| Edited extracts
CANBERRA - The creation of an illegal Indonesian state in the sovereign nation of West Papua has brought death and unprecedented catastrophic destruction to Papuan ancestral homelands.
The Indonesian government, with the complicity of Western governments and institutions such as the United Nations (who supported the absorption of West Papua into Indonesia in the 1960s) are guilty of crimes against humanity.
These crimes are not isolated events – they are a continuation of the long war that has been waged beginning with the dawn of the industrial revolution in Europe.
When European travellers sought the discovery of new land, they ignored the already established societies, uprooting entire cultures to build cathedrals, universities, courthouses and estates.
Land is important to people. It is integral to cultural and social networks. When it is stolen, so is culture. First Nations people watch on helplessly as their land is sold, traded, destroyed and built on. It is a grim reminder of how their freedom was stolen.
The religious wars, famine and natural disasters that engulfed Europe during the early period of our modern world convinced enlightened intellectuals that man is alone, and God has abandoned humanity.
Hence, man must choose his own path, navigating his world through scientific method and rational mind.
As the coronavirus pandemic generates fear among the world’s population and forces humanity’s day-to-day rituals to cease indefinitely, this is a time for getting back to what is truly important: family, relationships, a shared purpose, union of ideas, respect.
For the first time in a long time, the industrial world is quiet with inactivity, as we are left with nothing but time and space to think.
This is the time for humanity to reflect on our poor treatment of our only home, and how we have treated those who live here.
We need to ask sincere questions about fundamental ideas that shaped the mind of modern man, and how we blindly accepted this indoctrination without pause.
Just as the philosophers of the past challenged the paradigm that guided mankind for thousands of years, we too must challenge the current paradigm we find ourselves trapped in – the industrialist, capitalist world order.
The pandemic is revealing the cracks in society, about how unprepared the system is when it comes to uniting people against a common enemy, and how the broken system favours the rich and the powerful institutions that keep people indoctrinated.
We are on the brink of the first major paradigmatic shift that will influence civilisation since the Renaissance.
We need to critically re-examine the framework that legitimates our thinking, as our current system is failing at every turn – health care, housing, unemployment, education, privatisation and commoditising the natural world.
“It seems inevitable, then, that we must move from a discussion of history to a discussion of nature if we are to address seriously the question of the end of history” - Francis Fukuyama.
“We cannot solve our problems using the same thinking that we used when we created them” - Albert Einstein.
For First Nations people around the world, instead of joining the industrial countries and helping them destroy the world in the name of progress or development, it is the best time to get back to cultural roots, knowledge, and connection with nature – who we are, where we come from, what we have endured.
And most importantly, acknowledge the systematic powers that induced our cultures into a coma for the past five hundred years.
We urgently need to shift the legacy of the colonial paradigm from “I think, therefore I am,” to “The Earth lives, therefore we are.”
Else, we continue to ignore the cry of our fellow humans and animals across the world, from West Papua to Rohingya, From Yemen to Palestine, from Afghanistan to Syria, and many other nations who are victimised by the global enterprise of exploitation, slavery, and death.