Bintang Kejora: Expression of Papuan Ideology and Identity

Bintang kejora

Andawat – Tens even hundreds of flags raised in many places in Papua which put Indonesian government more into state of panic. At certain moments the flag Bintang Kejora (morning star-BK) found waving, either waved by Papuan people for public view or waved by certain parties with certain ways still questioned. Who would wave or leave the flags found during police raid as happened after violent accidents in BTN Tanah Hitam Jayapura in August 2011.

So,Indonesian government should not have to worry and become panic. The government should have been aware of problems behind the raising of BK, otherwise if it chooses to ignore the problems even tries to put them into designed scenario regarding different ways how BK is waved.

To Indonesian government, there is only one perspective that waving BK is subversion and it should be brought into judicial processes. Some Papuans who have gone through these legal processes are Dr. Thomas Wanggai on 14 December 1988, Phillep Karma on 3 July 1998 and 1 December 2004. Some approaches were maintained by extra judicial killing of the people. Some of these violent actions include shooting people to death and government does not take any responsibilities. To mention but a few Opinus Tabuni who was shot in the celebration of Indigenous Day on 9 August 2008 in Wamena and Theo Karoba on his way back home after joining demonstration against Integration Day on 1 May 2012 in Abepura and other similar incidents.

Speaking of Papua, at all times, relates to BK. This may be true to see BK waived in many places and in any occasion, not in a demonstration only. It at times expressed vividly and combined with different actions and incidents. BK has become the main idea of an ideological message which permeates through different activities.

BK has been in scientific books, mass media, computers, wallets, laptops, handphones, hats, t-shirts, house paintings, fences as well as weaved bags. BK is stretched when dances are performed, on school walls even go after children names. BK was also found in the birthday cake decoration on1 December 2004 pray and once brought the police into panic. The police seized the cake and carried out investigation in 1 December 2004. Another view is one of SMAs (junior high school) in Jayapura even designed the school T-Shirts with the base color BK and a star in the shirt long sleeves.

BK has become a type of the deepest expression of Papuan people to show their identity as Papuans as well as a way to campaign settlement of substantial problems in Papua. So, it is truly unwise if BK seen as a motive to bring Papuan people into court and punishment in a way that the type of expression justifies violence in Papua.

Arresting and bringing Papuan people into court because of BK will never be a proper way to settle problems in Papua. Legal processes have never shrunken the spirit even many flags are waived in many places. If one BK could be found in a demonstration in the past, now tens or hundreds of it can be seen waving in many places. This means putting someone into legal punishment has raised no fear to Papuan people, including blocking an effort to waive BK in Papua in formal jurisdiction.

Although government has issued its regulation number 77 of 2007 which specifically bans use of BK as regional symbol, the flag is consistently waived. To Papuans, it has nothing to do with government approval to waive the flag since BK has strongly rooted as a deepest way to express Papuan identity.

Consequently, if Indonesian government persistently applies legal process to settle the problem, it would be a shame to the government. It is not worth applying violent approaches under President SBY who is being apprised of bringing Indonesia to stand democracy along with the other new democratic countries in Asia. President SBY from 2011 to 2012 particularly has made several statements about Papua: building Papua with heart and resolve Papua without violence by bringing forward dialog.

Problems in Papua have to be dealt by solving roots of the problems, not by settling impacts of the rooted problems through violence. Violence would benefit certain parties who want to maintain Papua in chaotic conditions, yet this will not able bring about a loyal society or a country desired by the society. No positive correlation can be made to justify the violence in the name of defending the nation integrity since such violence would in turn blemish the nation’s character, full of symbols of wisdom as found in Pancasila (the Five Principles) and the Preamble of the 45’ Constitution.

So, statements made by President SBY may not be necessary to settle problems in Papua. What it needs is actual supports from any institutions under the president’s control which deal directly with Papua. The central government has to be able to organize institutions working for Papua to pursue common agenda and ensure that resolution to the problems is managed without violence.(Andawat/ALDP)