Papua Merdeka - raising the flag
50 years ago today the Morning Star flag was raised in West Papua for the first time - the western half of PNG, invaded by Indonesia half a century ago. Today, December 1st, there will be 'mass civil resistance across West Papua, commemorating its 50th anniversary of Independence, tragically cut short by Indonesia’s invasion in 1963. The banned symbol of West Papua’s independence, the Morning Star flag, will be raised in provocative actions that occupying Indonesian security forces have deemed as an act of rebellion, and have threatened to shoot to kill anyone participating ... '(from West Papua media)
Today, thinking of the people of West Papua I will them safety and strength. Because to raise their flag, to sing their songs, is to take their life in their hands. Because their struggle is older than I am. Because their stories and songs and cultures are beautiful and in danger. Because they are my neighbours and my country is complicit in their struggle.
Today, many people I know who are not in that country - who are all around the globe and who have the freedom to raise any flag they wish - are 'raising' the Morning Star 'metaphorically' or 'virtually'. This is a beautiful thing and not only symbolically powerful. Continuing to throw our hearts completely into our actions, the more people become aware and the more people act, we must eventually succeed. May all beings be free. It may not be my own flag but it's that simple. Indonesia, hear the voices. Let them go.
Today, 1st December, I'm listening to the voices of West Papuan freedom.
AK Rockefeller's track from last year "Merdeka", the voice of Papuan Independence Leader Benny Wenda:
[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/4239493" iframe="true" /]
“Merdeka” means freedom or independence; it is the rallying cry for the independence movement in West Papua. (AK)
Today, watching George Telek's "West Papua" (merdeka mix) featuring Ngairie:
Today, watching a video of a spoken message from mountaineer Christian Welponer (from South Tyrol, an autonomous region of Italy) who raised the Morning Star on the peak of Papua's highest mountain Puncak Jaya.
It's a moving action, especially since the giant Freeport mine, which is so much a reason for the continuing illegal occupation of this country, is a mine which has effectively cut off the head of the Amungme's mother mountain. From the Cultural Survival website:Amungme cosmology depicts the mountain that Freeport is mining as the sacred head of their mother and its rivers as her milk. To the Amungme, Freeport's mining activities are killing their mother and polluting the milk on which they depend for sustenance.And today, you can watch Charlie Hill-Smith's beautiful film "Strange Birds in Paradise" in full on The Age TV site:
(The trailer is below, and you can buy the DVD from Antidote if you miss this screening)