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Kamis, 29 Agustus 2013

West Papua solidarity – and Spanish mackerel – on the Freedom Flotilla

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The Freedom Flotilla is sailing from Australia to West Papua to protest abuses under Indonesian rule. Izzy Brown is aboard

Life aboard the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua has its fair share of trials and tribulations.

For such a diverse group of people to come together for a common cause is an amazing thing. With our different skills and knowledge, we bond every day on the water and in the wild winds; beneath our sails and around our camp fires and fish cook-ups, philosophies are shared within our common goal.

The waves we ride are reaching people and governments far away as we make our journey through treacherous coral reefs to tropical islands. Jacob Rumbiak, the West Papuan academic and political leader, uses his Papuan magic to wish for giant fish, and Spanish mackerel are caught in a matter of seconds.

Izzy Brown.
Izzy Brown: 'The waves we ride are reaching people and governments far away.' Photograph: Margret Gilchrist
Ironically, we are following the path once taken by Captain Cook. I look at the deserted shores and wonder about the people that once inhabited this land with spear and fire.

We have had many an interlude with tiger sharks and ever-present crocodiles but, all in all, morale is good.
As we travel the vast expansive beauty of the Great Barrier Reef from the confines of our boats, many of us with minimal sailing experience, and with minimal contact with the world, we are hearing of solidarity actions and the Free West Papua movement growing in all sorts of unlikely places.

Human rights violations need to be addressed – we have the wind on our side blowing us towards a future that sees freedom reach West Papua.

News in by. Interview by Marni Cordell - The Guardian

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