10/08/2013 | by Alex Dick-Read
TSP97. Cover story: Unlocking the Wind’s Gate:
SurfExplore makes a successful Indonesia mission into the wild, disputed territory of West Papua. Here they find solid waves, impenetrable jungle and an ancient society in simmering conflict with its foreign occupiers – Indonesia.
Yes, it’s complicated. West Papua is clearly not part of Indo on a cultural, linguistic, or historic level. The only thing West Papua has in common with Indonesia is that they were both occupied by the Dutch in years past. Thanks to a fraudulent referendum Indonesia actually ‘owns’ West Papua and all it’s massive deposits of gold, iron, trees etc. The conflict has been described as a ‘slow genocide’ as it simmered quietly over decades, but nowadays West Papua is asserting itself against it’s large and ruthless neighbor.
This excellent piece by Al Jazeera explains how West Papua – a land of Melanesian people and thousands of diverse cultures and languages – became the largest contributor to Indonesia’s coffers, and just how brutal Indonesia is being in its bid to keep the local people down.