The story of Ronny Kareni joining Australian Free West Papua movement is a kind of typical. He told media that he came from West Papua, where his parents were forced to flee to Papua New Guinea (PNG) due to political atmosphere in 1980s, and that they were living in poor condition in PNG for years, before Ronny got accepted in a university in Australia.
But, that was in the 1980s. That was before 11 routes, 4000 km of Trans Papua inter-province infrastructure project started to shine. Back then, the Bintuni Bay did not have international hospital, and George Saa, a West Papuan who excelled Indonesian curriculum and went to NASA, was not born yet. 30 years ago, about half of the population were poor (as happened with other places in Indonesia), while now we have cut that number by more than 50% (*UNDP).
Ronny is currently pursuing a master degree on international studies. There is nothing wrong, or even bad, about his life story so far. The turning moment came when he got into contact with the Australian-West Papua separatist supporters.
Affiliation with Free West Papua Australia
As the ‘foreign minister’ of ‘West Papua’, Jacob Rumbiak, a strong figure among Australian Free West Papua supporters, has the interest to create an angelic, peaceful image of Free West Papua in the eyes of their sympathizers around the world.
The best medium for jacob and his colleagues in Free West Papua to do that, is exactly by recruiting innocent, non-questioning young activists who have not visited Papua and West Papua provinces for a very long time. In the case of Ronny Kareni, he never set foot in West Papua during his adult life.
Ronny, a musician himself who plays guitar left-handed, made a good use of his charisma on the stage. He believes in music as his weapon of choice. Rumbiak and Ronny were seen together, singing anthems of West Papuan separatists. As a co-ordinator at 3CR radio, a community radio based in Melbourne, Ronny Kareni took his personal experience and lashed it out on international public, in the hope of getting the world’s attention turned to West Papua as a place full of injustice.
Lack of Expertise: Papua in 80s vs Now
The lack of expertise and comprehension on West papuan issues is also shown, apparently, in the way he build his narratives and arguments on articles published in marginal media (such as the Green Left). Ronny, on his Twitter account, tweeted several times saying that the Dutch (colonial government) was a ‘better colonizer’. It was a strong sign of someone who is just not ready to witness the modernization of Papuan society.
Ronny, along with hundreds of other separatist supporters, will be better off accepting the fact that West Papua is a different place now, compared to 1980s. People read books, go to USA, drink good coffee, and use Bitcoins. Rather than supporting the current progress made by Papuans as a society, he chose not to bother with complications of economic issues, or even human rights.
On January 31st, Ronny is going to speak in Australia on West Papua issues, this time with an Indonesian West Papua separatist supporter/lawyer Veronica Koman. The move is a well known victimization tactic used by the armed separatist criminal group, with the help of several names (like Veronica herself) who speaks and hides behind the authority of her academic background as a human rights lawyer.
Ronny can continue telling the story of victimization of the armed separatist criminals. What we know is that, once he (or anyone who cares enough about West Papua) starts setting foot on Papuan soil again, they would realize that the perspective taken by Free West Papua is not only pessimistic, but legitimizing the use of violence and terror.