Video: ‘Run It Straight (for West Papua)’

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.)

Learn more about the Free West Papua Movement, the Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan Mining Company, and West Papuan Christians fighting for justice.

Plastic Flip Flops: The Nonviolent Weapons of the Poor?

Protesters in Jakarta, Indonesia, bring plastic flip flops to the police station in a satirical action criticizing the beating and arrest of a boy for allegedly stealing a pair of cheap sandals from a Mobile Brigade officer.

According to the Associated Press: Indonesians have found a new symbol for their growing frustration at uneven justice in this young, democratic nation: cheap, worn-out flip-flops.

They have been dropping them off at police stations throughout the country to express outrage over the arrest and trial of a 15-year-old boy for lifting an old pair of white sandals outside a boarding house used by police in northern Indonesia.

The teen — who was later interrogated and badly beaten by three of the officers in the Central Sulawesi provincial capital of Palu — faces up to five years in prison.

Thousands of people have dropped off their old shoes at police stations in recent days as a form of protest.