This is part of an input broadcast 6 Nov 1998 on 
Eastnet <> in a discussion with
Mr. Amunggut Tabi on the name "Irian", about the 
person of Frans Kasiepo who first introduced it, 
and on the importance of political unity.

Discussion of Aspects of the Irian Jaya Problem

with Mr. Amunggut Tabi

> 1. The abbreviation, not name IRIAN, is from Sukarno and Jaya is from
> Suharto. How Sukarno influenced Mr. Kaisiepo to name the land Irian is
> something that you cannot find in any document in the world. There is
> currently a scientific and historical study being done in order to find out
> WHY Kaisiepo came out with this abbreviation, his intention etc.etc. I read
> the first draft and I hope we all will read it in book form in this
> reformation era. As we know, Kaisiepo finally turned 180 percent and became
> the one of the founders of OPM. Why? The most probable answer is he did not
> reach what he intended to gain for working with SUkarno.
I think I understand why you have difficulties finding out "how Sukarno influenced Mr. Kasiepo". There is a widespread tendency to transpose the modalities of the post-1965 period onto the developments of 1945-1950, and on the subsequent period up to 1965. But the situation in 1945-1950, during which Frans Kasiepo proposed that name, was quite different from that of the Soeharto regime.

To begin with, Sukarno did not and could not (even if he wanted to) bring direct influence to bear on representatives of the various ethnic groups, let alone to use the kind of compulsion or suppression that we all know from the Soeharto period. In fact, Sukarno and Hatta themselves were hesitant about whether the time was ripe to proclaim independence. It was the group of youth activists which "kidnapped" the two national leaders and made an ultimatum, that they would proclaim independence themselves, without the leaders. Only under these circumstances did Sukarno and Hatta proclaim the independence of Indonesia on August 17, 1945.

Again, after the proclamation, it was not Sukarno and Hatta who were directly calling upon the people in all the places to rise to the defence of the Republic. This happened spontaneously in all the major islands, in Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali various islands in Nusa Tenggara and Maluku, etc. What everybody wanted was independent Indonesia, and they would proclaim Sukarno's name because he was the president. It was not the other way round, as if he had the power and they would have to obey. On the contrary, he had very little power, and that little bit of power at that time was totally dependent on the spontaneous support of the population. He also had no regular army, but the army was still creating itself through the initiative of the armed people throughout the country, who armed themselves by capturing and looting the Japanese arms depots when these did not give up the arms voluntarily. Don't forget, Frans Kasiepo made the name proposal in mid 1946, at the Malino Conference (in Sulawesi), this was long before the "normalisation" of Indonesian armed groups (.....).

Since March 1946, when Dutch forces began to enter the territory of the Republic, many of the regions got under Dutch occupation, including the West New Guinea of that time. So that Sukarno really had no chance to influence anybody there, except those who were "influenced" by themselves through their enthusiasm for the Republic and its president. So, I think you are mistaken when you write: "The abbreviation, not name IRIAN, is from Sukarno". Do you know whether Frans Kasiepo had ever been in Yogyakarta and met Sukarno before the Malino Conference of 1946? I'll explain to you below, why I am so skeptical about this version, and why I am pretty sure that the name was not coined by Sukarno.

I am very grateful to you for having disclosed that Frans Kasiepo was a West Papuan. Up to now, I did not know that. I was pretty sure that the spontaneous support for the Indonesian Republic in 1945 all over the former territory of Netherlands East Indies also included some urban population of West New Guinea. But I did not know anything concrete, except for the setting up of the Partai Indonesia Merdeka by Lukas Rumkorem (the father of Seth Jafet Rumkorem) on the island of Biak in October 1949. I am therefore now relieved to learn, that the person who suggested the "name" Irian at the Malino Conference was a West Papuan.

So when the other Indonesians decided not to call the people of that island Papuans, because they were convinced that the word was insulting, they apparently decided to accept a name which somebody from that island had proposed (and when I speak Indonesian, I still do not use the word Papua, but only when I speak in a foreign language in which that word is not insulting). You must understand them. There is no indigenous name for the island. New Guinea is a foreign term, Papua was also not an indigenous name for the island, and it was considered insulting. But "luckily", there was a name that had been proposed by an activist from that island, this very Irian, so they were happy to accept it as the name for the island.

They did not know that the name was actually an abbreviation for ikut Republik Indonesia Anti Nederland ("join the Republic of Indonesia anti the Netherlands"), and I myself have always been very skeptical about that etymology. Why? For two reasons:

(1) The Indonesian central government, including Sukarno, at first knew nothing of that name, and continued using the term Nieuw Guinea or Guinea Baru for the island. When they started to use Irian (I don't remember exactly since when, but apparently only after 1950), they used it to refer to the whole island, refering to the Dutch occupied half as Irian Barat ("West Irian"), and to the British and Australian-administered half as Irian Timur ("East Irian"). That is also why the province was called Irian Barat when it was set up. If Sukarno or others in the central government had known of the abbreviation, then they would have known that it originally referred to the Dutch administered part of the island only, and if they said Irian Barat that would mean the Indonesian Republic claimed only the western part of West New Guinea. That would not have been a diplomatically clever thing to do.

(2) From a purely linguistic point of view, the phrase anti Nederland would have been very awkward for both Bahasa Indonesia as well as for the colloquial Malay spoken in Java in the late 1940-s. It would have been possible in the late 1950-s, but even then, both for Bahasa Indonesia as well as in the colloquial Malay of Java, anti would not have been the natural opposite of ikut. The use of Nederland instead of Belanda also only became a feature of the language of the later 1950s onwards. If the acronym had been invented in Java around 1945-1946, by Sukarno or by somebody else in the central government or close to it, then it would probably have been ikut Republik Indonesia lawan Belanda and the acronym or abbreviation would have been something like IRIWANDA.

That is why I at first thought that this ikut Republik Indonesia anti Nederland was a Dutch invention, because it was linguistically quite imaginable in the speech of a Dutch speaker of Malay or Bahasa Indonesia but not of an Indonesian speaker in Java of 1945-1946. But if Frans Kasiepo was a West Papuan who had grown up and lived in the Dutch-administered environment of West New Guinea, I can well imagine that choice of wording of the abbreviated phrase coming from him as well. But I doubt that he would have phrased it that way if he had been in Java in 1945-1946 and had consulted with Sukarno or other members of the central government in Yogyakarta.

So, I ask you to check up, what evidence is there, that the acronym had been coined by Sukarno, and that Frans Kasiepo had only proposed it under the influence of Sukarno?

As for your question, why it is that Frans Kasiepo later changed his mind and joined the OPM, I think there are several possibilities. I don't know when he changed his mind (I didn't even know he had been a West Papuan and that he had been in the OPM at all). If he had only changed his mind after 1965, I think that would be very easy to understand. Seth Japhet Rumkorem (the son of Lukas Rumkorem), also was at first an Indonesian Republican, and became an officer in the Indonesian army. But when he saw the cruelties that the Indonesian military committed against the population, he did the logical and understandable thing, and crossed over to the OPM because there were no possibilities for a legal opposition under Soeharto rule. So, if Frans Kasiepo changed his mind after 1965, that would not have been surprising at all.

If Frans Kasiepo already changed his mind before 1963, that is perhaps also understandable. One must bear in mind, that for Indonesian patriots in West New Guinea during Dutch occupation (1949-1962) it was very difficult. Many activists, like Martin Indey and Korinus Krey, got imprisoned by the colonial administration. So, if Frans Kasiepo decided to play it safe, well, maybe that wasn't exactly "heroic", but many people behave that way and they are also people whose rights one should perhaps respect. Obviously, nevertheless, he showed courage when he decided to join OPM in the face of the terror of the regime.....

> Suharto changed the name Sukarnopura into Jayapura, Irian Barat into Irian
> Jaya. This because he lead the MANDALA JAYA operation to integrate West
> Papua into Indonesia. He name JAYAWIJAYA, PUNCAK JAYA, IRIAN JAYA, all
> "JAYAs" refer to his glorious achievements to integrate West Papuans into
> INdonesia.
I fully agree with you. I think this "jaya" word is totally out of place and even insulting to the population. Particularly because none of the basic principles of the Indonesian struggle for national independence were "triumphant" (that is the actual meaning of jaya) in "Irian Jaya". Quite the opposite. All the principles laid down in the constitution have been stamped with military boots spreading death, destruction and terror among the population.
>             WHich means no indication to us "West Papuans" as human beings.
> We are not tools for political manipulations, but we are people, have
> identity and dignity.
I agree.

I think it is also very important to document the origin of the term Irian itself. If there is evidence that it was indeed an acronym of ikut Republik Indonesia anti Nederland, no matter who invented it, I think it is very important to let an as wide as possible Indonesian public know of this, especially people of the reform movement. I am quite sure you will find understanding among them, and the agreement from them that the local population has the full right to decide its own name and to demand a change of the name if it considers it insulting. I would be very happy if I could get or buy a copy of that book you mentioned in which the problem is treated. Please let me know how I can acquire a copy.

> 2. Both EYK and John Wilson, having missionary background with us in WP
> appear to be reluctant to help us towards the full independence AT THE
> MOMENT. This is the reason why the church is now regarded NOT as the place
> for its members to go and ask for help. Church leaders, especially western
> missionaries, have been imposing their beliefs and brands of issues such as
> cargoism, etc. towards OPM struggle. Your e-mails show clearly that you are
> still thinking in a way that you previous missionaries were thinking. Can
> you change your perceptions? to help us?
> I had been working with missionaries and church for more than 10 years and I
> heard them talking about us and our struggle.
> One missionary member from Australia and one from British told me this: WE
> IT.
I can understand the motivation of the church people, even if I don't necessarily agree with them in detail. I myself also think you shouldn't separate from the Republic of indonesia. But I'm not so sure that you CAN'T. Perhaps there is a small possibility that you COULD, and you might therefore perhaps think it worth the effort to try. But my advice as a friend is, don't do it. Not because you can't succeed, but because if you do succeed, it will bring you even greater and more prolonged suffering than the people of West Papua have already experienced up to now. I already explained why in my response to Ottis Simopiaref which I have meanwhile placed on WWW, and also in some inputs here on Eastnet, e.g. 25 Jul 1998 in response to Geoffrey Heard. This input is already much too long so I will not repeat everything again here.

Important is, I think, that we keep up unity. At the moment I am sorry to see various divisions. Different West Papuan activists, whether considering themselves OPM or not, are making contradicting statements. This is not good. It is very important to come to an agreement with each other first, so that you can speak to the authorities and to the outside world with one voice. Otherwise it will be much too easy for your enemies to instrumentalize some Papuans against other Papuans, and in the end Papuans will be fighting each other while the apparatus of the regime watches and claps its hands.

Now, unity is not very easy to achieve. there are widely divergent interests within West Papuan society, and there is a not small part of the population which would prefer to stay within Indonesia. So, when you start forming a united position, you will soon find that it might not be possible to reach an agreement among West Papuans themselves for an immediate separation from Indonesia. Don't let that discourage you. Whatever you want to achieve often has to be achieved step by step. At each step you can always decide, whether the majority still wants to make the next step further.

On the other hand, if you want to insist on a maximalist program of total independence while a sufficiently large fraction disagrees, it would be very dangerous to continue the maximalist program, because, if you succeed, you will have an independent West Papua in which Papuans will be fighting against Papuans. You can be sure, that there will be an Indonesian army outside the door, its hands itching to get in and "help" one of the sides.......

So whatever compromise you reach among yourselves as West Papuans, even if it is far below the independence you yourself might want, it is far better to stick together and reach a small success, than perhaps to even manage to reach a large success but with your house divided against yourself. The failure to realise the importance of searching unity through compromise is a typical mistake of all fledgeling nations, and Papuans don't need to be ashamed about it.

In 1945-1948, Indonesian parties were also fighting each other rather than remaining united in the face of the return of the colonial power. As a result, the colonial forces managed to overrun the capital which was Yogyakarta at that time, and capture Sukarno and Hatta. In East Timor, when the Portuguese administration loosened control, one party decided to grab power all by itself. As a result, the main rival party revolted and finally managed to overthrow the power of the former party. This situation was used by the Indonesian military to overrun East Timor, with the most horrible consequences up to this day, which you probably also know. Even during the American War of Independence, there was a time when George Washington had to face a dangerous opposition in Congress, and there was some degree of luck that the United States finally succeeded in becoming independent from the British monarchy in spite of internal disagreements.
I think, this is what one of the writers meant, who wrote: look at what is happening in Africa....
So you see, everybody had the same trouble, and it is not at all easy to reach a compromise. But it is of vital importance to succeed.

This is one of the reasons, why it is my strong opinion, that it is better for all the different West Papuan fractions to cooperate with each other and to join forces with the movement for total reform in the rest of whole Indonesia. This will bring peace to the country including West Papua, and will give you the opportunity to consolidate yourselves as West Papuans in conditions where you are not constantly chased around, where you do not have to be afraid to be shot dead or your house burned down or your wife or sister raped by Indonesian militaries. It will only succeed if all the oppressed population of all ethnic groups, all religions, from all the islands and provinces join forces and confront the military with the reality that they are not anybody's army anymore if they don't submit to total reform.

> 6. Mr. Waruno had been arguing about the name IRIAN and JAYA. I am sorry,
> but you name is I am afraid, indicating you heart for Javanese, or maybe you
> are. Yes, names indicate the person, name is not only letters and words. It
> has meanings which characterise the name.
You are wrong. I am not a Javanese. But I don't mind the Javanese any more or any less than I mind West Papuans, or any other peoples. Because the Javanese have suffered just as badly from the regime, as all the other peoples in Indonesia. Therefore, it is important for you to know, who are your friends, and to know, who are your enemies. Let your enemies be as few as possible, and let your friends be as many as possible. And if there are people you can't make your friends, it will still be worthwhile to care that they don't join your enemies.

What do you want to do if the government pulls out all the Javanese soldiers out of "Irian Jaya" and replaces them with soldiers from Sumatra, Sulawesi, Madura, Maluku, etc.? Stop the struggle?

Not the Javanese are your enemies, but the regime. There are many Javanese who were killed or were and still are kept in prison by the regime. Many Javanese are helping support West Papuan activists in "Irian Jaya". On the other hand, the commander in chief of the military in "Irian Jaya" is not a Javanese, but a Batak (from Sumatra). The governor of the province who is the representative of the regime in "Irian Jaya", is also not a Javanese, but a West Papuan. So you see, it is essentially not a struggle of West Papuans against Javanese. It is a struggle of all the oppressed in West Papua and in the rest of Indonesia against the oppressive regime. And as these oppressed are far greater in number than the oppressors, you have more friends than enemies. Be happy about that, and make full use of it.

And beware of all people who will try to convince you that your enemy is the Javanese. They are trying to make you increase the number of your enemies and to lessen the number of you friends.....

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