Sunday, July 8, 2018


2) Indonesian Man Launches Air Charter Company in Oklahoma

West Papua activists stopped by police ·        
Police clarifies incident, action
09 July 2018

Local West Papua Activist Ben Didiomea, questioning members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) why they confiscated teh Morning Star flag.

THE issue of West Papua was under spotlight at the 6th MACFest in Honiara, when West Papua activists were told by the police to halt raising the Morning Star flag at the festival venue. 

Local outspoken West Papua activist Ben Didiomea claimed that we was being arrested by the police, when displaying the Morning Star flag in front of the Melanesian Provinces of Indonesia stall, at the MACFest village over the weekend. 

“Even though Solomon Islands Police arrested me today (Saturday) for raising the Morning Star flag in front of the Indonesian stall, I will never give up fighting for my Melanesian brothers and sisters of West Papua. 

“Know your identity,” Mr Didiomea posted this, on his Facebook wall. 

Didiomea and other freedom fighters from the Pacific gathered in front of the Indonesian stall to demonstrate their support for West Papuan as Melanesians of Indonesia, when they were approached by the police. 

It was reported that the group rallied in front of the stall to take photos with the Morning Star flag, when they were told to leave, by those that are manning the stall. 

A video that was posted on the social media exposed the drama on Saturday, when the police confiscated the flag from the group. 

The police told the group that the order to confiscate the flag was from the Police Commissioner, as their job is to provide security at the venue. 

When questioned why the flag was taken from them, the police responded that it already showed implications that something is not right. 

“This is a Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival, and our Melanesian brothers and sisters of West Papua need to be represented. 

“That is why we are rallying our support for them through this display, as true Melanesians. 

“They need our full support, in such a time like this where all Melanesians are coming together to share our cultural and traditional beliefs,” another activist commented.

Meanwhile, the Police Media Unit has issued a statement on Sunday, to clarify the issue at the MACFest and their actions towards the gathering, on Saturday. 

The statement said that, the Solomon Islands Government has invited the Government of Indonesia to participate in the 6th Melanesian Art and Cultural Festival being held at various venues in Honiara from 1 – 10 July 2018. 

“With the mandate to protect law and order and provide security in Solomon Islands, the RSIPF put in place an operational order to provide security during the MSG Leaders’ Meeting, the MACFest and the 40th anniversary of independence.

“The Order included: 

·        Providing security presence at all MACFest venues and other locations based on a risk assessment;

·        Conduct traffic management during the events;

·        Detect and investigate offences during the course of the events;

·        Respond appropriately to any escalating security issues; and

·        The Operation will adopt a “zero tolerance” stance to any criminal activities.

“As a result, the RSIPF put in place measures to ensure the safety of both members of the local community and visitor’s from other participating countries,” the police statement reads. 

It further stated that from daily reports, some drunken youths are entering the Indonesian stall and threatened to burn it down. 

Besides, some unknown people have climbed the flag poles at the Panatina venue and removed the Indonesian Flag, which is still missing at the moment. 

Therefore, the Police have decided to deploy some of its officers to the Indonesian stall. 

The statement also said that on 7 July 2018 at about 4 pm, some local supporters of the West Papua Freedom Movement arrived at the Indonesian Stall at the Melanesian Village and pulled up the Movement’s flag in front of the stall. This drew a large crowd to the Indonesian stall. 

“The RSIPF officers at the Indonesian Stall took the flag away from the West Papua Supporters and led them to the Police Post at the venue to tell them that the MACFest is not a political event but an arts festival where people should go and enjoy in a safe environment. 

“The officers took and led the leader of the local supporters of the West Papua Freedom movement into a police bus to get his contact details. 

“At no time did the RSIPF arrest the local leader of the West Papua supporters. The flag was taken away from them at the location to stop any provocation against the Indonesian delegation. 

“The flag was returned to the owner yesterday,” the police statement explained. 

Meanwhile, the RSIPF in the statement issued yesterday wanted to strongly advice members of the communities in and around Honiara to refrain from any activity that may cause harm to the peace of our nation.  

“Anyone who wants to disturb the peace will face the full force of the law,” it concluded.

2) Indonesian Man Launches Air Charter Company in Oklahoma
Bert Murib of Papua, Indonesia, launched his own air charter cargo company in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to help take more resources to Indonesia.
July 8, 2018, at 1:05 a.m.

By SIANDHARA BONNET, The Shawnee News-Star
SHAWNEE, Okla. (AP) — It's quiet in the back room at the Shawnee Regional Airport.
Aside from sniffling, the occasional air motor and a phone ringing, it's quiet.
Bert Murib, a native of Papua, Indonesia, wiped away his tears as he explained why he traveled about 8,350 miles to Shawnee, Oklahoma.
His tears may have stopped, but his motivation to help his people have a constant flow of food, clothes, resources and independence will never end.

Murib has been on a roller coaster journey trying to help his people stand on their own two feet. He said he was left with guiding words from his father, Chief Nokogi, to do so.
But Murib never met his father, he only knows him from a photo. When Murib's mother was pregnant with him, his father died. However, he left behind a will instructing Murib to help his people.
"I will do everything, I will give up my life for this responsibility," Murib said. "I live, I work, to serve my people."
To start this mission — one Murib feels is his mission from God — Murib began an air charter cargo company, since there's hardly any land transportation in Papua, the eastern province of Indonesia, the Shawnee News-Star reported.
Murib attempted to lease a helicopter from Russia to bring resources to villages in the mountains. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to get the proper permit from the Indonesian government and the plan fell through.
But he didn't give up.
With the help of Darrin Lofton, president of Pacific Air Holdings, a company that leases aircrafts and that's based in Shawnee, Murib was able to start anew.
Lofton met Murib on a business trip to Indonesia. A few companies expressed interest in leasing planes, so Lofton went to vet them.
"They're Indonesians, but they're not Papuan, they're not the native people," Lofton said. "Mr. Bert is a native Papuan and he's the first Papuan to own, to lease, an aircraft. We're excited about that."
As the two talked business, Lofton and Murib became close, learning about each other, their families and their history.
"It's usually business as usual in these transactions, but in this case, it's not. It's more than that," Lofton said. "We feel that it's an awesome opportunity at the same time doing business with someone."
In 2017, Murib and his company leased their first airplane from Pacific Air Holdings. Once they brought it back, the people hosted a huge celebration filled with prayer and dancing.
Now, Murib and Lofton are working on getting a second, and maybe third, aircraft to Indonesia to help take more resources into the mountains.
However, Murib knows flying resources to the villages isn't a sustainable, or realistic, way of life. Murib said he hopes to be able to train some of his people to work on planes.
"(That way I) can provide education training, skill training for those people, give them good training," Murib said. "(For) all Papuan people (to) become better men, that's my dream."
The second part of Murib's plan is to get his people education. He said that's one of the things Papuans lack.
"The first step is to make sure people eat healthy," Murib said. "After that, I really want to focus on education and make sure people become more independent. Turning them from famine, to livestock, to become more independent."
Leading up to World War II, Papua, not to be conflated with Papua New Guinea, was part of the Dutch East Indies. After the war, the Dutch wanted to hold onto Papua and argued it should be independent — the Indonesian government didn't agree.
After many conversations and documents through the early 1960s, the Dutch left Papua giving control to the United Nations.
According to John Saltford in "The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua, 1962-1969," since the Dutch left, "the Indonesian Government (had) done little or nothing until (1963) to develop the country or to give the Papuans any substantial economic development projects or any real degree of political participation."
The area was annexed by Indonesia and led to The Act of Free Choice — what some Papuans refer to as The Act of No Choice — where Papuans unanimously voted to integrate into Indonesia in 1969. After decades of authoritarian rule, the country transitioned to democracy in 1999. However, the area is still considered among Indonesia's poorest provinces, according to The New York Times.
The Times also reported that the area has been subjected to a long list of human rights official abuses including "arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, official corruption" and more.
In the 1950s areas of Papua were mostly pagan. The Dani tribe that lived there didn't have much in the way of clothes or agriculture and were cannibals, Murib said.
When missionary Gordon Larson visited, though, and began to preach the Gospel, the people changed.
Chief Nokogi was one of the first baptized by Larson and encouraged his people to follow Christ.
"After that preacher came and baptized his father, the whole thing changed," said Suria Lukiman, who acted as translator for Murib. "They have morals and all those kinds of things."
This happened again in 1957 when Larson and fellow missionary Don Gibbons spoke with Chief Den and his Damal followers.
According to Operation World, more than 90 percent of Papuans are officially reckoned as Christian.
Although the Dani people are no longer cannibals, they still don't have a firm grasp on working the land — they also don't have much in the way of livestock, or the knowledge on keeping livestock.
However, Murib said the Papuan people are pretty wealthy — they sit on the world's biggest gold mine as well as large amounts of copper, coal and other natural resources.
"Papua people are not poor at all, they're very rich," Murib said. "But they don't have the opportunity, they don't have the education, they don't have the training. That's why it's my mission to make sure they get well educated, well trained — so they can become independent just standing tall as everybody (else)."
Information from: The Shawnee News-Star,
An AP Member Exchange shared by The Shawnee News-Star.

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