Thursday, October 27, 2011

Papua, Indonesia: from 'Peace Child' to genocide. Indonesian Army storms Third Papuan Congress; 6 dead, dozens wounded, hundreds arrested.

The indigenous ethnic Melanesians of Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) turned from shamanism to Christ in the early part of the 20th Century as Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) USA opened the mountainous region up for courageous pioneer missionaries, several of whom shed their blood, becoming martyrs for Christ, that these remarkable people might know the LORD. It is one of the great missionary stories of the 20th Century.

Unfortunately, however, the story doesn't end there.

In 1962, the US convinced the Netherlands (the colonial power in Dutch/West New Guinea, which had wanted West New Guinea to be independent) to cede the territory to Indonesia in order to prevent Indonesia moving into the Soviet sphere of influence. The treaty between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands is known as the New York Agreement.

In 1963, Indonesia invaded and occupied Papua, ultimately annexing the territory in 1969 after a rigged plebiscite, the ironically named "Act of Free Choice". [NOTE: The 1969 "Act of Free Choice" may yet be challenged at the International Court.]

Since then the government of Indonesia has facilitated the rapid colonization of Papua by Javanese Muslims for political and geo-strategic purposes. The result: the Papuans have suffered decades of exploitation, increasing political marginalisation, Islamisation, racial and religious hatred, discrimination and violent persecution -- all of which, in many estimates, is amounting to genocide.

So the great missionary tale that starts with Dutch missions, expands through the sacrificial ministry of MAF USA and Australian missionaries, and blossoms -- thanks to God's preparation of the people -- with mass conversions to Christ, may yet end in tragedy.

But the story that goes from "Peace Child" (Part 1, Part 2) to genocide within a century involves not just the victims (the Papuans) and not just the killers (the Indonesians), but all those who, on account of greed, arrogance, power-lust and/or indifference, have betrayed and abandoned the Papuans to their terrible fate.

THE PAPUAN CONGRESS

On 16-19 October 1961, before the Papuan people found themselves being traded like a common commodity they held a historic Papuan Congress. Richard Chauvel explains (SMH, 23 Oct): "The political manifesto of October 19, 1961, was issued at the time when the United Nations was debating a Dutch proposal to internationalise the administration of West Papua, then Netherlands New Guinea, and secure the UN's support for Papuan self-determination.

"Papuan leaders who formulated the manifesto supported the Dutch proposal, but they wanted to introduce a Papuan voice into a decade-long dispute between Indonesia and the Netherlands about their homeland and their future."

At that first Papuan Congress, a declaration of Independence was read and the Morning Star flag raised.

The event was re-enacted on 16-19 Oct 2000, when Abdurrahman Wahid was president of Indonesia and the prospects for Papuan autonomy were good, the mood was positive and hopes were high.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first Papuan Congress, a Third Papuan Congress was held -- with government approval -- in Jayapura, Papua from 17-19 October 2011. Of course today the overwhelming sentiment in Papua is despair: despair at the total failure of Special Autonomy; despair at the creeping systematic genocide; despair at living with daily anxiety on account of the perpetual gross human rights abuses being committed at the hands of the Indonesian military -- abuses committed with impunity and in darkness as Papua remains closed to the outside world.

THIRD PAPUAN CONGRESS

After failing to get permission to use either Cenderawasih University auditorium or the GOR sports stadium in Jayapura, the Third Papuan Congress opened not on 16 October as planned, but on 17 October in the open air at Lapangan Sakeus (Sakeus Field, also spelled Zakeus). The event had the approval of the central government.

Opening with prayers, the congress included several Christian leaders amongst the speakers, including Rev Benny Giay, Rev Socrates S. Yoman and Rev Yemima Krey. The theme of the congress was: “To uphold the basic rights of the Papuan people now and in the future.”

It appears, however, that as far as Jakarta is concerned, the basic rights of the Papuan people exist within the confines of subjugation. For as it turned out, the Papuans would not be permitted to dream too vividly.

The Jakarta Globe reports: "Anxiety was apparent among the participants of the Third Papuan People's Congress on Wednesday [19 Oct] as they marched toward the event venue in Abepura, passing by lines of military and police officers in full combat gear and holding assault rifles.

"By 8 a.m. that morning, the final day of the three-day congress, security officers were standing at the ready. Five Barracuda armored jeeps were parked not far from the Zakeus oval, the site of the event, as were seven police trucks and three trucks from the region’s Cendrawasih Military Command."

See: At Papuan Congress, a Brutal Show of Force
Oktovianus Pogau, Jakarta Globe, October 22, 2011

WestPapuaMedia.info reported: "One Papuan video activist sent a text message to Engage Media this morning (19 Oct): 'Good morning, brother, I’m down at the field, and we’re surrounded by the military. Please pray so the congress is safe.'

The Jakarta Globe continues: "As the congress drew to a close, the 3,100 officers sprang into action, marching toward the venue with their fingers on the triggers of their Pindad SS1 assault rifles. As the prospect of a full-blown attack became evident, fear could be seen in the eyes of many congress-goers.

"Minutes later, the situation descended into violence.

"Soldiers from the Armed Forces (TNI) and police officers fired bullets into the air and ordered the participants to disband. Some of the officers pointed their weapons directly at the unarmed civilians.

"As the crowd dispersed in panic, the troops pressed forward."

At 3:30pm (Jayapura time) the Papuan video activist sent another text message: "Brother, they’ve opened fire … to us all."

The Jakarta Globe describes the violence and brutality wielded by the Indonesian police against these unarmed civilians.

As Chauvel (SMH, 23 Oct) reports, "At least six people were killed, more than 300 were taken into custody [pictured], the leaders accused of treason, and many others were beaten by police and soldiers."

See: RAW FOOTAGE OF THE ATTACK ON THE PAPUAN PEOPLE’S CONGRESS

The trigger for this heavy-handed crackdown? As in the 1961 and 2000, a declaration of independence was read and the now-banned Morning Star flag raised.

"On this day, 19 October 2011, we declare our complete Independence and Sovereignty as the Papuan people and the state of West Papua", read Prokorus Yaboisembut, the newly elected President of West Papua.

see: Report by GKI on Third Papuan Congress and Declaration of Independence
[Full translation by TAPOL of the report received from KPKC, Synod of GKI, Indonesian Christian Church on 21 October 2011]

With that, the military and police stormed the congress ostensibly to put down the "coup".

Armed soldiers also stormed a nearby monastery, terrorising the residents for two hours. Oktovianus Pogau reports that "Later, bullet holes could be seen in some of the walls, and bullet fragments were found in some bedrooms.

"'Dozens of officials forced their way into the monastery and walked back and forth for two hours in front of us,' the Rev. Adrianus Tuturu said. 'We were so afraid we hid in our rooms.'"

According to Pogau, the chairman of the House of Representatives commission on defense, Mahfudz Siddiq, said security forces "should have been firmer" and refused to issue a permit for the congress.

"The Jayapura Police chief said he would do whatever it took to quash subversion. 'Whoever supports separatism or subversion activity, I will do the same as yesterday [19 Oct]. I’ll finish them,' Adj. Sr. Comr. Imam Setiawan told state news agency Antara."

See also: Rights Bodies Grill the Police Over Beatings, Deaths at Papua Congress
Banjir Ambarita, Jakarta Globe, October 25, 2011

US SUPPORTS JAKARTA'S STRONG STANCE AGAINST "SEPARATISTS"

"While visiting Indonesia, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reiterated the U.S. commitment to closer ties with Indonesia and voiced support for Indonesia's strong stance against a separatist movement in the eastern province of Papua.

"But U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell says the warming relationship has not stopped the U.S. from speaking out against possible human rights abuses by the military in Papua.

"'We have made very clear where there are allegations of abuse or problems associated with excessive violence,' said Campbell. 'We want those circumstances thoroughly explored. And if there is indeed cause for subsequent remedial action, we would expect a legal process to be followed accordingly.'"

See: US Officials Back Indonesian Stand Against Papua Independence
Voice of America, 25 October 2011

But of course we have seen this before. For as was noted in Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin 119 (3 Aug 2011) "On 24 January [2011] an Indonesian court sentenced three soldiers to eight, nine and ten months imprisonment for insubordination after video footage emerged showing the soldiers torturing Papuan civilians -- beating, burning, knifing and suffocating them. [See also, Papua: evidence of human rights abuses]. Whilst the US expressed regret over the leniency of the sentences, they praised the fact that the soldiers were tried at all, hailing it as 'progress'. (Without the trial, the US would have been obliged by its own laws to withhold military aid.)"

And the above was not an isolated incident, for TNI crimes and human rights abuses are routinely covered up or whitewashed so as to ensure that they do not negatively impact Indonesian or US mining or strategic interests.

On 23 Oct 2011, the Jakarta Globe featured a photo of Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro smiling broadly with his counterpart Leon Panetta, US secretary of defense. "We clearly explained", said Purnomo, "that the [gathering] was a separatist movement. Everywhere it's the same -- separatism has to be put down. The Indonesian government will not tolerate separatists.”

And according to Purnomo, Panetta "completely agreed".

See: Jakarta Gives US Its Side of Story in Papua Deaths
Made Arya Kencana, Banjir Ambarita & Ulma Haryanto,
Jakarta Globe, 23 October 2011

It appears that US policy concerning whether "separatism" be put down (as were the Papuans in Papua) or supported (as were the Albanians in Serbia) depends entirely upon an assessment of US economic and strategic interests; nothing more.

The Jakarta Globe(23 Oct) continues: "A photograph of a body purported to be that of Daniel Kadepa, a 25-year-old university student, was obtained by the Jakarta Globe. It showed the body of a man lying face down with a wound to the back of his head.

"'I talked to the forensic doctor who checked the body and he told me that Daniel was killed by a gunshot to the head,' said Oktovianus Pogau, a member of the Papua Solidarity Society. 'A relative of his also told me that she saw with her own eyes a military officer shoot him.'

"Other photos showed bodies purported to be those of Max Asayeuw, 31, and Yacob Samonsabra, 54. Both men were part of the Papuan Caretaker Movement (Petapa) and were guarding the congress. Yacob had a gunshot wound to the chest, while Max’s face was bruised and bloodied."

The lone voice of moral outrage came from US Congressman Eni Faleomavaega, a Democrat from American Samoa.

The crackdown prompted the Congressman to ask Indonesia’s ambassador to the United States for guarantees of safety for those arrested last week.

"'It has been reported that the Indonesian Armed Forces [TNI] fired shots during the meeting where a crowd of thousands of defenseless and unarmed civilians were engaged in peaceful political assembly,' he wrote.

"Faleomavaega said the reports gave evidence of crimes against humanity, adding: 'I have very serious concerns in the matter and I do not condone the serious acts of violence by the TNI and police on the peaceful demonstration by unarmed civilians who were simply voicing their opinions about the failure of the government of Indonesia to seriously implement the Special Autonomy Law for West Papua.'" (Jakarta Globe, 23 OCt)

With six Congress leaders facing charges of treason, many Congress participants have fled into hiding.

See: Papua Congress participants hiding from Jayapura police
Interview with Ferry Marisan, director of the Institute of Human Rights Study and Advocacy in Papua. Radio Australia, October 20, 2011

Today, Friday 28 Oct 2011, ABC Lateline released an excellent video report.
See: Video shows aftermath of Papua crackdown
By Hamish Fitzsimmons, 28 Oct 2011

John Baransano, a Protestant minister in Jayapura who was at the rally, appealed through ABC Lateline for international help.

"I call on the churches around the world to care about this," he said. "I'm calling for an intervention for us because today's events show that we need a transitional government and this needs to happen to help the people of Papua," he said.

"We are now in a dangerous situation . . ."

Anglican minister Peter Woods, who lived in Indonesia for many years, was in Jayapura during the Congress and filmed interviews with many of the independence movement's leaders. Reverend Woods told ABC Lateline that he believes the violence on October 19 was premeditated.

For more on Papua;
See Religious Liberty Monitoring, label: "Papua"
Includes articles on Islamisation, colonisation, political marginalisation, gross human rights abuses, and Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc.
ALSO: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin, label: "Papua"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

EGYPT: "more radicalised than we realised"; Islam, Dhimmitude and the Maspero Massacre

By Elizabeth Kendal


Islam is a materialistic, imperialistic and political religion. Its aim is to achieve dominance -- demographically or through military or political conquest -- so that Muslims might rule and Sharia (Islamic Law / the law of Allah) might be applied.

Where Islam is dominant, atheists and polytheists have two choices: convert to Islam or die. Jews and Christians (the People of the Book), however, have a third choice: dhimmitude -- i.e. they may pay for their "protection" (i.e. right to life) with "jizya" / tax / protection money (religiously santioned extortion) and by submitting to Islamic rule and Sharia law in total subjugation and abject humiliation (Sura 9:29).

The subjugated peoples are known collectively as the dhimma (singular: dhimmi). The state of subjugation -- a state of immense insecurity, vulnerability, perpetual anxiety and psychological trauma -- is known as dhimmitude. The rules under which the dhimma must live are codified in the dhimma pact. If at any time, the dhimma violate the dhimma pact, then "protection" is withdrawn and jihad (Islamic holy war) resumes -- meaning the dhimmis may be killed and their properties plundered.

Europe's rise and Islam's decline -- commencing in the late 17th Century and culminating in defeat for Islam in the 20th Century's two world wars -- saw dhimmitude wane. Today, however, Islam is back and so too is dhimmitude. And nowhere is this more evident than in Egypt.

This is unsurprising considering the results of a recent survey by Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. For according the the study, while 61 percent of those living in cities support a civil state, 48.5 percent of rural residents support an Islamic state. When asked what state they wished to see Egypt resemble, 48.9 percent of rural Egyptians and 31.5 percent of urban residents named Saudi Arabia. Turkey was a distant second with 11.9 percent of urban residents looking to it as a model, and only 6.5 percent of rural residents. Further to this, some 40.1 percent of Egyptians classified themselves as Islamists. As one observer remarked: "I think Egypt has become more Islamized than we realized."

See:
Al-Ahram Center releases extensive political survey.
Tuesday Aug 23, 2011

Talking about secularism when Egypt looks to Saudi Arabia as a model
Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), Monday, October 17, 2011

It is little wonder that some 93,000 Coptic Christians have left Egypt since 19 March. This figure comes from a report by the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights (EFHR). Furthermore, Naguib Gabriel, the head EFHR, estimates that the figure could increase to 250,00 by the end of 2011.

NGO report: 93,000 Copts left Egypt since March
Almasry Alyoum, 25 Sept 2011

The Maspero Massacre

In Elmarinab village in Egypt's Aswan Province on 30 September, thousands of Muslims went on a pogrom after having been incited in their mosques during Friday prayers. The military watched on without intervening while the Muslims destroyed St. George's church and other properties owned by Coptic Christians. Subsequently the state-run media whitewashed the incident. [NOTE: the Copts are the indigenous people of Egypt; the true descendents of the Pharoahs. They have been Christian for 2,000 years.] The Muslim pogrom was launched in response to church renovations. Though the Christians had legal permission to repair their dangerously dilapidated church, church repair is nevertheless prohibited by the dhimma pact, for the Christians must not only be humiliated, they must be seen to be humiliated lest they become a source of fitna (strife / temptation / anything that could shake the faith of a Muslim and thereby cause "chaos").

On Sunday 9 October, around 1,000 Christians, plus numerous sympathetic Muslims, peacefully protested outside Cairo's Maspero building -- the home of Egyptian state television and radio -- calling for an end to religious discrimination and sectarianism. However, to demand equity and justice instead of accepting subjugation and humiliation is yet another violation of the dhimma pact. This time the reprisal came first and formost from the Egyptian military.

See:
Egypt On Edge After Army Kills 20 Coptic Christians At Protest

Associated Press, Sun, 10/16/2011

The night Maspero turned into a war zone: A firsthand account
Reem Abdellatif, October 16, 2011

Violence and Bloodshed in Egypt: An Eyewitness Account
Sharif Abdel Kouddous, for the Pulitzer Center, Cairo, Egypt, October 10, 2011

Maspero survivors finally testify: army shot at unarmed demonstrators without provocation
Multiple eyewitness survivors of 'Bloody Sunday' at Maspero answer SCAF [Supreme Council of the Armed Forced], say military police shot at unarmed Coptic and Muslim demonstrators, APC's [Armoured Personnel Carriers] crushed people repeatedly, and afterwards police searched for 'Christians'.
Nada Hussein Rashwan, Thursday 13 Oct 2011

Stunned by bloodshed, Egyptians torn over army
By SARAH EL DEEB - Associated Press | AP – Sat, Oct 15, 2011

As violence escalated outside Maspero, state media falsely reported that armed Coptic protesters had attacked the military, killing three soldiers. The state media urged loyal Muslims to rise up in defence of their military, an appeal to which thousands of angry Muslims responded.

Egypt's State Media Implicated In Violence Against Christian Demonstrators
AINA, 13 Oct 2011

The Maspero Massacre left 26 dead and more than 300 wounded. On Sunday 16 Oct. Magdy Fahim Mosaad became they 27th Christian protestor to die when he succumbed to the injuries he received on Sunday 9th when he was run over by an armored personnel carrier.

Eye witnesses have testified that police and military shot, beat and chased Christians who they abused as 'infidels' and 'sons of dogs'. And so that truth could not be reported, the military attacked the studios of al-Hurra ('The Free One'), a United States-based Arabic-language satellite TV channel funded by the U.S. Congress, targeting Christian reporters and forcing its closure.

While the state media did apologise for its false report (blaming a 'nervous reporter') the military publically denied that they had killed any Christians -- this despite volumes of video and mobile phone footage showing armoured vehicles ploughing through the protesting Christians, running them over, crushing and tearing them, to cries of 'Allahu Akbar' (Allah is great).

Furthermore, a committee of "experts" appointed by the Minister of Information himself, Osama Heikal (who has praised the state media's coverage of the Maspero violence), has determined that while state television may have committed "professional errors" it did not intentionally incite violence against unarmed protesters.

Committee: State TV's Maspero coverage did not incite violence
Nada Hussein Rashwan, Monday 17 Oct 2011

And so we have yet more whitewashing and impunity.

By Monday 17 Oct. Egyptian newspapers were shifting the blame, from the military, onto Coptic priests and leaders. "Coptic religious leaders, clergy and intellectuals are responsible not only for the Maspero violence but also for threatening national unity, according to several papers."

Monday's papers: Editorial pages shift Maspero blame
Almasry Alyoum, 17 Oct 2011

Though an independent civilian prosecutor had begun looking into the Maspero Massacre, the military has now taken over the investigation. Military officials claim that the army must conduct the investigation on its own and in private due to the sensitivity of the clashes and in order to preserve troop morale. The head of the military judiciary, General Adel El-Morsi, has called for all evidence to be handed to the military.

Egypt military takes over inquiry of Coptic unrest
By AYA BATRAWY - Associated Press | AP – Thu, Oct 13, 2011

SCAF alone to investigate Maspero clashes
The head of military judiciary said Thursday armed forces alone will investigate Sunday's deadly clashes . . .
Ahram Online , Thursday 13 Oct 2011

No doubt the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) will call for "reconciliation" -- by which they mean the military will agree to make peace with the Christians in exchange for the Christians dropping all charges. Such "reconciliation" has been standard practise in Egypt since mid 2007. It provides the ruling regime with a win-win solution, for while it deceives and appeases the West it is actually a consession to politically powerful Islamists who insist on upholding the Islamic order which instutionalises legal discrimination / religious aparthide by prohibiting Christians / dhimmis from testifying against Muslims in court.

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The West's reluctance to challenge the immoral religious aparthide inherent in Islam is both immoral and short-sighted. If the West truly believes in the principle of universal human rights, then religious and cultural rights can never trump human rights. Furthermore, silence in the face of Islamic religious aparthide is discriminatory; for why should these victims be less worthy of our moral outrage? Anyone who maintains that the systematic religious aparthide inherent in Islam is the religious right of Muslims, is clearly no defender of universal human rights.

See also:

A Double-Bind Upon the Copts: dhimmitude in action.
Rev Dr Mark Durie, Monday, October 10, 2011
Quote: "The Copts are in a double bind. If they protest against the abuses brought upon their heads by the dhimma system, they are treated as rebels, and the value of their blood and possessions discounted accordingly: the more they protest, the less right they have under Islamic law even to exist. On the other hand, the more they acquiesce, the more voracious and emboldened their persecutors will become. [. . .] The international community will be held accountable if they do not act swiftly on the brutal attacks towards Egypt’s Coptic Christians who are suffering under a modern day form of apartheid where institutionalised discrimination and deadly attacks have a become a way of life for Egypt’s 15 million Copts."

The forgotten Christians of the East
By Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, 10 Oct 2011
Quote: "JUST AS the Jews of the Islamic world were forcibly removed from their ancient communities by the Arab rulers with the establishment of Israel in 1948, so Christians have been persecuted and driven out of their homes. Populist Islamic and Arab regimes have used Islamic religious supremacism and Arab racial chauvinism against Christians as rallying cries to their subjects. These calls have in turn led to the decimation of the Christian populations of the Arab and Islamic world. [. . .] It is unclear what either Western governments or Western churches think they are achieving by turning a blind eye to the persecution and decimation of Christian communities in the Muslim world. As Sunday’s events in Egypt and other daily anti-Christian attacks by Muslims against Christians throughout the region show, their behavior is not appeasing anyone. What is clear enough is that they shall reap what they sow."