Jeffrey Bomanak Chairman Free Papua Movement (OPM)
Happy 45th Independence Anniversary to all Papua New Guineans from all walks of life, from the highlands, from the cost to the islands, wherever you are celebrating our 45 years of independence in our four regions; belated Independence Greetings to you all!
Centuries ago we were scattered tribes managing our own affairs with little technology within our reach, nobody was poor, nobody was rich, nobody was colonised, everybody was equal and no one was left behind in hamlets let to suffer injustice to die in pain or hunger. We were just people innocent of greed, hate, or of such nature but were welcoming and peace loving people that defined our rich cultural heritage as Melanesian people of the Island of New Guinea.
The contact with the outside world came as a huge surprise for all of us that made us had a tremendous jump from Stone Age to Space Age omitting some stages of civilization in the process. The outsiders measured our standard of living from their standards putting us into the bottom of their social class system that simply trampled on our dignity and pride of our rich cultures, identities and self-worth as proud Melanesian people of the Pacific.
The First and Second World Wars were good for those of us who were suppressed and colonized at the time thanks to the changes that brought with them psychologically, politically, economically and socially boosting the colonized peoples to demand freedom from the bondage of colonialism. Had the colonizers based their position from the 1947 Canberra Agreement two results might have happened; West Papua and Papua New Guinea should have been unified to form one country like the Territory of Papua and New Guinea under Australian’s administration or West Papua and Papua New Guinea should have been both granted independence by the 1970s as separate independent countries. The colonizers willingly worked out to ensure our people were free from colonial bondage at the time with the assistance from the pressures put against them by our founding fathers and the United Nations at the time.
It was so unfortunate that West Papua was sacrificed as a sacrificial lamb to stop the spread of Communism into the Pacific region. Papua New Guinea was granted independence on a golden plate by the same colonial powers who signed the Canberra Agreement in 1947 while West Papua was left to suffer the full force of colonialism for the last half a century. West Papua people were denied their basic right to self-determination while Papua New Guineans were granted independence on September 16th 1975 without a single drop of blood.
We praise God that Eastern half of our island is now free from the bondage of colonialism which we can now share that freedom under the Black, White, Red and Gold colours that we share as Melanesians. Our dignity as Melanesians was maintained in all its fullness, our mothers sing with joy, our children hope for the better future and our fathers breath their last breath with ease feeling fulfilled.
The West Papua People Celebrate this day, September 16th 2020 with the people of Papua New Guinea on its 45th Anniversary of Independence, may God grant Papua New Guinea and its leaders the wisdom to run the country into the unknown future. The people of West Papua under Organisasi Papua Merdeka or Free Papua Movement since the 1975 have been sharing the benefits of freedom, liberty and peace together with the people of Papua New Guinea on this island when all those were shut on the Western side. When the world shut its doors against our struggle the people of Papua New Guinea open their hearts to receive us as fellow brothers and sisters which the West Papuan people will always be grateful for all time to come.
Papua New Guinea was and always will be the piece of paradise, the land of a thousand tribes, the land of the expected and the land flowing with milk and honey for all the tribes to enjoy the freedom, liberty, peace and prosperity it brings. Papua New Guinea became the place of refuge for more than 30, 000 West Papuans that moved over in the 1980s and continue to provide land, friendship, love and leadership for West Papuans to experience the meaning of real democracy, freedom, liberty and true independence.
Indeed, we were separated by an imaginary line and were not given a chance to mingle and unite with each other on purpose for some good reasons that were unknown to us. The unfortunate events of the past has brought us thus far which the West Papuan people will always be grateful for Papua New Guineans to provide that first point of refuge through which the West Papuans moved out, some to other countries while others stayed on to continue our struggle for independence.
West Papuan people will always remember and treasure the sacrifices and support made by Papua New Guineans and their leaders for the freedom struggle in the likes of Sir Iyambaki Okuk, Bernard Narokobi, and other single individuals who supported our struggle at the time and now continue to echo on the corridors of Parliament by Governor Gary Juffa and Governor Powes Parkop including their voters and other leaders and the people of Papua New Guinea who continue to sympathise with the people of West Papua.
As Melanesians who were in this part of the region before other people came, Papua New Guinea should play its ‘bigger brother’ role as the country matures in age. ‘Take back PNG’ a slogan that the current Government under Prime Minister James Marape adopted upon taking power was a step in the right direction. However, how can taking back Papua New Guinea be applied under PNG’s foreign policy orientation of ‘friends to all, enemies to none’? How can Papua New Guinea take back PNG when everybody is a friend? Surely, everyone has enemy of some kind and Papua New Guinea should by now know who her enemies and her friends are and reorient her foreign policy to achieve the aim of taking back PNG. As a Christian country, Papua New Guinea should call sin by its right name, defend the defenceless and talk for the voiceless in the region and those Christian principles should be reflected in its foreign policies.
Christianity is a common faith that New Guineans from both sides of the island adopted from the West currently under threat by Islam and science. Papua New Guinea should be able to address such delicate issues with care and love under the common Melanesian way ideology. West Papua people are expecting PNG to do more than to be passive on the 60 years old West Papua conflict. As our Melanesian families are losing lives in the name of freedom something that we on this side of the island do not seem to appreciate. West Papua expects Papua New Guinea to own and share the West Papuan’s struggle for liberation like Arab nations owning the Palestinian’s struggle for liberation in the Middle East.
Papua New Guinea is 45 years old now and she is matured enough to set a new pathway under the slogan ‘take back PNG’. West Papua people believe that after 40 years in the wilderness PNG by now should come to realise its Melanesian roots of helping, caring and sharing. It is PNG’s moral obligation to assist West Papua officially, because this is what God wants us to do, to preserve lives and save humanity from extermination on the Western side of the island. As Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “there comes a time when silence is betrayal”, how long will PNG keep silent witnessing the genocide happening just next door treating as normal. God will surely bless PNG according to His promise in His Word that He will bless those who bless others especially those who cannot defend themselves.
The OPM on behalf of the people of West Papua wish the people of Papua New Guinea a HAPPY 45th INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY – 16th September 1975 to 16th September 2020.