAF’s 100 Squadron and the Beaufort Bomber on which he was a wireless airgunner was shot down over Rabaul on his first mission on 14 December 1943.
My childhood is dotted with memories of my uncles: wearing Bob’s war medals to school on ANZAC Day, going to the Shrine of Remembrance each year, and listening on those rare occasions when Dad talked about his brothers.
Sometimes, when asked, Dad would also talk about his own experience during the war. He was a member of ‘M’ Special Unit, a coastwatcher operating behind enemy lines in Japanese-occupied New Guinea.
Whenever he talked about his experience and the efforts of fellow coastwatchers, Dad would invariably mention their heavy reliance on the Papuans who also served as coastwatchers. In his words: ‘Without them there would have been NO Coastwatchers as they were the ones guiding us, carrying all our gear, building our thatched shelter, cooking, protecting us as sentries – you name it.’
In 1966, the year I turned 14, I decided that I would devote my life to working to end human violence. This is more than a life passion: It is why I live.
Just as Papuan ancestors helped my father and fellow coastwatchers to play a key role in defeating an occupying power, it is now my duty and great privilege to help the people of West Papua to defeat another one.
Robert J. Burrowes
[James Burrowes served in New Guinea during World War II. Jim’s war service and the death of his two brothers inspired Jim’s son Robert to seek and apply nonviolent ways to resolve conflict. Robert’s email address is email@example.com and his website is at http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com]
Coast watcher Sgt-Maj Simogun
Hollandia Party West Papuans and Aussies
James Burrowes 1942
James Burrowes 2016
A google translate of article in Jubi. Be-aware google translate can be a bit erratic.
2) RELATED ULMWP, POLICE CHECK THE START AND BONNY ENGEL Sorbet
Islami AdisubrataFeb 24, 2016
Bonny Start together Engel Sorabut when interviewed by reporters at the customary Honai-Jubi / Islami
Wamena, Jubi - Already three people checked Jayawijaya related to the inauguration of the Office of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) on February 15, 2016 in Wamena. At the same time also inaugurated Office of the Traditional Council of Balim Lapago region. The three men were questioned as witnesses is Bonny Mulait inauguration as Chairman of the Committee of Regional Indigenous Council Office Lapago, Engel Sorabut and Pieter Wanimbo.
If the called party Wanimbo Pieter Jayawijaya police for inspection on Saturday (02/20/2016), special Boni Mulait and Engel Sorabut examination carried out on Wednesday (24/02/2016) in Jayawijaya.
Bonny Mulait chairman of the committee inauguration honai tribal councils Balim region honai Lapago told reporters at the traditional council, on Wednesday (02/24/2016) explains, the first call made at the end of last week, because it has not been coordinated with the legal team, so he and Engel Sorabut make a letter to delay the examination.
"So today I and Mr. Engel Sorabut new faces and we were questioned as witnesses. In the examination, there are some questions submitted to me there were 23 questions related to ULMWP, "said Boni Mulait.
He explained that the police asked seputaran ULMWP office inauguration activities both on board manufacture their own customs office and the office also ULMWP.
"I explained to the council office development was implemented in the self indigenous communities of the three regions, namely the indigenous council Yali, and Lani Hubula. So that in five to six months of 14 days has been finalized and we agreed that the inauguration will be conducted on February 15, 2016, "he said.
He admits that, police also asked about the invitation letter issued from the chairman of the committee is the traditional council office development itself, concerning the composition of the inauguration of the office.
"I am responsible for the arrangement of the first prayer, the reading of accountability committee chairman, the third installation of nameplate traditional council offices and offices ULMWP, which are directly opened by Edison Waromi I said so," said Bonny Mulait.
There is also the question of invitees who those. "Then I told those present were traditional council chairpersons and sub-tribes are present in the activity. Essentially, there are 23 questions and we all answered, examination starting at 11:55 noon until three o'clock in the room Reskirm Jayawijaya and examination there is no compulsion, "he said.
The same thing is said Engel Sorabut, the questions posed to him as present in the activity because of what, what role, invited in the capacity of what, then know that besides the traditional council offices offices any more.
There are also questions directed ULMWP it's okay, then present anyone. "I submit that the present society, traditional council committee then apart from the outside who Lapago then I mentioned Mr. Markus Haluk and Edison Waromi," he said.
Then show how the police raises a question, also about the board ULMWP in Wamena who those. In fact, the key question why there ULMWP police in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
"I explained that there ULMWP at MSG was that Indonesia was also equally accepted as a member at MSG. There are a number of questions I answered everything I do not know I do not know the answer, "said Engel Sorabut.
Meanwhile Anum Siregar, who accompanied the two in the inspection explained that in this case and the examination of all witnesses will be in a damping of about 15 lawyers, which for the first two witnesses were examined, accompanied by four lawyers.
"We are from a coalition of NGOs, there ALDP, LBH and others. We will continue to improve the team, but this is an emergency, but the gentlemen were called after the letter of the second call, the first call to our own communications continue because they ask us damping so they gave the letter to the police station but must be accompanied by a lawyer, "said Anum.
"The lawyer's damping sata four Welis Doga from Wamena, Suhut Maduryanto, SH of LBH, Julius Lalaar, SH from LBH and myself. We will see whether the development of these three persons would be examined again we do not know, "added Anum. (Islamic)
Care for Victims Solidarity peaceful demonstration in the courtyard PTUN Palm Nabire Jayapura. (Photo: Delpiero Gobai / SP).
JAYAPURA, SUARAPAPUA.com --- Victim Care Coalition of Palm Nabire, Independent Student Forum (FIM) and the Forum Peduli Papua (FPP) title action in the Administrative Court Jayapura office urged the governor to revoke Decree (SK) of the Plantation Business Permit (IUP) No. 142 for oil palm on customary land Yerisiam, Nabire, Papua.
Action field coordinator, Alexander Mujijau, said it strongly rejected the PT. New Nabire devastating indigenous land Yerisiam Nabire to operate again. (Read: Coalition Urges Care for Victims of Oil Nabire PT. Nabire Soon 'Out'!).
"We will not stop here because we saw the company forced expansion of land and acreage for oil palm. And we will continue to fight together with the people, "he told suarapapua.com, Wednesday (24/02/2016) in Waena, Jayapura, Papua.
It asked the State Administrative Court (Administrative Court) Jayapura to run a trial process which was not defend one side.
"We asked that the trial is fair and the maximum," said Mujijau.
Meanwhile, the coordinator of the Forum Peduli Papua, Mario Yumte, said FPP asked the governor of Papua to revoke the operating licenses of PT. New Nabire issued by Suebu while serving as governor of Papua in 2008. (Read: Papua Governor Asked to Revoke Licenses Palm Oil Companies in Nabire).
"We asked that the permit should unplug the plantation business on December 30, 2008 to PT. New Nabire, "he said.