Freedom Flotilla and West Papua
PShift Friday’s at noon 4ZZZ fm 102.1
Friday 25 October: Andy’s got a good show lined up this week about the flotilla to West Papua with live guests in the studio.
In the 1970s Matthew Meyer a member of the One’s Peoples Army from West Papua came to Brisbane. Matthew spent years in exile here after a lucky tip-off that he was to be deported from PNG back to West Papua and a likely death at the hands of the TNI Indonesia’s ruthless military occupation of West Papua. Matthew could often be seen on the steps of the Australian Government Centre protesting Australia’s engagement with Indonesia while our nearest neighbour is under military occupation.
The Catholic Worker movement in Brisbane spent a lot of time campaigning for human rights in both East Timor and West Papua. Indonesia has a predominately Muslim population that is wary of Australia because of its close relationship with the United States.
This is ironic because the US Secretary of State Kissinger gave Suharto the go ahead to invade East Timor in 1975. Radio Fretilin was set up a pirate radio station in the Northern Territory. Fretilin the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor is composed of of administrators, teachers, and other “newly recruited members of the urban elites.” Fretilin had ties with the Catholic Church and Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo. Fretilin leader Jose Ramos Horta was educated in catholic school.
Fretilin quickly became more popular than the other main political party the United Democratic Front (UDT) due to a variety of social programs Fretilin introduced to the populace. Bishop Belo was no Bishop Romero but he did criticise the Indonesians after a massacre in 1983 in East Timor.
Bishop Belo gave sanctuary in his own home, as he did on various occasions, to youths escaping the Santa Cruz massacre (1991), and endeavoured to expose the numbers of victims killed. The Catholic Church attempted to give sanctuary to East Timorese during the Dili massacre in 1999 but rather than preventing deaths, contributed to them losing several of their own in the bloody rampage instigated by Indonesian authorities.
Wiser heads in Dili fled to the mountains when Indonesian Koppassis unleashed militia against the defenceless population who voted for independence. Australia was forced by popular opinion to send troops to rescue the situation. Some Australian soldiers came back tormented by what they saw.
In West Papua, the Indonesian military is equally ruthless in putting down the One People’s army.
Listen in to PShft show today 25 October 2013 Paradigm Shift Friday’s at noon 4ZZZ fm 102.1
Bishop Romero was the catholic bishop of El Salvador who was strongly influenced by liberation theology. The Romero centre in Brisbane is named after Bishop Romero. Bishop Romero was assassinated by the dictatorship in El Salvador.