Last modified: 2006-08-05 by ian macdonald
Keywords: indonesia | irian jaya | west papua separatist | morning star flag | west melanesia |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors
The flag of the main West Papuan separatist movement opposed to Indonesia rule and so may (in some quarters at least) have claim to be the flag of Irian Jaya.
Stuart Notholt, 8 February 1996
I have a photocopy of a page from a publication of the provisional government of West Papua. It shows the flag with dimensions, but these must be wrong! A:B:C:D are 2:3:7:8, where A: flag height; B: flag length; C: width of the red stripe; D: size of the star. That would mean that eg. the star is four times the flag height! Taking a ruler I came to the next dimensions:
- ratio of the flag 2:3
- horizontal stripes all equal (so 1/13h of the flag height)
- red stripe is 3/11th of the flag length
- star approx. 2/3th - 7/8th of the width of the red stripe
Mark Sensen, 20 November 1999
The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) news reported this morning that the 'morning star' flags were flown alongside the Indonesian flag.
Jonathan Dixon, 2 December 1999
What we saw here (Portugal) on TV was the actual hoisting of one "morning star" flag in front of a huge crowd. The flag is like our GIF in FOTW, with a darker shade of red and perhaps with a narrower red field. The hoisting of the flag seems to have been pretty peaceful. No indonesian flags where in sight anywhere.
Jorge Candeias, 3 December 1999
From KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News") by Ottis Simopiaref
JAKARTA, Indonesia (January 19, 2000 - Straits Times/AFP/Kabar Irian)
SEPARATISTS RAISE INDEPENDENCE FLAG AGAIN IN PAPUA An estimated 3,000 people attended a separatist flag-raising rally yesterday in Indonesia's remote Papua province, formerly known as Irian Jaya, a rights group said.Phil Nelson, 20 January 2000
The ceremony was held outside the home of independence activist Alex Duith in the Taminabuan area of Sorong district, the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (Ihrstad) said in a statement.
The "Morning Star" flag was hoisted side by side with the Indonesian standard at 10:00 a.m., the group said.
Ihrstad said the group had permission from the local authorities, but police said they knew nothing of the ceremony and would not have given permission if they had known.
An article from The New York Times (1 December 1961, p. 4) reported:
Hollandia, Friday, Dec 1 (AP) - Netherlands New Guinea changed its name today to West Papua and few a brand new Papuan flag. The change in the colonys [sic] will not be official until the rule books are changed at The Hague."Andrew", 10 July 2006
One third of the new flag is a field of red, which stands for courage. In the center of the red field there is a large white star, which represents the Papuan people. There are seven blue horizontal stripes symbolizing the country's diverse languages and people. Six alternating white stripes stand for the island's six divisions, which some day may be provinces.
President Abdurrahman Wahid declared during a New Year visit to the province that the separatist flag could be raised, but later said it must only be raised alongside, and lower than, the Indonesian national red and white flag. Wahid has said Jakarta will not tolerate any independence move by Irian Jaya, but has said it would instead accord the province special broad autonomy before the end of the year.
Last month, the president told military leaders in the East Java town of Malang that Papuans could hoist separatist flags until after the national assembly in August.
Phil Nelson, 8 September 2000
On 23 October 2001, the Indonesian Parliament approved the bill about autonomy
for the Province of Papua (former Irian Jaya), including also right to use its
own "independence flag" (BBC's formulation). Evidently, the blue-white striped
flag with the red hoist field including the white star is meant.
Jan Zrzavy, 23 October 2001
Papua (was Irian Jaya) was recently offered a wider autonomous status - last week if I'm not wrong. But the council of "native" people/tribes rejected that offer, since its basic demand - that is 100% independency - wasn't issued. Two items mentioned in that offer are Irian Jaya will be called Papua and the widely used flag of Papua (blue and white lines, red triangle, and white star) is recognized and can be use as cultural symbol rather than a political movement symbol.
Yustinus Sembada, 24 October 2001
The flag will not be the one with a red triangle but with a red transverse stripe, I guess.
Jan Zrzavy, 24 October 2001
A publication by the Pacific Concerns Research Centre describes the
flag as the white morning star symbolises the light and the hope for a new day
and a new era. The star is embedded in a red field symbolising the blood shed by
the Papuan people in their struggle for self-determination and the stripes are
blue and white and stand for the ocean and the land.
Zane Whitehorn, 19 February 2001
The coat of arms of the province West Irian: Bottom a brown field (2/3) with
3 grey/white columns on a white wall; the (heraldic) right branch is golden;
the left branch is green/white (cotton). The rope holding both together is red.
In the top of the shield (1/3) is below a blue sky, on which is written 'IRIAN
JAYA', a mountain with three white mountaintops. The border of the shield is
Jaume Ollé, 8 October 1999, translated by Jarig Bakker, 9 October 1999
The COA of former Dutch West New Guinea adopted on Oct 19th 1961 has a motto
of " SETIA,DJUDJUR,MERRA".
What is the meaning ? Is this Dutch or Latin ?
Nozomi Kariyasu, 24 August 2002
The motto is not Dutch I can assure you. I presume Indonesian/Malay. In an
online Indonesian dictionary I found: Setia = Loyal/faithfull. I couldn't find
djurdjur and merra.
Mark Sensen, 25 August 2002
Wasn't the adopting of a COA (and flag) in 1961 part of an attempt to forestall
annexation by Indonesia? Why would they have adopted an Indonesian motto?
Ned Smith, 25 August 2002
I believe the motto is "Setia, djudjur, Mesra" with Mesra translating
as "friendly". I don't know the meaning of djudjar but I presume there
could be a variation of the spelling (like Djakatra is now Jakarta).
As for why the West Papuans would include an Indonesian motto on their coat of arms when they were trying to remain independent from Indonesia, I would guess that because Bahasa Malay/Indonesian was/is the lingua franca for the region, there was a greater chance that a West Papuan looking at the Coat of Arms would understand it than if it were in English/Dutch/local dialect.
Zane Whitehorn, 26 August 2002
I have read a while ago in one of the heraldical handbooks when I was learning
my first things about heraldry about mottos something of the sort - they are
often in foreign language for many different reasons - weather to look "scolarly"
or to express (teritorial) aspiration or something else.
Therefore, they may be nothing surprising finding someone is using language of someone else in his motto. However, there is to be expected a good story behind it :-)
Željko Heimer, 26 August 2002
From www.converge.org.nz/wpapua/opm.html is the flag of The Free West Papua Movement, OPM (Organisesi
Papua Merdeka). The flag is in fact the coat of arms with text.
Jarig Bakker and Santiago Dotor, 28 December 1999
image by Ivan Funky, 24 March 2004
This flag was provided to us anonymously with the sole comment: "Hi, I'm Papuan. I hope you can show this flag to your website."
My guess is that the flag is either:
Zane Whitehorn, 21 April 2004
The book, "West Papua: The Obliteration of a People", by C. Budiarjo & L.S.
Liong (1988 edition), refers to the Japanese occupation of what was then Netherlands
New Guinea and the Papuan resistance movement known as Angganita which arose
opposing the Japanese and all other non-Papuans from West Papua and independence
for the island. The movement's flag was an inverted Dutch tricolour, symbolising
the reverse roles of the Papuans and their then colonial overlords.
Zane Whitehorn, 15 November 2000
Just stumbled on the following, which might interest you:
"A messianic movement rocked some of the Geelvink Bay islands in the 1938-1943 period. In the face of the brutal Japanese suppression in 1942, it began to exhibit nationalistic overtones. Its flag was the reversed Dutch flag, with the morning star of Biak legends in the blue banner and a cross in the white one."
(Geelvink Bay is in Western [Indonesian] New Guinea)
The reference for the above is:
Veur, Paul van der (1963): Political Awakening in West New Guinea. Pacific Affairs 36 (1), pp 54-73.
Mikael Parkvall, 24 April 2004