Wednesday, May 8, 2019

1) Indonesian prosecutors demand jail for West Papuans found with weapons

2) What the world thinks is at stake in Australia’s election campaign
3) Why Jokowi wins in Papua: Cultural lens


1) Indonesian prosecutors demand jail for West Papuans found with weapons

The trial of Yakonias Womsiwor and Erichzon Mandobar in Timika district court. Photo: Facebook/ Veronica Koman

1:21 pm on 8 May 2019 
Indonesian prosecutors have demanded jail sentences for two West Papuans accused of possessing weapons.
Yakonias Womsiwor and Erichzon Mandobar were detained in September when authorities raided an office of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB).
According to their lawyer, Yakonias Womsiwor and Erichzon Mandobar were shot several times by security forces during the raid on the committee's Timika office.
They are being charged with disobedience against authority after weapons were found in the raid.
Prosecutors this week called for between one and two years jail for the defendants, who insist they are being framed by the military.
The trial continues today in the Timika district court.
Three other Papuans have been charged with treason after a separate December raid on the same Timika office.
Their lawyer, Veronica Koman has also filed a civil lawsuit against Indonesian police for more than $US80,000 in damages sustained to the KNPB Timika secretariat when police forcibly took control of the premises last December.

A Lowy Institute article on how a number of countries see Aussi election. Indonesian section below. 

2) What the world thinks is at stake in Australia’s election campaign


Four overseas views from near neighbours to distant friends on whether Australia’s contest much matters.

"But it is another story altogether with another neighbour, Indonesia. Having just gone through a ginormous election campaign of its own in recent months – see the Lowy Institute’s interactive graphic for the extraordinary details ­– there is little appetite for more election news bubbling up from down south. In fact, journalist Febrina Firdaus believes Indonesians pay scant attention to Australia’s election at all, “except if we are living, working, or studying in Australia.”
It is because Indonesians and Australians are not politically connected. But I do believe Indonesians are aware about the election schedule and the result. But not more than that.

Perhaps it is because both Indonesia and Australia rarely share any stories about elections, more about tourism. When we talk about the relationship between Indonesia and Australia, we always end up talking about Bali, for example.

Then it comes to refugees. As you know, Indonesia is a transit country and often in the past refugees have entered Australia with the help of Indonesians. That usually becomes the headline to connect both countries. It leaves Indonesians feeling that Australian politics is not really significant to them, even though, for the Indonesian government, Australia is important as a strategic neighbour – as important as Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Surprisingly, Indonesians are now is more aware with what happens in New Zealand after the shooting attack. I think the Islamophobia issue is connected to both countries.

I think the other topic that is generally related with Australia within Indonesia is how the country looks at the problem in West Papua. The Australia and New Zealand media are really helpful by covering West Papua stories. There are so many supporters of West Papua in Australia, but I’m not sure the government really represents them at all. Instead, the Australian and Indonesia governments are the best allies when it comes to the issue. I am always curious why.”

3) Why Jokowi wins in Papua: Cultural lens
Hatib Kadir
Jakarta   /   Wed, May 8, 2019   /  09:20 am
Based on the ongoing quick count results, the incumbent Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has won the presidential election in 20 out of 34 provinces and also the Indonesian votes overseas. Most interestingly, although not unexpectedly, Jokowi won in both Papua and West Papua. The provisional results for Papua are approximately 78 percent for Jokowi and Ma’ruf Amin and 21 percent for Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno.
Overall votes for Jokowi had increased by about 6 percent from the 2014 election. Likewise, in West Papua in 2014 Jokowi and Ma’ruf collected 70 percent of the votes and Prabowo and Sandiaga gained 29 percent, meaning Jokowi’s 2019 vote tally rose by about 3 percent from the previous presidential election.
In the 2014 election, Jokowi won 17 regencies while Prabowo only won three regencies across Papua. Whereas in West Papua, Jokowi took almost all votes in the 11 regencies, without leaving even 1 percent for Prabowo.
So why has Jokowi gained so many votes in Papua and West Papua? There have been many recorded incidents of violence and human rights violations in Papua that have not been thoroughly investigated. Also, the answer that Jokowi won the Papuan votes because of the ongoing construction of the trans-Papua infrastructure and road is too simplistic.
The problem is not in infrastructure, but in how people place their values and world views on development itself. They are often ambivalent.
Various examples of anthropological research about the Pacific regions, including the Papua highlands, indicate that all spheres of life are covered by the obligation to give, receive and to return. Papuan society creates relationships through collective exchange actions. Rituals and ceremonies are always tinged with gift exchanges. It is offensive for the recipient to reject the gift because giving is part of friendliness and an invitation to friendship.
Sophia Chau’s latest ethnographic study of the Marind community in Merauke in 2018 shows oil palm plantation companies use this cultural capital of exchange to open businesses. The company gives people money and pigs and arranges food for parties.
The goal is to open the door of reciprocity. People who were initially confused and unwilling to accept the gifts finally felt they must return the gifts — in the form of selling their land.
My research on the Ayau Islands in the north of Raja Ampat regency last year shows that religious and customary ceremonies are filled with competitive hospitality between hosts and guests who invite each other in turns. The host must offer respectable food — turtle meat — which is returned with a similar dish.
Clans that are unable to keep up with giving and returning gifts lose face. Thus companies and the state can use the sociocultural capital of giving as the entrance for their projects. Papuans consider roads built by the government to be gifts.
They believe Jokowi’s development projects are an effort to give, so people feel obliged to return the gift in the form of land, forest and labor participation.
Papuans do not see development programs in black and white: that the government is evil and they are good. However, the state-society relationship is built more on longing and loathing. An example is the palm oil industry. Although Papuans dislike oil palm plantations because they destroy the landscape and ecosystem, they consume most of the products, from soap, shampoo and soy sauce, to instant noodles. All these items have penetrated the stalls in the interior of Marind in Merauke.
Although the Papuan landscape has been heavily converted since 1963, becoming rice fields, oil palm plantations, mines and timber business concessions and roads under Jokowi’s government, these developments are not seen as antagonistic, but ambivalent. People hate them, but they use and consume the goods and services every day.
This kind of ambiguity, entangling the needs of modern consumption, underlies the ambivalence of the Papuans toward modernity and development.
They see oil palm fruit as an alien crop, which then travels far through its processing in various products after being harvested. Yet the encounter with modern development brings the outside world closer to imagination.
Danilyn Rutherford, an anthropologist conducting research in Papua for more than 20 years, pointed out that the Biak-Numfor community had antinationalist sentiments, yet they keenly participated in various economic and social opportunities provided by the government.
In her 2018 book, Living in the Stone Age, she shows that the community around the Enarotali Plateau in Paniai regency was an enthusiastic host to Dutch officers who brought the spirit of modernity, health sciences and technology in the late 1940s.
Likewise, Rupert Stasch’s latest ethnography study in 2017 on the Korowai in the southern interior of Papua shows the community actively participated in development delivered through official village funds. The egalitarian Korowai community in the interior virtually “fled” to the state and was actively involved in local government formation.
They created more than 30 villages, each with a system with a leader whose function was similar to that of a village head. In 1999, the distance to the regency capital was 400 kilometers and to the district it was 70 km.
Now Korowai is divided into four regencies and each regency’s distance to the other is 100 km. Their children are sent to school so they can speak Indonesian fluently, to become smart and to allow their dreams to later materialize, such as to become the heads of staff at local offices.
The Korowaians eagerly absorb village funds, reasoning that they can progress like other tribes who also use the village funds. This is where the egalitarian principle becomes their value.
Thus, I do not see the pessimism of the Papuans toward the development offered by Jokowi at this time. If we refer to local Papuan writers, the Papuans hold the principle of memoria passionis, namely not forgetting all the human rights violations and marginalization against them. But Jokowi’s government has tried to give new hope by distributing wealth and recognizing indigenous identities.
Through development, Papuans still gain hope, although sometimes the hope is like the light at the end of a tunnel. Many lights at the ends of tunnels really end darkness, but some turn out to be trains that hit the Papuans. Development is always ambivalent.
The writer is a lecturer at the Department of Anthropology, Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java. He gained his PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz in the United States.

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