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Gus Dur's family meets with Papuans, urges tolerance with referendum calls

CNN Indonesia - September 14, 2019

Jakarta – Around 20 Papuan students from the Javanese cities of Bandung, Malang and Yogyakarta have met with the family of former president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid to discuss the current situation in Papua. The meeting was held at the residence of the late Gus Dur in Ciganjur, Jakarta, on Friday September 13.

The discussion – which began at 7 pm and ended at 9 pm – lasted for around two hours. Present at the meeting was Gus Dur's widow Sinta Nuriyah Wahid and their two children, Alissa Wahid and Anita Wahid.

"We wanted (today) to hold a kind of friendly meeting, a joint discussion on the Papua situation. Reminiscing about Gus Dur's ways of dealing with particular situations", said one of the Papuan students, Agustinus Kamboya, who attended the meeting.

Kamboya said that the efforts made by the government to date have failed to address the root cause of the social problems in Papua. Moreover they have been focused on Papuan communities which are still found in ethnic tribal groups.

"This dialogue is good, only it didn't address [the real problems]", he said.

According to Gus Dur's daughter Yenny Wahid, what is needed is dialogue which listens to the aspirations of the Papuan people themselves. This can also be done to find a solution to the current situation.

She is pushing for sincere dialogue to create a permanent and substantive solution to the problems in Papua.

Yenny also thinks that the public should not be too quick to react to Papuan people who are demanding independence through a referendum.

"Don't be afraid if there are still those voicing a desire for independence, wanting a referendum, just follow the process", Yenny told journalists after the meeting.

Yenny, a figure who also known as an activist, is asking the public and the government to listen more closely to and accept the presence of Papuans people in society. Moreover, she also believes that there is a need for Papuan faces to be represented in the Indonesian national culture.

According to Yenny, one small thing which could be done is presenting more Papuan people on the screen, such as staring in advertisements. This would be influential in making Papuan people become part of Indonesian culture.

"If their faces are not presented as representatives from their communities, how can they be able to think of themselves as part of society", said Yenny.

In addition to this, the other thing that should be done is putting an end to the circle of violence in Papua and restore the situation in Papua to normal. "This is the thing that must be the priority", she asserted. (mjo/eks)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Keluarga GusDur Temui Mahasiswa Papua Bahas Situasi Terkini".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190914001543-20-430419/keluarga-gusdur-temui-mahasiswa-papua-bahas-situasi-terkini