Dear friends,

Welcome to 2011, another year of our struggle since 1962 for liberation from the Unitary Republic of Indonesia. Every day in 2010, there were reports of courageous actions by West Papuan activists in West Papua to defend our rights and undermine Indonesian colonial rule. We are all paying a huge price for our dream of freedom, and none of us will ever forgot our bitter memories of torture, murder, prison, rape, and fear. However, we also saw, in 2010, great strides in our resistance and nation-making efforts, which should give us courage to continue to work hard, despite the difficulties, in 2011.

The film of our Student Workshop in Wewak on the north coast of Papua New Guinea by RMIT documentary film-maker Erin Morris was accepted by ViBGYOR International Film Festival. The film is showing at the festival in Kerala (India) on 14 January 2010. (West Papua – A Journey to Freedom; http://ajourneytofreedom.net/).

Second, in June 2010, the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP), the elected representatives of our 'tribal leadersip', our 'women's groups', and our 'religious institutes' formally rejected Special Autonomy after a two-day consultation with twenty-eight Papuan civil organisations and demanded a referendum. This was an unprecedented demonstration of Papuan political unity. Apparently it left General Yudhoyono wondering whether his problems in Papua were due to "the management, the budgeting, or the overall efficiency?" (The Jakarta Post, 30 July 2010, Papua provinces development funds: SBY), and the Minister for the Economy wondering “Why we still have a low human development index when there’s economic growth?”

Later in the year, after the publication of videos of the miltary torturing two highland men, the presidential spokesperson on political affairs admitted in his summation of progress in 2010 “We have managed to deliver a good public show. We have done a huge favor to the media and increased their circulation. But, we achieved almost nothing of substance, to be honest.” (The Age, 27 December 2010 Corruption takes gloss off Indonesia’s boom ; The Jakarta Post, 20 December 2010 Little achieved in politics this year).

Third, there was the first US Congressional Hearing on Papua (Google: "Transcript of September 22, 2010 Congressional Hearing on West Papua Crimes against humanity: when will Indonesia's military be held accountable for deliberate and systematic abuses in West Papua? Federal News Service, 22 September 2010). However uneven the presentation by the Papuans invited to attend, the hearing will prove to be an important step in the inevitable shift of the Pentagon and Administration's fiscal and physical support of the Indonesian Security forces.

Fourth, Frans Kapisa from Cenderawasih University (named in a cache of leaked KOPASSUS documents published by veteran US investigative journalist Allan Nairn on 9 November 2010 as a target for "Abduction and Murder"), has been listed on the US based Scholars at Risk program and is studying at George Mason University in Virginia. Markus Yenu, an organiser of the student workshop in Wewak filmed by Erin Morris, and after he was interviewed and returned to West Papua. He was arrested and imprisoned. Although he has now been released from prison, Markus's life is still in danger. He and his family are frequently threatened and terrorized by the Indonesian authorities. Markus Haluk, head of the Association of Indonesian Middle Mountains Students (AMPTI) and an outspoken critic of the security forces and the US mining giant Freeport McMoRan, was also named in the KOPASSUS list of fifteen civic leaders, including the head of the Baptist Synod, evangelical ministers, political activists, traditional leaders, legislators, students and intellectuals (Secret Files Show Kopassus, Indonesia’s Special Forces, targets Papuan churches, civilians. Documents leak from notorious US-backed unit as Obama lands in Indonesia (allairnnairn.com).

Fellow West Papuan fighters for freedom, let me encourage you all with many greetings and wishes of infinite loyality, strength and courage from nearby Australia, so that in this coming year, each of us might return with clear consciences, to continue fighting for West Papuan peoples without ruinous accounts of our commitment.

We know through our pain and suffering of Papuan that Indonesia won't give up easily. We have to work for it, we have to demand it every day, we have to work together as a nation to win it.
Let keep fighting for the dream of freedom, human rights, justice and democracy in our country, continue raising our voices fearlessly towards a victory that is coming and not surrender, because in our hands are the destinies of the future of our country, West Papua.

I hope this letter finds us strong in our spirit and optimistically that our free west Papuan campaign will get a lot of support from peoples around the world and one day West Papua will be free.
Warm Greetings and pray,

Herman Wainggai
Former Political Prisoner
Based in Australia