Rev Herman Saud on Building a Culture of Peace and Reconciliation PDF Afdrukken

The Rev Herman Saud who is one of the religious leaders in Papua who is fighting to make Papua a Zone of Peace.expressed the opinion that the only solution for  Papua  is to create  a culture of peace and reconciliation between the community and the government.

The former chairman of the Synod of GKI, speaking in his capacity as adviser to LNG Tangguh  (British Petroleum) said in an interview with Bintang Papua that  there were four regions in Indonesia, Aceh, Poso, Ambon and Papua where disturbances had occurred. 'These were places where certain elements from the regions as well as from the centre had caused disturbances, though they did not represent the interests of the people and the nation.'

Now that Kelly Kwalik was no longer alive, there was no one who could resolve the problems in Papua. This would require the willingness of the central government to sit down with the people and think together on how to create a situation of calm and peace for the people of the whole country, including the people of Papua.

'This would mean that the people could enjoy  the freedoms of assembly and of expression, as guaranteed in the Constitution.'

He admitted that he himself has once flown the Morning Star flag and pulled down the flag of UNTEA in Teminabuan, South Sorong on 1 May, 1963.

Ever since the depature of UNTEA in 1962, the authorities represented by the police and the armed forces had been constantly committing acts of violence against their own citizens, especially in Papua. Wondering why it was that the security forces had never stopped shooting citizens on the pretext of safeguarding law and order, he said: 'Even though there were no problems between  the people, the security forces were the ones who created problems between the people.' He said it was as if the government of this country, from Sabang to Merauke, did not regard Papua as a part of the territory of the Republic of Indonesia, and always used violence, arresting and murdering people, stealing their property without having to face the law. 'On the contrary, the people were the ones who faced action in the law courts, ending up behind bars,' he said.

'Even though the central government has allocated trillions of rupiahs for Papua, it has always proven extremely difficult to resolve the problems in Papua,' he said

In his opinion, Kelly Kwalik, who devoted his whole life to the struggle  should have been captured alive so that he could explain what had happened during the past decade in the vicinity of Freeport, having himself faced accusations. This would have been in accordance with the law and democracy, about which many of our leaders talked, but what we now have is the kind of democracy that exists under communists, he said.

He said that the central and local governments should have the courage to enter into dialogue with those on the other side of the fence, because they too were citizens of this country.

Who can guarantee, he asked, that the problems in the Freeport region will be resolved, following the capture of Kelly Kwalik? 'If Kwalik had been arrested and then the situation around Freeport had been resolved, this would have proven that Kwalik and his men were the ones who were responsible for the acts of violence in the area. If disturbances nevertheless continued, this would mean that other groups were responsible,' he said.

He said he was one of the church leaders who had worked unceasingly for Papua to become a land of  peace. This requires a culture  of peace and reconciliation,  bringing together all sections of the communtiy, community leaders, religious leaders,, women's leaders and leaders of the youth. 'There is a need for peace so that everyone can work together in the interest of development, he said.