Benny Wenda Criticizes Jokowi, Lauds Gus Dur in Papua

The leader of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda, slammed President Joko Widodo saying despite his frequent visits to Papua, he did not solve any problem.

According to Benny, the military presence in the region did not represent Jokowi’s stance.

“No Indonesian President has understood Papua’s problems like Gus Dur,” said Benny as quoted from Tempo Magazine edition of September 2-8, 2019.

Few months after inaugurated, the fourth Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid aka Gus Dur changed the province’s name from Irian Jaya to Papua.

The initial name meant naked in the Arabic language as Arabian people who came to the island discovered natives were unclothed.

Besides, Gus Dur allowing morning star flag to be raised so long it is under the Indonesian flag.

“No one used the name of Papua except for Gus Dur who dared to stand up for Papua and also considers Bintang Kejora (morning star) as our cultural symbol,” said Benny.

Indonesia as the United Nations Security Council non-permanent member, he went on, must learn from neighboring countries like France that gave New Caledonia a chance to hold a referendum or Great Britain, which held a referendum [to decide] on whether to leave the European Union.

“The Papuan nation must be given the chance to choose,” Benny Wenda remarked.