This 14-minute video is an excellent primer on the cry for justice for West Papua, currently an Indonesian-held colony in the South Pacific.
I had the honor of meeting with church leaders from West Papua in 2015. Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote from my interview with Pastor Matheus Adadikam, general secretary of the Evangelical Christian Church in Tanah Papua, representing 600,000 people:
“Justice, peace, and care of all of the Lord’s creation is the main mission of our church,” says Matheus, “but our experience has been that change happens fast, and external influences are changing who we are as a people.” His main mission now is traveling the world asking for help.
“The police and army have a personal economic interest in the mining companies,” Matheus says. “As a pastor, I can say that the government tries to blame local people for the violence, but it is not true.” The brutality of the Indonesian military in response to protest or self-determination can be seen in Joshua Oppenheimer’s award-winning companion documentaries The Look of Silence and The Act of Killing and in a film about East Timor, A Guerra da Beatriz.
“In 2006, Indonesia declared us a ‘separatist’ church because we support the right of self-determination,” Matheus says. “If we are not independent politically, then slowly but surely we will lose our Papuan life. … Indonesia makes agreements with corporations to take our trees, our water, our resources, and they don’t care at all about the people. They say, ‘We don’t need the Papuans, we just want their land.’
“As a pastor I have seen too many people killed,” Matheus continues. “When I was invited to speak at the World Council of Churches, while I was gone my family was terrorized … my wife and my kids … this is our experience.”–Rose Marie Berger (read the rest here.)