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The story of Gus Dur, Bintang Kejora flag, and Wiranto

Tempo - September 2, 2019

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Former minister of research and technology, Muhammad A.S. Hikam, said the fourth Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid alias Gus Dur has his own opinion regarding Bintang Kejora or Morning Star flag in Papua.

Hikam said Gus Dur considered the morning star as a part of the regional culture. "He acknowledges the flag as a cultural symbol, not a sign of independence or separation of Papua from Indonesia. He'd like to use a very simple word that it is a banner," said Hikam to Tempo, Sunday, September 1.

In his book entitled "Gus Durku, Gus Dur Anda, Gus Dur Kita" published in 2003, Hikam told a story about the flag, Gus Dur, and Wiranto.

He reiterated that Gus Dur chided Wiranto, who was at that time Coordinator Minister of Politics and Security, to not be worried over the flag-raising and to consider it a banner as long as there was still Indonesian flag.

However, Wiranto retorted and said the flag hoisting caused harm. Gus Dur again scolded him. "Your thoughts must be changed, what's hard to consider Bintang Kejora as a banner. Even a game of soccer has a lot of flags," he remarked.

Hikam explained that Gus Dur granted the cultural consensus on conditions there would be no demand for independence from Indonesia. While other requests, such as special autonomy, could be discussed.

"What's important is that there should be no independent state of Papua. That's all. While other matters can be put into dialogues," Gus Dur said.

Hikam did not deny many parties, either from those backing Free Papua Organization (OPM) or the government, still considered the raising flag of Bintang Kejora as a separation symbol. So, as long as there are cultural and political views on the flag, Papua and the government will find difficulties to hold a dialogue.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1242774/the-story-of-gus-dur-bintang-kejora-flag-and-wiranto