Written in 2011
Armed Kopassus kill peaceful West Papuan protestors
and you stay silent, cowered by your personal fear.
Members of Indonesia’s Brimbo units bash villagers
(all the villagers had done was to feed separatists)
and all the while you do nothing to help.
But then again in 1961 you did nothing
when Sukarno threatened to kill all Papuan leaders
if they opposed integration into Indonesia.
When the paramilitary carry out extra-judicial killings
all you do is look away and pretend you just don’t see.
When Kopassus shoot protesters for shouting “freedom”
or for raising the Morning Star or for raising their fists
or for singing Papua freedom, merdeka Papua
you divert your eyes, you blink – you look away.
After Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975
you recognised them as the legitimate government
you agreed to share East Timor’s oil
as a sufficient bribe to ensure your silence.
When Indonesia robs Papuans of their Freeport wealth
you support free trade – after all you robbed other Papuans
of their sustainability, their wealth and their health at Ok Tedi.
You are not as openly brutal as Indonesia’s political leaders
but you train Indonesia’s Kopassus, and
you supply Indonesia with arms and boats and bombs.
Maybe Australia you are no different from Indonesia
your sophistication a sophistry –
a facade created to hide your barbarity.
Copyright © 2023 John Tomlinson