The Phenomenal Incident of The Commemoration of The World Indigenous People Day in Wamena August 9, 2008

On August 9, 2008 The Commemoration of The World Indigenous People Day was held in Wamena Papua. The event was designed by Papua Board of Customs ( DAP ). 5000 citizens from various areas in Papua came to the event. They were heavily guarded by the police and the Indonesian army. At first, this event was prohibited and didn’t get any permission from Papua police especially the Wamena police, but DAP continued with the event because according to them, it was commemorated all over the world. DAP couldn’t guarantee the safety of the citizens who came to the event. The Indonesian army and the police did their obligation by undergoing safety procedures for the participants and also for the local people. Indeed, this event is held yearly by DAP but this year it wasn’t well organized due to safety factors.


The commemoration event was held in the same time with Lembah Baliem Festival 2008 which was held in Mulyama field in the district of Asologaima, approximately 20 km from the commemoration event. The Lembah Baliem Festival has been held since August 7, 2008 and it is one of the tourist spots for foreign and domestic tourists. The chance of provocation and intrusion wasn’t considered by the committee. This lead to a perception that the committee only paid attention to a certain group of people. They should have been more attentive to the local people especially guests that came to Papua in order to participate in the Lembah Baliem festival.


Chronologically, the chaos occurred at 2.55 eastern time or 12.55 western time just after Forkorus, the head of DAP read his opening speech. At that time, some participants spontaneously landed spheres decorated with 4 flags which are the Indonesian flag, the United Nations flag, the SOS flag and the Bintang Kejora flag. The authorities asked the crowd to take the flag down but instead they attacked the authorities with stones, spheres and arrows. This situation forced the authorities to fire a warning sign in order to stop the attack. One person named Opinus Tabuni (a citizen of Asologaima District, Wamena) became a victim. An autopsy was done and the report stated that the victim was full of wounds from the right waist up to the heart. The wounds were full of bullets that were going to be ballistic tested in Makassar. The question is whether the authorities have done the appropriate procedure? Analyzing the factual events, it can be stated that the authorities had done the right procedure by asking the participants to take down the Bintang Kejora flag but because of a chaotic event, the authorities were forced to fire a warning sign. There’s an indication that a scenario was designed to involve the authorities and the crowd in chaos. Therefore, the authorities’ main responsibility that is to secure the event was jeopardized. Unfortunenetly, a civilian became a victim.


The leaders of DAP, Leo Imbiri as secretary and Thaha Alhamis as general secretary of Papua Board Presidium stated that the raising of the flag wasn’t on the event’s agenda, in this case it’s strongly implied that DAP didn’t want to be responsible for the chaotic incident. From the beginning, the commemoration event didn’t get permission from the authorities and after the incident it seems that DAP doesn’t want to be hold responsible for the chaos that occurred. It wasn’t a wise thing to do as a matter of fact it was a very irresponsible action. The committee was supposed to be able to control the crowd.


The authorities, in this case the Papua police have asked for the committee’s full responsibility of the incident because at first the event was forbidden by the police. Examinations are being done to 31 Jayawijaya police members and several witnesses regarding the incident.


This kind of phenomenal event is quite interesting because the committee didn’t get permission to hold this event but they insisted on doing it. The end result: CHAOS


If you are considered leader of the Papua citizens, you must learn to sacrifice for the welfare of your people, not sacrifice your people for your own interest. Giving rewards for victims are a common thing for a leader with a small heart. The graveyards should be a monument which will remind us of the small-hearted leaders who sacrifice their people for their own interest.


Regards from the east…

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