December, 22 2005 @ 09:41 am

When I was sipping warm coffee while discussing the Yahukimo famine  with friends in Yogyakarta, suddenly my mobile phone was flashing with  an SMS from a colleague in Port Numbay (or what Indonesia calls  Jayapura), capital of West Papua. The message says: “The Papua Governor  has died of a heart attack”.  We were of course surprised, but  skeptical since news such as this was quite often circulated during the  gubernatorial campaign, either by SalossaÂ’s opponents as well as by  parties trying to spark conflict between those in favor of the special  autonomy package and those who were against it.

Our  other theory was that the news was just a black propaganda by the  Salossa camp since the governor, mastermind of the special autonomy,  was campaigning for a third term in office. The 2005-2010 Papuan  gubernatorial election was only months away.

But after some crosschecking to other friends in Jayapura, the news turned up to be true. Governor  Jaap P. Solossa was rushed to the Dok II Public Hospital, Jayapura on  Monday (19/12) afternoon but announced dead later at about 9.45pm.

(Editor's  Note: Immediately after the governor was announced dead, Filep Karma  waved the Morning Star flag at the Abepura Prison. He was later beaten  badly by police and brought to the same Dok II hospital.)

So,  immediately, our Yahukimo discussion turned into a reflection of the  governorÂ’s life. So many things were said about the governor. But for  us Melanesians, we were all children of Papua and its traditions. We  must respect all Papuans, even though we might part ways as we grew up  to become Papuan men and women.

J.P. Solossa was a political  figure involved in the preparation of the National Dialog. In 1999,  Solossa was chair of the Papuan chapter of the National Sports  Committee (KONI) and was one of the members of "Team 100" (led by once-radical-turned-Freeport-commissioner Thomas Beanal)  that met with then President BJ Habibie. The team urged the president  to allow Papuans to organize the National Dialog to resolve the  political problems of West Papua. "Team 100" itself was found by the  Papuan Reconciliation Forum (Foreri) chaired by Willy Mandowen. The  forum also came up with the concept to form the Papua Presidium Council  (PDP) during the Second Papuan PeopleÂ’s Congress in 2000. Theys Eluay  later chaired of the council but was assasinated in November 2001.

After  the Second Papuan PeopleÂ’s Congress, Solossa took another route and  prepared himself as governor candidate following the discharge of then  Governor Fredy Numberi who was called to Jakarta to take up a  ministerial post. Numberi was later appointed as Indonesian Ambassador  for Italy and Malta, and eventually Minister for Maritime Affairs to  this day. Meanwhile Solossa fulfilled his ambition to be Papuan  governor to the day he died.

It is no secret that Solossa was temperamental.  When he chaired of the Papuan chapter of KONI, he ousted another top  figure in the committee, Brigadier General (retired) Bram Oktovianus  Aturury, and started years of political feud. Both figures politicians  had mass following, and the conflict became more apparent when each  became top authoritative figures – Salossa became Papua governor and  Aturury was elected West Irian Jaya governor. The feud continuous  conflicts between three fronts. Salossa and his supporters wanted  special autonomy, Aturury wanted expansion of Papua provinces, and of  course, there was also mass following wanting an independent Papua.

The  political interests, particularly that of Salossa and Aturury, were  accommodated by the central government. Trillions of rupiah were spent  to campaign both concepts. Salossa was temperamental, and Aturury was  militaristic. Supporters of both clashed frequently. Papuans were  sacrificed for the interests of the political elites.

Solossa  has died but he left a ticking time bomb. He has started a fight, who  knows how his supporter is going to finish off his interest. But  hopefully SalossaÂ’s death could give us time to remember the 36 years  of violence and suffering in Papua since the cheated Act of Choice in  1969. Papuans have suffered through poverty, famine  (recently) corruption, illiteracy, HIV/AIDS, repression from the Armed  Forces TNI, and through the through various political interests of the  central government. Papuans are still waiting for the central  government to change its policies on Papua. Still hoping democracy  would arrive one day to our land.

It was clear from the start  that SalossaÂ’s interest was against the interest of the United West  Papua Front of Struggle (Front PEPERA Papua Barat). However a death is  always a loss, even the death of the enemy. Salossa was a Papuan,  brought up by Papuan parents and Melanesian customs. I, therefore, pay  him my last respect.

  By: Hans Gebze | Category: Politics
Hans Gebze
Ketua Umum Eksekutif Nasional
Front Persatuan Perjuangan Rakyat Papua Barat
[Front PEPERA Papua Barat]