Papuan Nationalism and Indonesia: Making Sense of Contemporary Papua Transnational Advocacy Network

Ani Widyani

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

The early history of Papua became integrated into Indonesian territory was an international politics issue (Pepera or Penentuan Pendapat Rakyat), which was a decolonization issue in Cold War era. In modern era, discussing Papuan issues also has a strong international dimension since Papuan issues are frequently mentioned in international forums by numerous international organization, relating to the demands of self-determination. One of the most important issues, and continues to be a major question to date, is the matter of Papuan identity in Indonesian identity. Indonesia, as a nation, is depicted as a finished project, which resulted the expression NKRI Harga Mati. According to several articles (Chauvel (2005), Drooglever (2010)), Papuan nationalism is tightly interwoven with the process of recognition of Papua integration history through the process of the act of free choice, and is determined by Indonesian contemporary political condition and how Papuans interpret the condition. Chauvel stated that Indonesia had a significant role in triggering the rise of Papuan nationalism, while Panders denoted that Papuan nationalism was not shaped by Indonesia as a resistance towards Dutch colonization as has been voiced all along, but it was a Papuan response on their interaction with their neighbor in Maluku (or Moluccas) and Malays, and the Christian values which then shaped a dialectic. Drooglever, on the contrary, highlighted that Papuan nationalism was shaped by Dutch imperialism through the formation of political organization and bureaucracy as a preparation for power transfer from Dutch imperials to Indonesia. Bernarda Meterey (2012) complemented various studies of Papuan nationalism which argues that Papuan identity first emerged since 1937 rather than Indonesian identity through education and Christianity sponsored by priests. Bernada (2012) claims that Indonesian influence had not been felt until 1963 when New York Agreement officially recognized Papua as Indonesian territory. On numerous study of nationalism, there are substantial amount of articles on how scholars make sense of nationalism (Smith, 2001, 1998; Hyland Eriksen, 1993; Anderson, 1983, 1991; Connors, 1993; Gellner, 1983; and Hasting). Nationalism is rooted in the understanding of the concept of nation, which differs from state. Anderson (1991) on his most well-known Imagined Community explained the relations of the meaning of nation, nation-state, and nationalism. The concept of nation precedes the birth of state, while nationalism is a political principle supported by state. Nationalism in modern perspective is a dynamic process: its existence and sustainability is heavily affected by conscious effort and will of every member to stay united. Nationalism is therefore a concept that develops as time and space continue to renew itself to remain relevant in the midst of changing times. A nationalism that has matured and developed has the ability to bond its citizens to continue being devoted to their nation in their minds and have the same image of the purpose of their lives as a nation. Indonesia, as a nation, is depicted as a finished project, which resulted the expression NKRI Harga Mati. Kahin (1952) stated that Independence Proclamation of Indonesia could be considered as the peak of accomplishment of national struggle that had begun since Kebangkitan Nasional or National Awakening (1908), Sumpah Pemuda or Youth Pledge (1928), to Independence (1945). Papuan identity is still voiced in international scene by Papuan Human Rights Transnational Advocacy Network. The important question to be answered in this paper is whether Papuanization is a part of Papuan nationalism or Indonesian nationalism? Will the Papuan transnational advocacy movement strengthen or weaken Indonesian identity? In other words, will the Papuan transnational advocacy movement strengthen the 131 difference between Papuan and Indonesian people and dissociate the two, or will it integrate Papua within the frame of NKRI (United Republic of Indonesia)? To be Indonesian, for Indonesians themselves, is yet to be a final process and efforts made by Indonesian government to ‘Indonesianize’ Papuans have not been very successful and the task is still a tough challenge.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPapuan Nationalism and Indonesia: Making Sense of Contemporary Papua Transnational Advocacy Network
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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