Sunday, February 24, 2013

Aborigines take up the cause of West Papuans

Vanguard March 2013 p. 2
Nick G.

Arabunna elder Uncle Kevin Buzzacott (above)  is urging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and supporters in the wider community, to take up the cause of the West Papuan people.

Suffering under Indonesian occupation, the West Papuan people are developing an independence movement that cannot be silenced by repression and violence.

Uncle Kevin, well-known in the South Australian community as an anti-nuclear activist and an opponent of the Olympic Dam expansion, says he is motivated by a duty of care for his northern neighbours.

“We have a responsibility to care for our brothers and sisters from across the water,” he said in a recent statement issued in conjunction with a proposal for a land and sea convoy from his country around Lake Eyre to West Papua.

“We must bring the water, the fire, the love and the music to heal the country as we move in solidarity.

Organisers of the convoy say that once upon a time the land between Australia and the islands to the north was joined, then Australia, the big mother, split from her children, the islands of Melanesia.

According to Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, “We were one people, we must uphold our cultural connection, the old land is calling us.”

Starting with a music festival on the shores of Lake Eyre from July 20-25, the convoy will travel via Alice Springs and Tennant Creek to Cairns, launching their flotilla in mid-August.

They will follow the underground water and ancient songlines in a freedom ride of artists, musicians, Free West Papua activists and Indigenous ambassadors, carrying water from the sacred mound springs dotting Arabunna country, fire from Lake Eyre and ashes from the various Aboriginal tent embassies across Australia.

Organisers hope that the land and sea convoy will further publicise the cause of West Papuan independence and give hope and encouragement to the peoples in their struggle for peace and justice.
Further reading: For  more information on the convoy, on the West Papuan struggle and on Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, including Youtube links, see here.

For recent news of armed clashes in West Papua, see:

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