Indonesia has, at various times over the years, been both the victim of oppression and colonial rule and the oppressor. For two centuries the Dutch East India Company virtually ruled the islands that comprise Indonesia as they profited from the spice trade. Later, the Dutch East Indies was a part of the Dutch colonial empire, and finally won its independence as Indonesia in the years after World War 2.
Since then, Indonesia has itself oppressed indigenous people as it annexed East Timor and West Papua. East Timor now has its independence, but the people of West Papua have had to endure massive immigration of Indonesians from crowded islands in their sparsely populated land, and significant oppression.
There are arguments on both sides of the question, of course, but there is little doubt that the indigenous people of West Papua have lost out and been treated badly. Countries like Australia support Indonesia in their annexation of West Papua, probably because we did the same to the indigenous people of Australia only two centuries ago, so how can we say anything? But the whole situation still rankles with many people.
Support two oppressed men
Amnesty International has recently reported that two Papuan men have been detained by police, allegedly tortured and held without access to lawyers or medical treatment.
You can read about it here, and sign an online petition seeking fair treatment for them. If you care, take the time, just do it!
Photo: Amnesty International