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Fly the West Papua Flag at SHEFA: Kaloran

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ULMWP Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Morris Kaloran (left) and ULMWP President Mr. Benny Wenda pose for camera, By Len Garae
ULMWP Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Morris Kaloran (left) and ULMWP President Mr. Benny Wenda pose for camera, By Len Garae

ULMWP Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Morris Kaloran (left) and ULMWP President Mr. Benny Wenda pose for camera, By Len Garae

United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) Interim Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Morris Kaloran, who has just been reappointed to his post by the Interim President, Mr. Benny Wenda, has called for the West Papua Flag to be flown on a regular basis alongside the SHEFA Provincial Government flag.

His call comes immediately following a confirmation by the ULMWP Interim President, Mr. Benny Wenda personally, of his reappointment in a telephone call from London, after Mr. Wenda’s re-election by over 5,000 people in a ULMWP three-day Congress in Jayapura in West Papua proper, from November 20-23.

The plea for the importance of the Morning Star flag to fly again comes immediately following its unexplained absence from the flag pole outside the SHEFA Provincial Headquarters above Fatumaru Bay after the controversy of the involvement of a group of Indonesians in the Melanesian Arts Festival in Port Vila from July 31st to August 11.

The group had left in a hurry after it became clear that Indonesia was not invited by the Organising Committee and that ethnically Indonesia belonged to ASEAN and not Melanesia.

When asked if the flag might have been torn in the recent cyclones, Port Vila resident ULMWP Interim Head of Foreign Mission, Mr. Freddy Waromi replied that he had just presented a new West Papua flag to the President of SHEFA Province.

Mr. Kaloran’s appeal to the President of SHEFA to return the flag to its place, comes on the heels of concerns by Maraki Vanua Riki Council of Chiefs for the Shefa Provincial Council to steer clear of any temptation in any way offered by Indonesia, to stop the flag from flying in its rightful place.

In order for the general public to understand how Mr. Kaloran was appointed by ULMWP to his honourary post, it is important to know that his involvement in West Papua’s Independence Struggle dates back to the year 2000 during his academic studies at Victoria University in Australia.

That was where he came to meet and befriend renowned political strategists namely Mr. Sam Kauna of Bougainville Revolutionary Army and Mr. Jacob Rumbiak of West Papua, who escaped an assassination in West Papua and was accepted by Canberra to live in Australia.

“Meeting those two boosted my level of interest dramatically in the kind of focus they had at the time. At 27 years old when I met them, there was no way anyone could change me because they molded me to become what I am today at 54 years old”, Mr. Kaloran recalled.

Mr. Kaloran the only Ni Vanuatu student at the university was elected President of the Pacific Islands Students’ Association.

Following his successful election, he called for peaceful protests to spread the word for West Papua’s struggle for freedom. “I mobilised all Pacific Islands students on campus to unite to stand with West Papua for its freedom,” he said.

“But I told them that in order to become successful in our focus, we needed to organise a pig killing ceremony before we proceeded. I explained that without spilling the blood of the pig on the soil, there would not be any cultural impact on the struggle.”

Mr. Kaloran mandated Mr. Rumbiak to find a live pig for the ceremony. A location was found and the pig was sacrificed at sunrise in the morning at an isolated location.

While respecting Australia’s laws against cruelty to animals, Mr. Kaloran’s group successfully slaughtered the animal at sunrise on the banks of a river, did a custom dance and identified the Aboriginal custom landowners of the pig killing site, where the animal’s blood was spilt. The body invited them to the ceremony where the dead animal was handed over to them.

“The landowners in turn handed back the pig to the committee which baked the animal with the right traditional ingredients for everyone present to enjoy the cultural feast,” he said.

The students went one step further by mobilising the congregation of Anglican St. Kilda Church to host the West Papua flag outside the building and accepted the rare request to keep the animal’s skull at its holiest place – the altar.

“The church was packed and as the President of the Students’ Association, I had to address the church. I delivered the address in my Tongoa language and assured the congregation that God would inspire my words through to them,” he said.

Kaloran remembered that there was total silence during his speech.

“The truth was that when the custom ceremony was carried out then the spirit of activism was in the air and nobody could stop it or us so the struggle in Australia was activated,” he explained.

“This leadership has obviously grown to perhaps encourage President Benny Wenda, to grant me the post in their Interim Government”.

The students broke into a custom dance in church when he finished speaking. It is very rare to perform a custom dance in church.

“Everybody had their story to tell but that was my story which I believe, led me on this road to arrive where I am today,” he said.

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