In the realm of West Papua’s struggle for welfare, pertaining international communities knew Benny Wenda as a West Papuan leader. He claims himself as a true fighter of freedom for the region that always prioritizes diplomatic and peace actions to reach his goals. The recent killings by local insurgents, whom Wenda has claimed to be the leaders of, though, seem to be a serious antithesis of his’s prolonged claims.
On December 6th, The Guardian wrote that Wenda as an exiled leader of the West Papuan independence movement called for calm after the attacks and killings of up to 31 people in a remote West Papuan region. Wenda added that even though a leader, he could not stop the killings and admitted that he understood almost nothing about what was really happening.
Previously, Benny Wenda had been known the most prominent figure of the West Papuan freedom movement. International media like BBC, ABC, and including those in New Zealand like RNZ, NZ Herald, and Stuff, have mentioned him as the kind of top leader of all the freedom fighters.
In other words, these media are telling the public that Wenda is the type of supreme leader. Otherwise, there is a deliberate framing agenda where they have been trying to put Wenda in a leadership position to create an understanding that West Papuan independence movement is a well-structured and commandeered.
Fine. And, there came the killings at the beginning of this month.
What a true leader would do?
If they were to stick to their prolonged claim that Wenda is the leader, consequently, they had to be honestly saying that Wenda should be responsible for the attack. Wenda too had to be coming out, speaking to the public that he had full control of the movement and was responsible for the killings.
In reality, though, none of those media nor Wenda could come with such honest, brave, committed actions.
They instead keep making excuses mainly claiming that the killings were an evil scenario carried out by Indonesians. The media do not believe that such a gruesome event could happen in West Papua unless Indonesians and the government supported it. They did not even mention their condolences to the families of the victims.
Wenda, furthermore, came out speaking that he did not know what was happening with the killings. He had no control over what the freedom fighters would do or their agendas would be. But, ‘as the leader’, he tried to come up with a leader sounding response by urging calm after the cruelty that took the lives of dozens of innocent civilians. And like the media, he could not even say sorry for the families that lost their members due to the killings.
To this end, one would seriously ask, is this Benny Wenda a true leader of the West Papuan freedom fighters?
If he were one, he would have declared responsible for the killings. He would have bravely said that he was sorry that probably even though he had full control of the fighters, some have gone out of control and he was responsible for that.
Wenda, instead, ran away from this responsibility and came up with excuses.
Instead of a leader, we see Wenda as an opportunistic man that knows how to take advantage out of negative or even disastrous situations for himself. He is not a leader for the betterment of West Papua for sure.
He looks like a delusional person that imagines himself as a hero of West Papua freedom movement.
Tell the Truth NZ do not agree with any effort to separate West Papua from Indonesia. The reason is that being separate from the country that has been supporting the region with heaps of tangible and nontangible resources will result is a chaos politically, economically and socially for West Papua.
However, we appreciate other people who support AWest Papua from Indonesia. We appreciate their reasons and arguments as long as they are acceptable. By that, we mean that all opinions are presented in well-mannered ways and come with real-action solutions.
We are strongly against those, people and media, who irresponsibly publish their views about this matter where they sound like heroes and champions of the freedom movement but in real-life they have done nothing to better West Papua. they are those people who keep shouting that that freedom is the ultimate goal, but never, ever, lay their single finger for at least provide even only a box of lunch, let alone education and health services, to a West Papuan in West Papua.
Those people are the ones that feel like they are the only ones that have done something positive for West Papuans where actually there is nothing they have done. These ones are like Benny Wenda and those aforementioned media.
In this sense, we are not surprised that the last ‘questionable’ petition that was claimed by Benny Wenda to represent West Papuan voices was rejected by the UN. The UN decolonization committee should have considered that the petition was brought by fraudulent people or groups that are clouded by dirty, irresponsible political vested-interests.
We knew that many West Papuan had experience dark histories, including Wenda. But wasn’t that bad history also experienced by other people across Indonesia, and in the world?
To this end, we are strongly questioning Wenda’s credibility as a leader of West Papuan freedom movement as he himself and many media claim?
As for the freedom movement in West Papua, we’d like to share something that the public may not know yet.
West Papua and Aotearoa
West Papuans live within a social structure where people are divided into many tribes. Every tribe has its leaders that never declare to be under control of other leaders from other tribes. Some tribes have good relationships. Some, unfortunately, do not have them that result in tribal wars.
When it comes to making agreements with people or organizations from outside of the tribal structure, say with the central and local government, these tribes can have different opinions. No one can ensure the unification of their positions unless there are negotiation processes to help settle the disputes.
This kind of social structure reminds us all with the structure of Maori tribes in Aotearoa. Like in West Papua, there is no supreme leaders for these tribes. Even though similar, every tribe has its uniqueness in terms of their cultures and ways of living. Politically, there is no one can claim that his voice represents the voice of all tribes.
Back to the case of West Papua, now we know that the claim that Wenda is a leader of West Papuan movement is seriously false. Politically and socially, he has been detached from West Papua for decades, making this gentleman a foreign person for West Papuan matters. It is a fact that the majority of West Papuans now do not know who Benny Wenda is because this man seriously lacks connection with West Papua.
This man instead, lives happily in the United Kingdom, enjoying every moment of his life with every single entertaining, comforting thing the developed world can offer.
Meanwhile, in West Papua, people are struggling to get access to quality education and healthcare. And who are there to help out? Not Benny Wenda, not BBC, not RNZ! It’s Indonesians, both from civil society organizations or communities and security forces, West Papuans and non-West Papuans, who work for hand in hand building schools and health centers, providing volunteer teachers and health workers, etc.
They are developing West Papua in the name of humanity, voluntarily.
Meanwhile, the chair of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Benny Wenda, his ‘friends’, and those media, have done nothing but creating issues that keep making West Papua look bad and blocking international support for the development of the region.