Benny Wenda’s PNG Independence Day Message 2015

Dear brothers and sisters,

On behalf of the people of West Papua I would like to wish all our Papua New Guinean family a very Happy Independence Day.

We West Papuans always celebrate PNG’s Independence Day too because we are always the same people as you and before this borderline was put we all lived on this land together in freedom.
We remain One People with One Soul and we are very happy that half of our people and our land are already Independent and Free.

In these past 40 years there has been so much that our people have achieved and as Papua New Guineans celebrate Independence today we hope that all brothers and sisters will also remember the suffering of their family on the other side in West Papua. As we all know, West Papua and PNG cannot be free without one another being free. How could a twin brother or sister relax while the other is being slowly killed? We are One People and we are bound in One Destiny. We will be free.
Happy Indeoendence Day PNG
For over 50 years, we West Papuans have had no Independence Day. We have suffered and continue to suffer under a brutal Indonesian occupation that has left over half a million of us killed by the Indonesian military and police. When PNG first got Independence in 1975 our populations were both about same (approximately 1 to 2 million) but while PNG’s population now stands at over 7 million,  the population of West Papua has remained at around 1.5 million and with now over 500,000 people gone.

Therefore Indonesia is not just killing our present, they are killing the future generation too and by systematically destroying our ancient traditional culture and all our Tok Ples, they are destroying our past too. As you know, the Indonesian military has no respect for us Melanesians in West Papua or in PNG. As we have seen from so many illegal border incursions, they are willing to treat people in PNG just like they treat us in West Papua.

We West Papuans are so happy that our brothers and sisters in PNG just across this human made border are free and we dream of what it would be like growing up on this land as free Melanesian people like our PNG family. For us, every day in the village, every day in the city; every day in the garden, the forest, the mountain, the river, the solwara is a day of fear and threat. While animals can cross this border and go where they like freely, we West Papuans are not free to go anywhere at all without fear; even on our own ancestral land.

Our tumbuna always cry at the suffering of our people. We know that they are watching us with tears in their eyes, watching every generation of West Papuans grow up in fear, only to be gunned down by the Indonesian military. All the time, we pray that our dear brothers and sisters in PNG will hear our cries for freedom and help our people and help to take back our ancestral lands together that were stolen by the foreign colonial power of Indonesia.

We are all very grateful at all the increasing solidarity for the self-determination and freedom of our people from all our brothers and sisters in PNG. Support is at an all-time high that I am sure it will only continue to increase. Though we Melanesian people continue to be murdered like animals, Melanesian solidarity will never die and it is with great confidence I see that right across our Melanesian Islands, support and solidarity is forever building up and governments too are listening to their people and supporting us with our struggle for self-determination and freedom.

While we cry for our own Independence against increasingly brutal oppression we look across the border with hope and encouragement with our PNG wantoks. If PNG can gain Independence, we are sure that West Papua will do too and together we will join hands to make it happen and to struggle as One People for West Papua’s Independence and freedom as well.

Then at last we will all truly sing of our joy to be free. We are West Papua, we are PNG and together one day let us all raise our voices and proclaim that we are Independent – that we are free.

Thank you very much all brothers and sisters.

My best wishes and a very Happy Independence Day to you all

Benny Wenda
West Papuan Independence leader
Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)