West Papua solidarity with Papua New Guinea following earthquake
March 1, 2018
Following the terrible earthquake in Papua New Guinea, this statement was written by Benny Wenda, the Chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and was originally published on the ULMWP website.
On behalf of the people of West Papua, The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) sends its deepest sympathy and condolences to our fellow Melanesian people of Papua New Guinea following the devastating effects of the earthquake and landslides which took place this week.
This is a true Melanesian tragedy and we stand in firm solidarity with our Papua New Guinean brothers and sisters and all their efforts to help address this natural disaster. ULMWP also sends its sympathy with the Papua New Guinean government, including His Excellency, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill; as well as the service personnel, who are all doing incredible work in helping to provide as much relief and assistance as possible to all those affected.
We appeal to the people of West Papua in all regions to also provide prayers and humanitarian support for our fellow people in Papua New Guinea. Spiritually and financially they need our support. We share one land and one tumbuna – one ancestor. Only a border separates us from one another but these are our brothers and sisters and we all have a moral obligation to support and help them in this humanitarian crisis. According to reports, over 30 people in Papua New Guinea have already been killed and thousands have been affected. Therefore, from Sorong to Samarai, we appeal to our people to unite in solidarity with brothers and sisters on the other side of this land.
While we did not experience the same extent of destruction, right across West Papua we also felt the effects and pain of this terrible earthquake, which shook our entire island. As fellow Melanesians on one land and wansolwara, we all share the same experiences and have done so through our shared ancestors for tens of thousands of years. Your pain is our pain. Your sadness is our sadness. We send our utmost condolences to all those who suffered on both sides of this border and we send our deepest sympathy to the families of all elders, brothers and sisters who lost their lives. To everyone affected, we wish for your recovery, restoration and rehabilitation and we pray that all this will happen as soon as possible.
Like an earthquake, the pain of brothers and sisters can be felt on both sides of this land. We, the people of West Papua feel your pain and we will continue to pray for Papua New Guinea and stand in solidarity with our people on the other side, now and always.
Our prayers, sympathy and support are always with you.
Chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua