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We need a New Jerusalem

Jerusalem - West PapuaYAMIN KOGOYA
| Kurumbi Wone | Edited extracts

CANBERRA – When I came to Australia 20 years ago, I was gifted a book, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, written by an American academic, Ruth A Tucker.

I had been told that my fellow West Papuans and I were the people ones to receive the good news of Jesus. This book narrated how that happened.

It told the story of how ordinary men and women took the message of Jesus across the world, starting from Jerusalem then across the Mediterranean, Europe, America, Africa, Asia, the Pacific and finally to the end of Jerusalem – Irian Jaya (now West Papua).

We were given a lens through which to view the world and ourselves, and that lens is ‘Jerusalem’, along with Jesus, God and the Bible, a name held dearly in the heart of every Christian and Muslim in West Papua.

Papuan Christians use their religion in the fight against the majority Indonesian Muslims. It is uncertain what will happen in a hundred years from now as Indonesian Muslims turn Christian Papuans to Islam.

Growing up in a Papuan highlands village, I thought that Jerusalem was a city in heaven, not on Earth. Many of my people still hold this view to this day.

In West Papua, many churches, congregations and places have been named after Jerusalem. It remains the most sacred place in the heart of Papuan Christians and Muslims.

Papuan religious leaders believe that the first mission Jesus entrusted to his disciples when he said “go to the end of the world” was completed in Papua.

With this conviction, Papuan Christians view their conversion as part of the grand narrative of God as proclaimed by Christian missionaries. It motivates Papuan Christians to spend every penny they have to visit Jerusalem.

Recently a large group of Christian pastors visited Jerusalem. The leaders of the Evangelical Church of Indonesia often go there. Every time they do, they feel important, special, and part of God’s greater plan.

They even have a trip banner – ‘Special Mission to Israel’. really don’t know what the special mission is and how it benefits Papuans at the hands of the tyrant Indonesian government.

I asked an Australian missionary who joined the group how much money was needed to take so many people to Jerusalem. He told me that a single trip can cost about $500,000 (K1.3 million).

That’s a lot of money spent from one of the most neglected, tortured and illiterate regions of the world.

In West Papua, we don’t see such large sums of money spent to build schools or clinics for our malnourished children. But we do see it for ‘special missions’ to Jerusalem.

I wonder how Jesus would respond to this.

Unfortunately, West Papua was not only the last place on Earth to receive the good news from Jerusalem. It is also one of the last untouched natural ecosystems on the planet.

This little heaven has long been under attack by the same people who brought the good news of Jesus and Muhammad; it is the last Jerusalem where the first story of Jerusalem ends and has been tortured and exploited. But the world is not interested in talking about it.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Islamic country, and the West, preacher of Judeo-Christian values, have betrayed Papuans. Indonesia and the West have carried out heinous atrocities against Papuans under the pretext of civilisation and development.

All this has nothing to do with valuing and respecting Papuans as equal human beings. The aim is to destroy the original Papuans and turn us into their own manufactured image.

The perpetrators of these crimes brainwash already fragile and tortured humans to keep praying while they have been gunned down and robbed.

Ironically, Indonesian president Jokowi pretends to be an advocate of human rights in Palestine while spontaneously giving orders to his soldiers (nicknamed ‘Satan troops’) to drop bombs in the highland of West Papua.

The bombing of West Papua is taking place but the Indonesian government has shut down the internet and foreign media are not allowed to film these atrocities.

Meanwhile Israeli and Hamas bombings continue to make headlines.

Turkey’s president Erdogan and Indonesian president Jokowi strongly condemned Israel for attacking Palestinians, but they are not condemning the bombing in West Papua.

In the eyes of these presidents and the world, West Papua might not be as significant as Jerusalem and the Palestinian people; but West Papua and its people are just as sacred.

If we are sincere about securing the future of Earth for our children and other beings, we need to treat it as a New Jerusalem – our holy planet.

The future generation needs to be educated to view our planet as a sacred and mystical New Jerusalem where all the Earth’s children are sacred regardless of the manmade tags attached to them.

Such cosmology has guided Earth’s Indigenous peoples for millennia. If you ask elders from Aboriginal tribes in Australia, they will tell you that Earth and celestial bodies in heaven are New Jerusalem.

Every creation is sacred – all have a unique story to share with humanity.

Stockpiling bombs and weapons and building iron domes will not save us in the long run.

We need a complete reprogramming of the way we view reality.

The New Jerusalem will only be possible when we become new humans because the problem is in us, not Jerusalem.

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