Where Is West Papua’s Struggle for Independence From Indonesia Headed?

Police officers arrest a supporter of independence for West Papua during a rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug. 15, 2017 (AP photo by Tatan Syuflana).
Police officers arrest a supporter of independence for West Papua during a rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug. 15, 2017 (AP photo by Tatan Syuflana).
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John Ondawame greatly admired the independence struggle in East Timor, especially its ability to win active support from people in Europe, the United States and Australia. But the exiled former fighter, activist and spokesman for West Papuans also longed for the world to take notice of the plight of his people and to see the shared contours of the two conflicts—two ethnically distinct regions of Indonesia longing to break free. Ondawame did not live to see his dream of West Papua’s independence fulfilled; he died in 2014. But it is more difficult than ever for the Indonesian government to keep […]

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