Covered with flowers, wearing a fedora hat, this old man stands at Sentani Airport, Papua . The crutch he removed from his hands, his body bent and finally on his stomach. He kissed the land of Papua, paid off a passionate longing.
The old man is Nicolaas Jouwe , and the incident at Sentani Airport on March 22, 2009 at the same time broke his vows not to return to Papua since he went to the Netherlands in 1963. He is the most important figure behind the controversial flag of Bumi Cenderawasih, namely the Morning Star Flag, or often referred to as the Morning Star Flag.
“I was the one who made the Morning Star Flag which was first flown on December 1, 1961,” said Nicolaas in his book, ‘Back to Indonesia: Steps, Thoughts, and Desires’.
Nicolaas was born in Hollandia (now Jayapura) on November 24, 1924. The palm line, as he used the term, led him to become a soldier even though he never wanted to be a soldier. It was also his lines that led him to become one of the Papuan figures in the past, although he admitted that he did not want that title.
Nicolaas is one of the alumni of the civil service school in Jayapura which was founded by the Dutch Resident, Jan Pieter Karel van Eechoud. The school van Eechoud founded in 1944, includes a police school. For his services in educating Papuans, van Eechoud was nicknamed the Father of Papuans.
It was through this school that an elite class of educated Papuans was born and colored political movements , both pro-independence and pro-Indonesian. Apart from Nicolaas, there are the names Frans Kasiepo, Markus Kasiepo, Silas Papare, Elieser Jan Bonay, Lukas Roemkorem, to Abdullah Arfan. All of them are alumni of a school founded by van Eechoud.
Jon RG Djopari explained in his book, ‘The Free Papua Organization Rebellion’, the educated Papuan elite then split into three political orientations. First, pro-Papua independent pro-Dutch. Second, pro-Papua independent anti-Dutch. Third, pro-Indonesia. Nicolaas Jouwe is classified as pro-independent Papua which is cooperative with the Dutch.
Actually, Nicolaas Jouwe participated in the Independent Indonesia Committee (KIM) formed by Dr. JA Gerungan in Hollandia (currently Jayapura) in 1945. However, there was disappointment when KIM turned into the Free Indonesia Party (PIM), especially when the Denpasar conference in 1946 did not include representatives from Papua. The conference itself produced the State of East Indonesia, the Indonesian side called it a political work of the Dutch divide et impera.
Later, Jouwe turned into an anti-Indonesian Papuan leader. Jouwe participated in the activities of the Dutch New Guinea United Movement which was formed by the Dutch to oppose Indonesian influence. From here on, Papuan nationalism was formed.
During the Dutch administration, the area which is now known as the Indonesian part of Papua was called Nederland Nieuw Guinea (Dutch New Guinea). Nicolaas was elected vice president of the New Guinea Council (Nieuw Guinea Raad), accompanying the president named Frits Sollewijn Gelpke, a Dutch civil servant. At that time Nicolaas struggled to ensure that all parties respect the rights of the Papuan people to determine their own destiny as an independent nation.
He made the Morning Star flag, patterned with 13 horizontal blue and white lines. This figure represents the number of regional plans to be developed. The star image is a symbol of ideals. Nicolaas, through Danilyn Rutheford’s book, stated that the star means hope, one of the elements in Christian virtue, namely faith, love and hope.
There are also those who interpret the Morning Star as the myth of Manarmakeri from Biak. Manarmakeri is said to suffer from scurvy which made him excommunicated from his village. Manarmakeri met with Sampari (morning star / Morning Star) who was full of supernatural powers. The myth about Manarmakeri is also related to Koreri, the state of living in prosperity and eternity. One day Manarmakeri would return to his village with Koreri. Koreri itself became a messianic movement. This is explained in the footnote of the ‘ Papua Road Map’ by Muridan and friends.
After Nicolaas’ Morning Star was selected as the flag of West Papua, on December 1, 1961, the flag was flown beside the Dutch flag for the first time. Later, that date will be commemorated as the establishment of the State of West Papua which is recognized by the Dutch authorities.
The political process continues through the New York Agreement. Papua will be handed over by the Dutch to Indonesia through a UN agency called UNTEA. After Papua was handed over to UNTEA in October 1962 and six months later to Indonesia, Jouwe left Papua and went to the Netherlands.
He settled in the city of Delft, vowing he would never return to his homeland if it was still occupied by Indonesia. The movement against Indonesia in Papua continued when Nicolaas lived in the Netherlands. The name Nicolaas was proposed by the ‘Organization for the Struggle for the Independence of the State of West Papua’, the forerunner of the OPM , as vice president who accompanied President Markus Kaisiepo. Nicolaas, who was initially hesitant, was later convinced about the struggle in West Papua (an area that is now known as Papua and West Papua Provinces, Indonesia).
Until 2008, Jouwe still emphasized his stance not to return to Papua, which is Indonesia’s territory. Until 2009, there was a letter from Indonesia that reached The Hague. The letter came from the 7th President of the Republic of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) especially for Nicolaas.
As told by Nicolaas in his book, the letter was carried by the delegation of Fabiola Ohei, Ondofolo (Traditional Head) Frans Albert Yoku, Nicolas Simeon MEset, a Papuan pilot who graduated from ITB, and Pastor Adolf Hanasbey. Everyone came to Nicolaas specifically to deliver a letter from SBY. The letter contained SBY’s invitation to Nicolaas to return to Indonesia.
“I think this letter was written very smoothly, a good invitation, and I feel that this letter was written with a heart and sincerity. This letter was written not with a brain but with a heart. Lord Jesus said: Believe with your heart, not with your brain,” he said. Nicolaas.
He was touched by the letter and immediately remembered the Bible verse, that the meek will inherit the earth. Nicolaas then walked to meet the Indonesian Ambassador in the Netherlands at that time, Fanie Habibie and immediately became close while exchanging rhymes in Ambonese.
Immediately imagined his past struggle to liberate Papua from Indonesia. This time the image was not accompanied by heroism. “I have realized that what has been fighting for so far is the wrong choice. Now I see that the attention of the Indonesian government and political conditions is different for Papua ,” he said.
” I will return forever to Papua, Indonesia. Once Indonesia is independent, it remains independent ,” said one of the main figures in the history of the OPM. Nicolaas finally left for Jakarta and continued to fly to Papua at the age of 85 years. “I have to go home, come home happy.”
He was determined to devote the rest of his life to the advancement of his homeland. Nicolaas passed away on September 16, 2017 at the age of 93 in Indonesia, and has received an award from President SBY in the form of Bintang Jasa Nararya. (Source: Seconds)
(Thanks to Detik for publishing this paper, hopefully it can be a reference for the younger generation of Papua so they don’t get lost by the history that was deliberately made without any foundation and deliberately provoked the younger generation of Papua.
It is the duty of the young generation to be active and pro-active, we may be critical but still it must be for the sake of truth and goodness, especially not provoking.
There have been many Papuan Young Generations who lost their way during college and education, they were financed by State and Regional funds to study in other areas in order to bring Papua back forward, but unfortunately some of them are affected by the OPM separatist virus .
As a fellow student, I reminded “Papua will be progressing starting from ourselves, not from other people, after all the country has really paid attention to the Land of Papua, it remains us the younger generation who want to work and create in what form”.
I emphasize again, we Papuans Young Generation are not supporters of OPM, until whenever we are Indonesia, because we Papua are Indonesia)
By Alfredo Kway
However to add further explanation please the following article from Kompasiana