Indonesia Vis a Vis ULMWP (OPM): Comprehensive Strategy to Build Trust and Strengthen the Nationalism in Papua

Indonesia Vis a Vis ULMWP (OPM): Comprehensive Strategy to Build Trust and Strengthen the Nationalism in Papua

One of our big challenge as a big nation is the threat of separatism. The 71st Independence Day few days ago is perfect moment for us to re-contemplate about our “Indonesianess” and our integrity as a sovereign state and nation.

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s name in MSG (Melanesian Spearhead Group) as a member candidate was shocking enough for us. Fortunately, Indonesia Diplomacy eventually succeeds to overcome this problem. Active participation and intensive lobbies of Indonesian delegation also consists of representatives of the Melanesian culture 5 patterned Indonesian province, (North Maluku, Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, Papua, West Papua) has managed to convince the MSG leaders for not accepting ULMWP membership applications.

This also colored by several numbers of incidents. Lately, occurred in Vanuatu, where the ULMWP’s flag raised in Vanuatu. Not only Vanuatu, but also Netherlands, Bali, and even in Bundaran HI, Jakarta, December, 1 2015, known as ULMWP’s birthday by Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua. The international communities also give various responses to it. In term of MSG membership, some of the members support ULMWP to be a sovereign state and get the MSG full membership, they are Vanuatu, Salomon Islands, and New Caledonia.

For now, it is not about Indonesia and ULMWP. The Indonesia government should realize that although ULMWP failed in MSG, this may be the first but who knows for the last? The government should not be too happy with its success on convincing the MSG to not accept the ULWMP. Minister Luhut may say that this was Indonesia’s winning, but I say, winning the battle does not always mean as winning the war.

There are two approaches that the government could use as a strategic solution for ULWMP case. The strategy consists of two approaches based on the actor. First is “Government to Government” strategy. The G to G is related to diplomacy, negotiations, defense, and also national security mechanism and the second is what I call as “People to People” strategy.

First, In term of diplomacy, Indonesia government must strengthen the MSG and the bilateral relations with south-pacific states as our concern. Indonesia must get the leading position in MSG with its power, especially our economic power. We could offer big opportunities in economic cooperation. As we know, economically, Indonesia could be a strategic partner for the other Melanesian states. Leading in MSG at least could be Indonesia’s Ace card on dealing with the ULMWP status within the Melanesians. In the other hand, the Freeport contract also could be use as our diplomatic instrument to guarantee (or get the guarantee) about ULWMP status within the international community because there are also some state that want to take (or are taking) the advantages on Papua, as we’ve seen in East Timor, Aceh, etc.

Second, The government should prioritize the negotiations with all parties (or stakeholders) in Papua case. According to Adriana Elizabeth (LIPI) stated that we need and must create the National Dialogue. The Dialogue is a strategic dialogue and negotiations that involved all government agencies from local, regional and national which are related to Papua. The dialogue is held to understand side by side about the roots problems and formulate the efforts and strategic policies as the (re)solution. The negotiations with “Gerakan Aceh Merdeka” could be our example. RI-GAM negotiations may not be the best, but it is our most rational and possible consideration that could be applied with ULMWP, of course with some strategic improvements because ULMWP has its own complicated challenges.

Third, in term of national defense and security, Government should prioritize Papua as special military operation area if it is really needed because separatism is one of the eight nonmilitary (asymmetrical) threats based on Minister Ryamizard official statement. Our defense systems should be formulated and upgraded as Asymmetrical strategic operation. The strategy must be effective and efficient on combating the separatism movement in Papua.

The second approach is “People to People” mechanism. The P to P is related to some societal mechanisms and systems that we could use as means to build trust to the people of Papua. The trust will bring us to the next stage called nationalism. Nurturing the nationalism by building the trust to Papua as the part of Indonesia is our duty as a nation.

The goal of P to P strategy is to avoid the societal support for ULMWP because as the other organizations, ULMWP need mass basis. And the separatism propaganda is being operated here. Indonesia should fight this not with propaganda, but by inspiring the trust between the societies. Building trust with the people of Papua is building the nationalism not only in the heart of the people of Papua, but also the others.

The education system, especially the university is a perfect basis to formulate the strategy. As we know there are many students come from eastern Indonesia to the universities and/or colleges at the central and western part and so on. The students from outside of the eastern part are also go study to university in eastern part of Indonesia. This is the perfect moment and long-term effort for all of the Indonesian students to create a strong relation as one nation each other. This may sounds too idealist, but, if we really understand what nationalism and unity means, we should consider this very well.

To sum my points up, I recommend that the government should really understand what makes ULMWP (OPM) strong as a movement, as an organization, military forces, institution, and even a nation. The government should strike the center of gravity of ULMWP (OPM)’s movement or organizations, namely: 1) its separatism ideology; 2) the leader; 3) the followers; 4) organizational structures; 5) its financial system; 6) the arms system; and 7) its guerilla tactic as our military concern on its asymmetric strategies.

And as social systems, not only government, but also us as a society, we must understand and never disturb the circumstances. Nationalism is not only grown by some government instructions or policies or some official programs in local and national government, but it grows beneath us as a citizens and within us as a society which means every place we are living in, as long as it is around Sabang to Marauke, it is Indonesia.

*) Azhari Setiawan, University of Indonesia

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