By : Yosef Rumaseb)*
)* The writter is a villager, lives in Biak.
July 6th, 1998. Heroic day. Tragic day. The day that the Bloody Biak case occurred. When the location of the incident was raided by the Indonesian National Army officers in red-shirted battles, and bullets flew up on the asphalt, I was around there.
A few days before the raid, there were already indication of a bloody event. The efforts of several religious, custom and government leaders to ask for the West Papua flag to be lowered were unsuccessful. The day before the incident, the main roads to Water Tower the Waupnor community health center where the flag was hoisted had been barricaded with barbed wire. Indonesian National Armed Forces in combat uniforms, with red headbands and combat rifles, use a trail bike back and forth around Biak. The atmosphere was very tense.
My family’s house, the Mandosir clan, is only 50 meters from the scene. This family consists of many boys and girls. On the night before the day of the incident, I asked everyone to evacuate to our house, about 300 meters away. I rather pushy even though the father refused. The mothers of boys and girls are displaced.
And right. That morning, July 6, 1998, exploded. Gunfire. Bullets whizzed to the point of sprinkling fire on the highway. Cries of people asking for help. Soldiers ran after people in the halls of the house while shooting. It’s really like a war atmosphere same like watching a movie on TV. Not a real war because what happened was that unarmed civilians were invaded by gunfire. But it sounds like a shootout.
A few days before that day, I went back and forth to the crime scene to monitor and give news to John Rumbiak at the ELSHAM Papua Office (Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy). Every four hours John calls and asks for an update.
When I informed to him the latest dynamics, John spoke from Jayapura, “You should stay at home tonight. You will continue to monitor on tomorrow noon!” So that since July 5th night, I stayed at home.
That morning, July 6th, 1998 around 07.00 am, the Burokup – Waupnor area in Biak was already in a war atmosphere. From a far, I saw a mother who was fierce and was not afraid in the slightest way to walk through the armed forces guarding the blockade near Maranatha Church. Not afraid at all. She was mugged to come back out of the blockade, but she held the muzzle with one hand and then removed it with her hand. She kept advancing while weeping between the soldiers who stood and those who lay with their hands ready to fire.
Goosh!!!.. You have to see the courage of that mom so you know how a mother’s attitude when her child is threatened at the end of death. There is no fear. Even her attitude thrilled the cocked armed soldiers who tried drive him.
The Fat mom. Limping while crying without tears. Sometimes she waved to the sky like calling the Lord.
She waved her hand and continued speaking. Not talking but wailing. Not wailing but roaring. Mixed Biak and Indonesian languages.
“My children.. Oh God help my son. Manseren ooo romawa ayesi. God. . . Where are my children!”
I know that mother. I call her grandma. So when I saw her walking unable to bear her weight and worries about the fate of her children, I ran to her, ask a permission to the soldiers to support my grandma.
The road is a little uphill, I tool her, and we walk together. It’s 100 meters from the blockade, turn right, another road about 100 meters (in front of elementary school) Grandma stopped. Already entered the red area which was combed by the soldiers.
“Grandchild stop here. Only up to here. Don’t pass. If you go there, we can be shot. You are too young, don’t die now!”
We were split up. I turned toward the house where I lived. All to ensure that the children and mothers in our home are safe.
The grandma who was not afraid to die continued on. Through bullet whistles. I still see her waving like calling out to the Lord and mentioning the names of her three child. She sought her child in the atmosphere of the war. They are two boys and one girl.
She is Grandma Karma, mother from Filep Karma, a leader who has been consistent since then in and out of prison and has remained consistent until now. He is Mother from the Leader.
Note: In such critical events it is clear that the consistent attitude of humans who have principles and integrity.
When recalling this history, sometimes I am mad like someone was possessed when I see the hero of The Special Autonomy (Otsus) doing an image of their heroism from a webinar to another webinar with deaf ears to the voice of historical actor. I”m sorry, but I’m sick of it. (*)