Devina Halim, Jakarta – Wahid Foundation Director Yenny Wahid believes that flying the Morning Star flag is not an act of makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) and that the Papuan people have a special right to use regional symbols as enshrined under law.
Wahid revealed this during a virtual discussion titled "Papuan student protest actions against discrimination end in makar trials", on Thursday June 25.
"I think that everyone [here] agrees that what's called flying the Morning Star flag is not makar", said Wahid.
Wahid explained that under Law Number 35/2008 on Special Autonomy for Papua Province – which was enacted before Papua was split into Papua and West Papua provinces – stipulates that Papuans can have a regional symbol in the form of a flag.
"Article 2 says that Papua has a special right to use a regional symbol. In this case the [Morning Star] flag is a cultural symbol from Papua", said Wahid.
Article 2 Paragraph 2 reads;
"Papua province can have a regional symbol as a grand banner and cultural symbol for the splendor of the identity of the Papuan people in the form of a regional flag and regional anthem [but] which cannot be positioned as a symbol of sovereignty."
She then linked this with what was once said by her father, Indonesia's forth president the late Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur.
"Put simply as Gus Dur said, what's called a soccer club even has a flag, moreover certain sub-ethnic communities in Indonesian society do of course have the right", she said.
In her view, there is no problem with flying the Morning Star flag as long as it is not seen as a political flag. Despite this, the flying of the flag is still seen as an act of makar by the police.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Yenny Wahid Nilai Pengibaran Bendera Bintang Kejora Bukan Aksi Makar".]