Permissive Residents West Papuan refugees living in Papua New Guinea
Since 1961, West Papuan people in the ‘Indonesian Province’ of Papua raising the Morning Star flag in public have been shot by Indonesian soldiers.1 Public declarations of allegiance to West Papuan nationhood broadcast beneath the flag have provoked violent retaliation. Raising the flag in public recalls the nascent state. It acts to constitute a West Papuan people and place, momentarily establishing the legitimacy of an alternative regime outside of the Indonesian state.2 While West Papuan people at the East Awin refugee settlement in Papua New Guinea (PNG) no longer fear being shot down for raising the flag, the affect is not dissimilar. Raising the West Papuan flag is
intoxicating. In the moments between the flag’s ascension from the bottom of the pole to the top, the air can
be cut with a knife. Acts of flag raising have constituted ‘signal events’ in the history of West Papua since 1961.
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