The struggle for self-determination in West Papua attracted some 40 people to Hotel Harry on April 20 to hear from Dr Cammi Webb-Gannon from Wollongong University and Dr Emma Kluge from the University of Sydney. The Politics in the Pub meeting was chaired by Stuart Rees.
Kluge began with an account of West Papuans being killed by Indonesian soldiers. She said the brutality against West Papuans had been continuing for more than 60 years as the Indonesian state claimed West Papua from the fading Dutch empire.
Kluge said she had been radicalised by the West Papuan struggle.
Webb-Gannon described how the West Papuan resistance built itself from a small group of OPM fighters to a society-wide, non-violent civil resistance. She said the resistance has unified behind the demand for an independently-conducted referendum on independence.
In answer to a question about what could be done to help, Joe Collins from the Australia-West Papua Association encouraged people to attend protests and write to federal MPs to remind them of the strong popular support for justice for West Papua.
[Stephen Langford, Order of Timor, is a member of the Politics in the Pub committee.]