OPM leader’s open letter condemns Australia’s ‘treachery’ over Papua

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The Papuan Infantry Battalion in the Second World War
The Papuan Infantry Battalion in the Second World War . . . "Your war became our war. Your graves, our graves." Image Australian War Memorial

Asia Pacific Report

The West Papuan resistance OPM leader has condemned Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and US President Joe Biden, accusing their countries of “six decades of treachery” over Papuan independence.

The open letter was released today by OPM chairman Jeffrey P Bomanak on the eve of ANZAC Day 2024.

Praising the courage and determination of Papuans against the Japanese Imperial Forces in World War Two, Bomanak said: “There were no colonial borders in this war — we served Allied Pacific Theatre campaigns across the entire island of New Guinea.

“Our island! From Sorong to Samurai!”

Bomanak’s open letter, addressed to Prime Minister Albanese and President Biden, declared:

“If you cannot stand by those who stood by you, then your idea of ‘loyalty’ and ‘remembrance’ being something special is a myth, a fairy tale.

“There is nothing special in treachery. Six decades of treachery following the Republic of Indonesia’s invasion and fraudulent annexation, always knowing that we were being massacred, tortured, and raped. Our resources, your intention all along.

“When the Japanese Imperial Forces came to our island, you chose our homes to be your defensive line. We fed and nursed you. We formed the Papuan Infantry Brigade. We became your Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

“We even fought alongside you and shared the pain and suffering of hardship and loss.

“There were no colonial borders in this war — we served Allied Pacific Theatre campaigns across the entire island of New Guinea. Our island! From Sorong to Samurai!

OPM leader Jeffrey Bomanak
OPM leader Jeffrey Bomanak . . . his open letter condemns Australia and the US leadership for preventing decolonisation of West Papua. Image: OPM

“Your war became our war. Your graves, our graves. The photos [in the open letter] are from the Australian War Memorial. The part of the legend always ringing true — my people — Papuans! – with your WWII defence forces.

“My message is to you, not ANZAC veterans. We salute the ANZACs. Your unprincipled greed divided our island. Exploitation, no matter what the cost.

West Papua is filled with Indonesia’s barbarity and the blood and guts of 500,000 Papuans — men, women, and children. Torture, slaughter, and rape of my people in our ancestral homes led by your betrayal.

“In 1969, to help prevent our decolonisation, you placed two of our leaders on Manus Island instead of allowing them to reach the United Nations in New York — an act of shameless appeasement as a criminal accomplice to a mass-murderer (Suharto) that would have made Hideki Tojo proud.

“RAAF Hercules transported 600 TNI [Indonesian military] to slaughter us on Biak Island in 1998. Australian and US subsidies, weapons and munitions to RI, provide logistics for slaughter and bombing of our highland villages. Still happening!

“You were silent about the 1998 roll of film depicting victims of the Biak Island massacre, and you destroyed this roll of film in March 2014 after the revelations from the Biak Massacre Citizens Tribunal were aired on the ABC’s 7:30 Report. (Grateful for the integrity of Edmund McWilliams, Political Counselor at the US Embassy in Jakarta, for his testimony.)

“Every single act and action of your betrayal contravenes Commonwealth and US Criminal Codes and violates the UN Charter, the Genocide Act, and the Torture Convention. The price of this cowardly servitude to assassins, rapists, torturers, and war criminals — from war criminal Suharto to war criminal Prabowo [current President of Indonesia] — complicity and collusion in genocide, ethnocide, infanticide, and wave after wave of ethnic cleansing.

“Friends, we will not forget you? You threw us into the gutter! As Australian and American leaders, your remembrance day is a commemoration of a tradition of loyalty and sacrifice that you have failed to honour.”

The OPM chairman and commander Bomanak concluded his open letter with the independence slogan “Papua Merdeka!” — Papua freedom.

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