If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one

Entry Walk 4 Maluku 2012 - photography by Ating Pattinasarany

Entry Walk 4 Maluku 2012 – photography by Ating Pattinasarany

In a couple of days, along with hundreds of walkers, I will march 40 kilometers  for a good cause. This march is called Walk 4 Maluku and gives a voice to them, who’s screaming can not be heard. I’m talking about violations of human rights by Indonesian armed forces in the provinces of Maluku and West Papua.

The Walk 4 Maluku will take place in The Netherlands where there is a large community of Moluccan people. The reason why they are in The Netherlands has a historical and political background. The first generation of Moluccans arrived in 1951 and didn’t really had a choice other than to obey orders to stay in Holland after Indonesia’s independency. They were soldiers who just fought a colonial war on Dutch side. My grandfather was one of them. These soldiers and their families all hoped to return soon to the self proclaimed independent Moluccan state, the so called Republic Maluku Selatan (RMS). It didn’t turned out to be like that. Nowadays there are over four generations of Moluccans in The Netherlands and in a way, they’ve managed to find their living. The connection with the motherland Maluku however, never disappeared.

The connection with the motherland Maluku however, never disappeared.

I can relate to that. When in 2007 the Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono came to visit Ambon City, the capitol of the Moluccan province, several activists performed a traditional dance in front of the nations leader during a festival. They then unfurled the forbidden RMS flag to show their dislikes about the way Maluku has been lead. Maluku, also known as the Spice Islands, is one of the poorest provinces in Republic Indonesia. By unfolding that flag the activists were sentenced to jail for at least fifteen years and were horribly tortured* by police officers. The current situation in West Papua* is even worse. We see how militaries use brutal force to opress those who have an other opinion. When that news and footage came to Holland, the Moluccan diaspora came to action. Walk 4 Maluku as a succesful result.

This march** is an annual event to financially support the families of the imprisoned. And to focus attention on the inhumanities caused by Indonesian authorities. There are still young Moluccans and West Papuans being tortured, even get killed. I want to be a voice of them who’s screaming can’t be heared. And with me, hundreds of other walkers who are attending this years Walk 4 Maluku with one clear goal: to restore peace and humanity. We’ll make it worth it. Let’s do this.




*This video footage can be experienced as shocking
**Walk 4 Maluku 2013 will take place this Saturday, 13th of April.

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