History of Papua is a Part of the National History

goodmorningpapua.com – A history of the nation cannot be separated from the people who fought for within it. Indonesia itself gets know the struggle through diplomacy and armed movement. Even though Indonesia became independent on August 17, 1945, the Dutch did not simply hand over everything to the motherland. So, diplomacy became one of the chosen ways.

One such diplomacy was the Round Table Conference (KMB) which took place on December 22, 1949. Through its representatives, Indonesia hoped that this conference would be able to resolve disputes between Indonesia and the Netherlands as fairly and as quickly as possible. This tough meeting finally formulated several things, one of which was the handover of all of its former colonies to the Republic of Indonesia, except for West Irian, which would be returned in the next 2 years.

But who would have thought, two years later or in 1952, at this moment the Indonesian people felt cheated because the Dutch government betrayed concerning West Irian. Instead, the Dutch included the province as part of their kingdom, according to their constitution. Even on December 1, 1961, the Dutch formed the Papuan National Council to separate West Irian from the Republic of Indonesia.

The denial by the Dutch suddenly made President Soekarno wrath. On December 19 of the same year, the president echoed the Trikora (Tri Komando Rakyat) operation to get West Irian back to the motherland. The liberation operation and efforts through diplomacy carried out by the Government of Indonesia for 2 years finally paid off.

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The Netherlands handed over West Irian to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA); an agency under the United Nations to resolve the Indonesian-Dutch conflict over West Irian. The handover was made based on the New York Agreement on August 18, 1962.

West Irian’s long journey back to the Republic of Indonesia ended with the sign of the People’s Opinion Determination (PERPERA). The United Nations General Assembly in November 1969 ratified the results and inaugurated West Irian as a part of the Republic of Indonesia.

Several years after the change from the Old Order to the New Order, in 1968, the government held a dinner with representatives from the neighboring country, Papua New Guinea. In a light meeting with the then Minister of Home Affairs, Boediardjo, the Minister of Information of Papua New Guinea briefly questioned the issue of naming the province of West Irian. Of course he was worried that East Irian would be none other than his own country.

Hearing the story, President Suharto reacted. Through government regulation No. 5 of 1973, the president changed West Iran into Irian Jaya. This change coincided with the inauguration of Freeport’s copper and gold mine in the same year. This also marks the development in Indonesia’s easternmost province by opening the world’s largest gold mine investment.

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Entering the Reformation period under the government of President Abdurrahman Wahid, the name of the Irian Jaya province was again changed. President Gus Dur replaced it with the name “Papua Province”, right on the eve of the turn of 1999 to 2000. The pick of name Papua was conducted after President Gus Dur had held a dialogue with community representatives and Papuan leaders.

Given the long history on the island of Papua, of course it must attach to those who had fought for together for independence and returned to the bosom of the Republic of Indonesia. With that spirit, the government has officially awarded those who had fought for as national heroes. There are 5 national heroes from Papua. In fact, three of them were jointly appointed in 1993, according to Decree 077/TK/1993 of the Directorate of Heroism, Pioneering, Solidarity and K2KRS Social Restoration.

They are Frans Kaisiepo, Silas Papare, and Marthen Indey. Two other heroes who followed were Johannes Abraham Dimara in 2010 and Macmud Singgirei Rumagesan who was appointed a national hero in 2020.

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