Responding to the Conflict in Papua, Fisipol held a Discussion on Papua and Nationhood

Yogyakarta, 6 September 2019—“Papua disagrees with the currently existing notion of nationhood. Modern nationhood emphasizes on the notion of nation-states, while in Papua, the integration process has been done without a proper deal. Since the past, we have been trying to clarify Papua’s history, as how other ethnicities have done, such as the Javanese, the Bugis, and the others. Papua’s demands will never be accepted by Jakarta, but it through a referendum. Just give what Papua want!,” as stated by Frans, a representative of the Papuan students that were present on this discussion. This discussion was entitled “Papua and Nationhood” and was held last Friday on Fisipol’s Digilib Café.

Last Friday’s discussion focused on contemporary issues surrounding the conflict in Papua and was led by the experts from Fisipol. Lukman-nul Hakim, lecturer at the Department of International Relations of UGM, was the moderator of this discussion. Mohtar Mas’oed, professor at the Department of International Relations of UGM, stated that “complex violence is the main cause of the conflicts in Papua and West Papua.”

Such violence can be in the form of armed conflicts, structural-economic conflicts and cultural violence. “Back then, conflicts used to occur between the government and the people. These days, conflicts are usually horizontal. Newcomers and the indigenous people can conflict with each other. Papua is rich with resources, but only the few enjoy it,” Mohtar added.

Subsidiarity and Solidarity are they key to save Papua. Gabriel Lele, or Gabby for short, a member of the Papua Task Force, shared his experiences. “Papua is more than just a monolithic construct, but it is even more diverse than the rest of Indonesia itself,” as stated by Gabby, which is also a lecturer from the Department of Public Policy and Management.

“Often, the public only play the role as a spectator. We should switch the paradigm, in which the Papuans should also play a more active role in the development process,” Gabby stressed. The last speaker, Arie Sudjito, lecturer at the Department of Sociology, conveyed that the massive escalation occurred because the voice of the people was not represented. “Special autonomy should be the answer, hence the decentralization process can be more equitable and not just merely administrative. If the special autonomy is merely technocratic, then it’s pointless,” Arie stated.

At the end of this event, the representatives of the Papuan students asked their questions and presented their aspirations. This discussion was a platform provided by Fisipol, as an academic institution to serve the nation.