“We come in Peace”
Despite published concerns today the West Papua Freedom Flotilla will be met with Indonesian military response, the interchanging crew of 50 Indigenous Australian elders, West Papuans and activists from around the country are set to sail tomorrow at 9am from Marlin Marina, Cairns.
Indigenous Elder Uncle Kevin Buzzacott responded to coverage in today’s media regarding the Freedom Flotilla being faced with a ‘show of force’,
“We are a peaceful group undertaking a peaceful journey to Indonesian occupied West Papua. We are not going to back out now, the struggle has gone on for too long for us to turn back now, we’ve come to far, we’ve got to keep going”, he said.
The Freedom Flotilla began at the shores of Lake Eyre on 20th July 2013 with a ceremony where Uncle Kevin collected sacred waters from ancient mound springs, to be presented on arrival to West Papuan elders.
The group has travelled 5,000km to date to bring political attention to the plight of West Papuans. Freedom Flotilla spokesperson Izzy Brown commented,
“We are a undertaking this journey as a peaceful creative action of resistance to the Indonesian occupation of West Papua. We seek safe and unhindered passage to West Papua and will depart Cairns marina as planned tomorrow morning.”
“Our intentions are to bring the sacred mound spring waters and ashes of the Sacred Fire to West Papua and hold a celebration of cultural connections between the two lands of Australia and Papua. We come in peace to build global solidarity and highlight the human rights and land rights abuses by Indonesia against West Papuans.”
“A staggering 500 000 people are estimated to have been killed since the Indonesian invasion in 1962. The time is now ripe to have an open dialogue on the issue of independence for West Papua”, she said.
Arabunna elder Uncle Kevin Buzzacott stated today,
“Australia has an obligation to intervene and stand up for our brothers and sisters in West Papua, as a neighbouring country and in honour of the cultural connections between our people”.
The Freedom Flotilla comprising 5 boats and a dozen canoes and kayaks adorned in banners and West Papuan, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags, will depart Cairns at 9am tomorrow.
The crew will gather at the Cairns Yacht Club Boatshed for a breakfast before the launch at 7:30am Saturday 17th of August. All media are invited to attend this pre-launch event.
For further information and comments, please contact:
Izzy Brown 0410 535 896
Jacob Rumbiak 0410 984 928
Uncle Kevin Buzzacott 0417 838 906