Having recently seen the ‘Free West Papua Campaign’ Facebook page I felt like I have lost almost all my faith in the ability for people in sniffing up things that don’t add up. The Facebook page claims that the Indonesian government considers the people of West Papua less than human and that they are currently performing genocide in West Papua. This critique is not on the West Papua issue but rather the Facebook page.
My rage mostly comes from the comments section. Those who comment are mostly westerners who claim Indonesia is a sick country and needs to be sanctioned. How dare they say this? They claim that ALL INDONESIANS ARE RACIST. Emphasis on ALL. To make this worse when I visited their Facebook pages many of them were from America. I love America and a few of my close friends happen to be American but in all honesty, America has actually had a history of racism. Now history is history as everyone says but for them to call ALL Indonesians racist, that is racism. So there is some hypocrisy going on in there and to top it all off I am absolutely sure they know nothing about Indonesia and its people, this I am sure of because you would have to live in a country to understand its people. Moreover, Indonesia is one of the most, if not the most, culturally diverse country in the world which means that the people, from different backgrounds, tend to react differently to certain issues and events.
On a different note however I decided to look into this issue and what I found out was quite astonishing. There is an element of racism in West Papua between the locals and the Indonesian army. This however, is racism based on class, or so I believe. The locals of West Papua are of lower class and they are less modern when compared to the people of Jakarta. It is true there have been murders that have been possibly covered up however, pictures featured in the Facebook page looked as if they were not real.
Firstly, it is obvious that the Facebook page is propaganda. It does not take a genius to understand that. From this alone, we can know that the information given in the Facebook page is not 100% genuine. Why? Because the point of a propaganda is to appeal to the human emotion. During times of war, propaganda appealed to the nationalistic side of people, their pride, and a sense of worry towards the next generation. This time around however, it is appealing to the ‘humanity’ of the people. Now here is the interesting bit, the people who made this Facebook page are very smart. They are not bored old farts who decided to create a Facebook page using false information (though the information was blown out of proportion but again, it is not uncommon in propaganda).
The Facebook page owners have used the word ‘genocide’ so many times that it may soon become trite. This however is not done because there actually was genocide happening in West Papua but because they were trying to create a connection to Hitler’s Germany. The word ‘genocide’ is not the only thing that gets people to put Hitler’s Germany side by side with Indonesia. Another thing is the shipload of photos with people of the army or police (in short, people with a uniform).
Secondly, we are currently living on what people call the digital age. This would mean that fabricating images is so easy that anything online needs to be questioned before believed. Since the Facebook page has a vested interest (however noble it is) I will not have a hard time believing that many of the photos are fabricated.
Lastly, and to top off the perfect recipe of fooling the masses, an outcry of help to someone with power. In this case the someone with power is not President Jokowi. Why? The President would have an answer to this outcry and the answer could take on multiple forms. Jokowi could say that none of the things they have said are true (Jokowi could prove this by visiting West Papue himself) and be it true or not, the truth would come out. This someone in power they have chosen is Australian PM Tony Abott. After the fiasco with Abott reminding Jokowi that Australia donated a large amount of money to Aceh when the tsunami hit in ’04, it is most likely that Tony Abott would not react to this therefore the message is passed on to the masses but the decision makers, the ‘someones’ with power, don’t actually do anything. Absolutely brilliant.
A special message to those hypocratical, racist people calling All Indonesians heartless monsters:
We are not holding guns against their heads. We are not taking away all their money, leaving them impoverished. We, as citizens, are not dropping bombs onto West Papua. You however, speak as if you have lived there. One of you said that I was a spoiled brat who lives in Jakarta but then when I saw your facebook profile you live in Michigan. How dare you speak as if you know anything. How dare you call our people opressors whereas you people know even less. How dare you compare us to Hitler, knowing well our people have had a long history of being opressed and colonised (oh wait you wouldn’t have known that because you have not bothered to do your research)