Recent violence shows the authorities share a disturbing mindset about the residents of Papua

Budi Hernawan in Inside Indonesia 109: Jul-Sep 2012


Budi Hernawan

A student demonstration in Jayapura
Budi Hernawan

The statement by President Yudhoyono that recent violent incidents in Papua are ‘small-scale incidents compared to those in the Middle East’ (Jakarta Post, 12 June 2012) is worrying. The worry is not only that, by comparing Papuans and people in the Middle East in this way, he appeared to confuse his constitutional duty to protect Indonesian nationals with his role as observer of world politics. It is also because his comment suggests the president views Papuans as living ‘bare lives.’

First coined by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, a ‘bare life’ denotes a life that is limited to its biological and physiological dimensions. The term emphasises the emptiness of such life, a life that is devoid of meaning and value. Lived bare, the life of an individual is equivalent to a piece of meat. If someone destroys this life, it makes no difference because a bare life that is ended cannot be transformed into sacrifice. It has no higher meaning or significance.


Read the whole article: They are just Papuans (pdf)




Fri 13 July 2012 11:56 am
Yes..we are Papuan,,dont look down on us as living "bare lives" Mr.President. That reveals your lack of sensitivity as human being....Papuan ese struggle for recognition and respect as human beings..human rights are for everyone, count us in, Mr.President. Aint You tired overlooking the westpapua issue??


Fri 13 July 2012 03:27 am
This is a very rational and perceptive article. The word is now spreading on the military impunity and the lack of Freedom of Expression in West Papua. Has anyone ever called for a Truth and Reparation investigation after nearly fifty years of Human Rights infringements and lack of Judicial Justice for all those instances of taking so cheaply the lives, customs and lifestyles away from these Indigenous Melanesian peoples of West Papua? The United Nations still owes them an act of self determination, one person , one vote....they could start with outing the truth!
Carol Tarrant


Tue 10 July 2012 10:25 am
Great insight on the article. Sad to see this crusade continue against the native Papuan population.


Mon 09 July 2012 05:14 pm
we know something happen for all of us and we always keep in our heart this story will star until end up we always talk to our son, daughter who we are, we deferent from them, they are a stranger ,may be you want destroy native people in this land but you wrong there some one always watching you cos His is a creator who is He? Jesus will done. Our struggle never ending when in this land still has women, we alway survive free is a price for all of the ng that you must know every person that you kill will bring bad impact for your country cos the blood from victim always cry for His Lord and i do believe Lord has hearing the Papuan people voices. Now we just wait His mercy. It's enought for this metter.
ucuh Pessy