Indonesia: August 20, 2005


While there is peace in Aceh, the westernmost part of the country, there is still separatist violence in the easternmost province; Papua. Unlike Aceh, Papua is not Moslem or Malay (the ethnic group most Indonesians belong to.) The Papuans are Melanesians (darker and taller than most Malays, and speaking completely different languages.) Papuans are encouraged by the independence of East Timor, a nearby island also inhabited by Christian Melanesians. However, East Timor separatists went through a much bloodier struggle for independence from Indonesia. It was the violence that brought the attention of the UN, and international peacekeepers. In Papua, the government violence is more restrained (thus producing fewer bodies), but more effective. Papua is larger and more rural than East Timor. It's more difficult for foreign journalists to get to the scene of police or army violence against separatists. Out of sight, out of mind. 




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