The humanist approach that was taken by the Central Government to develop Papua beckoned five hundreds of Free West Papua Movement sympathizers to re-support Indonesia. Fundamental changes such as improvement in health services, education, and other infrastructure have pushed the Papuan economy to move faster and more advanced; inviting the sympathizers to get back to the society.
So far, the Free West Papua Activists have always been formed to see Indonesia as an invader, as a country that seized independence in Papua, a dictatorial power that continued to oppress the Papuan people. The narrow view of the Free West Papua Activists continues to trigger prolonged conflicts with the Indonesian military in West Papua.
Times have changed, President Soeharto’s militaristic leadership in the past has no longer subdued Indonesia. The Central Government is trying to rebuild Papua so that it can also feel the progress of the times like other areas in Indonesia. Development in Papua is increasingly visible in the era of President Jokowi.
The Indonesian military presence in Papua is no longer a frightening specter for most Papuans. With the many territorial activities, agriculture, road construction, and treatment carried out by the Indonesian military, the people of Papua are becoming more advanced and smarter. These activities not only benefit the people of Papua but also as a method of direct learning for the Indonesian military in understanding the culture of the Papuan people.
The Chief of Information for the XVII/Cendrawasih Military Command, Lieutenant Colonel Infantry Muhammad Aidi, said that the return of the Free West Papua Movement sympathizers to Indonesia was based on the progress of Papua’s development. The sympathizers see the Papuan people outside the forest progressing while those whom guerrillas in the jungle suffer even more. Those who fought for the “independence” of their nation have gotten nothing.
Aidi also said that the Free West Papua Movement supporters could not answer when asked about the evidence that Indonesia colonized Papua. During this time they have turned a blind eye to all the privileges of Papuans. The current government in Papua can only be held by indigenous Papuans; from the village head to the governor, all indigenous Papuans. There are also many programs initiated by Indonesia to support the Papuan economy.
Aidi’s statement was also supported by Kris Nussy’s statement (aka Corinus Sireri). Nussy, previously Commander of the Free Papua National Liberation Army in East Yapen, has now surrendered to Indonesia. During this time he felt cheated by the doctrine of their struggle. “So far we have been tricked. We are tired of constantly struggling without any results,” Nussy said after handing 12 firearms to the Indonesian military, “In fact, the society hate us.”
Some leaders of the Free Papua Organization have indeed returned to Indonesia. On March 15, 2017, 154 Free West Papua Activists from Sinak surrendered. On May 5, 2017, Yusup Aninam from the Sasawa regional liberation army in Yapen returned to Indonesia. Kris Nussy along with 77 members of the liberation military and 300 sympathizers following their return to Indonesia on August 15, 2017.
The return of some of these separatist groups to Indonesia is proof that Indonesia has brought change to a better direction for Papua. Calling Indonesia as a colonialist and even committing genocide against the Papuan people is indeed not following the facts. If all parties are willing to open their eyes to the progress of Papua and Indonesia’s efforts for Papua at this time, perhaps this years of disputes can be discussed and resolved.
Spirit Baru, Team. (November 29, 2018). Di Era Jokowi Pembangunan Papua Makin Maju, OPM Serahkan Diri dan Kembali ke Pangkuan NKRI. Retrieved from Spirit Baru: spiritbaru .xyz/2018/11/di-era-jokowi-pembangunan-papua-makin.html, 2018.