Life as a Freedom Fighter in the Country that Once Colonized You

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The struggle for West Papuan liberation is fought not only within the country, but also in the diaspora, applying international pressure. Here, Raki Ap describes the efforts of the Free West Papua Campaign in the Netherlands—the former colonizer of West Papua and, in many ways, one of the states most responsible for the ongoing occupation of the country by Indonesia.

My name is Raki Ap, I am 37 years old, and it is with great honor and responsibility that I represent the Free West Papua Campaign as its international spokesperson.

Before reaching this point, I lived a life of mourning and outrage. I am the youngest son of Arnold Ap, West Papuan anthropologist and well-known musician, who celebrated indigenous Papuan culture through his work. He kept our heritage, traditions, and community alive through music at a time when they were being erased by Indonesia, our colonizer.

My family’s lives took a turn when my father was murdered by the Indonesian military, in April 1984, four months before I was born in a refugee camp across the border in Papua New Guinea.