North Britain and West Papua: Worlds Apart?

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by Jack Johnston and Andy Gray

As West Papuans fight for their right to a referendum on self determination, Scotland’s SNP majority government calls the shots on when and how Scotland will hold its independence referendum.  Half of West Papua’s population doesn’t consider themselves Papuan whilst Scotland’s national identity traces its origins back nearly a millennium. Whereas Scotland counts on historical ties with powerful neighbours, large proportions of Papua never knew of the outside world before the 1960s.   While Scotland’s diasporas keep a close eye on events back home, West Papua is possibly the least publicised contemporary genocide.

The re-establishment of the Scottish parliament adds the missing keystone to the legal system, the education and university institutions, banks and other features of state that Scotland never gave up when its King became King of England. Papua has no political history before 1960, save a few Dutch colonial outposts around the coast and verbal accounts of how tribal relations were back then.

Papua’s hundreds of mutually unintelligible languages mean that Indonesian is used for inter tribal communication. Gaelic has its own BBC channel and Scots with its impressive literary legacy  is understood by all and  increasingly recognised as a national language.

The pan West Papuan national identity that does exist is largely a response to the common oppression they have suffered at the hands of the Indonesian state. Papuan leaders are ‘disappeared’ or languish in jail, massacres are brought down on those opposing centralized misrule. Violence over Scottish independence is the laughable preserve of unionist scaremongers.

Scotland’s independence poses very real problems to the EU, riddled as it is with regions bent on secession from member states. It also threatens the UK’s role as US’ lap dog.

Papuans, like Melanesians, aspire to join The Pacific Islands Forum but their plea for observer status has been thwarted by Indonesia.  Likewise they are denied membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. West Papuans feel betrayed by their ‘big brother’ Papua New Guinea which could use its independence to champion their cause. Only Vanuatu regularly speaks up for West Papua in international circles.

Scotland is the location of the UK’s nuclear arsenal and is situated centrally in a region that gives its name to a crucial military alliance – The North AtlanticTreaty Organisation.  It also possesses the majority of the UK’s gas, oil, fishing, fresh water and renewable energy potential.

Indonesia extracts more money from Papua  containing as it does the world’s biggest gold mine amongst an immense wealth of resources than from any of its other provinces.  Papua’s independence could trigger secessionist ambitions across the archipelago so ending end Java’s empire.

4 COMMENTS

  1. West Papua
    Other than West Papua being a resource rich place and Scotland also being a resource rich place, a difference could be that the West Papuan’s could fall under the auspices of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and Scots would not even though they are an Indigenous People as well.
    Either way, a larger more powerful neighbour is controlling the lives of both peoples.

    Scots really need need to examine the history of the treatment dished out to their ancestors, the descendants of those ancestors and the current situation of resident Scots and figure out a legal peaceful way of redressing those injustices and inequities.
    Scots around the world watch with keen interest and other lucrative places to spend their tourist and investment dollars if they are treated poorly and made to feel like Scotland is not home to them.

    A lot of current resident Scots forget the political and financial power of the more numerous Scots outside Scotland who also consider Scotland home but are not allowed to live here or visit too long by Scotland’s powerful neighbour.

    Perhaps if we value our Tourist industry, our Investment attractiveness, our international support for Independence and the statistical need for a larger ratio of employed workers to retired Scots in the very near future resident Scots should care very much more about how we treat all those Scots outside Scotland.

    Those Scots are the most obvious and easiest to access source of Investment, Intellectual property, productivity and consumption that will grow our industries to secure the future of current resident Scots and those of the future as well.
    And they all love Scotland know its history and are committed to it, so would fit in well.

    Why, one could ask, does our neighbour make it difficult for them to return to contribute to Scotland’s future and by the way, vote here.

    • [quote name=”Ben Power”]West Papuan’s could fall under the auspices of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and Scots would not even though they are an Indigenous People as well.[/quote]

      How come?

      • [quote name=”Talorgan”][quote name=”Ben Power”]West Papuan’s could fall under the auspices of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and Scots would not even though they are an Indigenous People as well.[/quote]

        How come?[/quote]
        There is no quick answer a short one would be as follows
        Scots would be defined by common oxford dictionary definition, as Indigenous. Scots would not, however, be classified as a minority indigenous culture as seemingly intended in the UN declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

        Despite this, the underlying principle that the UN declaration unambiguously recognises is the rights any people should have, particularly people of differing ethnicity to the more numerous people in a country.

        Following is an excerpt of the declaration. It is what the UN regards as basic for an at risk culture so why not for Scots as well is the question.

        Article 8 of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
        Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:
        8.1 Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
        8.2 Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
        8.3Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any 8.4of their rights;
        8.5 Any form of forced assimilation or integration;
        8.6 Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them.

        Article 9
        Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned.
        No discrimination of any kind may arise from the exercise of such a right.

        Should all apply to Scotland as well if it applies to less developed communities.

      • [quote name=”Talorgan”][quote name=”Ben Power”]West Papuan’s could fall under the auspices of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and Scots would not even though they are an Indigenous People as well.[/quote]

        How come?[/quote]
        There is no quick answer a short one would be as follows
        Scots would be defined by common oxford dictionary definition, as Indigenous. Scots would not, however, be classified as a minority indigenous culture as seemingly intended in the UN declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

        Despite this, the underlying principle that the UN declaration unambiguously recognises is the rights any people should have, particularly people of differing ethnicity to the more numerous people in a country.

        Following is an excerpt of the declaration. It is what the UN regards as basic for an at risk culture so why not for Scots as well is the question.

        Article 8 of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
        Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:
        8.1 Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
        8.2 Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
        8.3Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any 8.4of their rights;
        8.5 Any form of forced assimilation or integration;
        8.6 Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them.

        Article 9
        Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned.
        No discrimination of any kind may arise from the exercise of such a right.

        Should all apply to Scotland as well if it applies to less developed communities.

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