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Benny Giay calls for reflection during Christmas in Papua amidst armed conflict

Tabloid Jubi - December 22, 2023

Sentani, Jubi – Rev. Benny Giay urges all Christians in Papua to take a moment to deeply reflect on the true meaning of this year's Christmas by considering the plight of internally displaced people in Papua, the conditions of those who have died due to illness or violence.

"Displaced people are everywhere, in Nduga, Intan Jaya, Puncak, Bintang Mountains, and Maybrat. That is what is in front of us right now," Giay told Jubi at the Walter Post Sentani Theological College on Monday, December 18, 2023.

Giay believes that this year's Christmas atmosphere in Papua is not fundamentally different from previous years. However, Christian people today are preoccupied with political concerns as the election is near. They are concerned with political parties, legislative candidates, and presidential candidates.

As a moderator of the Papuan Church Council, Giay reminds the community that Papuans are being used as tools by the state, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

"Either the people are aware of it or not, we are used as pawns in their games," he stated.

Giay emphasizes that economically, socially, and politically, Papuans are vulnerable to manipulation. Therefore, during this Christmas season, he suggests the people not just being engrossed in national agendas. It is more crucial to take time together to understand and reflect, to sit down and discuss what has happened to the people in Papua throughout 2023 and how we can do differently next year.

"Let us reflect to get an overall picture of what has happened this year. From January to December 2023, how many church members have died? How many people have been killed, and how many have become refugees?" said the former Chairman of the Synod of the Church of the King's Tabernacle (KINGMI) in Papua.

Giay reminisced about the past Christmas atmosphere in villages. When facing problems, the community would sit together, talk, and discuss. They would discuss what had happened and what needed to be done.

He urges not to let this year's Christmas be monotonous.Christmas, according to him, should not just be about worship but there needs to be real action.

"December is synonymous with the month of peace, so let us celebrate Christmas by visiting prisons, nursing homes, or people with HIV/AIDS and those affected, so that the peace of Christmas can be felt," he emphasized. (*)

Source: https://en.jubi.id/benny-giay-calls-for-reflection-during-christmas-in-papua-amidst-armed-conflict