Freedom for West Papua. May you find peace in Paradise
A Tribute to my fallen hero, brother, and friend
Niko Pode Mote
By Herman Wainggai
With a hand upon my heart, I feel The pride and respect;
My reverence is revealed
In the tears that now stream down my upturned face
As our flag waves above you, in her glory and grace.
Freedom was the gift that you unselfishly gave
Pain and deathwas the price that you ultimately paid.
Every day, I give my utmost admiration
To those who had fought to defend our nation.
~ Author Unknown ~
The sun will continue to shine over West Papua and the struggle will continue, but we will miss you tremendously! We walked together in this painful journey for years, now I can’t believe you not there anymore. You’ve been taken away too soon!
You were a true believer in our fight for freedom. Prior to my escape from West Papua, we worked together extremely hard to make sure our voices were heard. We worked together on many things, with the knowledge that if caught, we would be tortured and imprisoned for many years, or perhaps executed. You never gave up because of the danger we faced! Those precious time we spent together before I escaped to Australia will forever be cherished.
I remember all the things we did together as activists and your contributions to the cause. I Remember your smiles, jokes, and strength when we were hiding up in the mountains. Our walk along the beaches, and swim in the cold waters of Jayapura and how we always laughed in the midst of so much pain and turmoil. You and I knew, as activists, our danger was all around us yet we pressed on! It was a risk we took with so much courage!
In 2001, after I left prison, you accompanied on a flight to Timika flying over our beautiful home – West Papua. You and I marveled at the beauty of our land; the wonderful coasts of Jayapura, the Snowcapped mountains. We talked about the future and the possibility of our own country. We looked down to our beautiful land and dreamed of that day when we will be free to run our own political affairs. We also flew over the huge hole created by the “Freeport Mining Operation” in the mountains of our beloved land. We saw the destruction of our lands by foreigners who took them by force. That sight made our struggle worth everything. It made us ever more determined to fight on!
I just can’t believe you’re gone, my brother! Thinking about your death brings back painful memories; the pain you and I endured over the years. Some of the most painful experience I attempted to put behind my head are now occupying my mind. I tried to think about the good times we had together with other activists, but I’m so overwhelmed by the fact that you are not there anymore. In my heart, you are on a different a different journey; a metaphorical plane – a peaceful journey, in that “black coffin.” It’s time you rest from all the evils of his world. Aro sayang, sore tru…yu go pinis! (I’m sad indeed you gone)
The fight continues. Our journey continues. Our struggle our freedom rages on regardless of how determined Indonesia is to silence us. We will continue on with the same determination you had when you were with us. We’ll never quit!
Before I sign out, I want to leave you with the following words: thank you for everything you had done for the freedom of our people; the courage you’d shown in supporting our journey. You were there to greet us at the designated area where our canoe landed on the shores of Timika on our journey out of West Papua. I remember we ran out of petrol and you showed us where to get petrol and other supplies. I will never forget that my brother. It never occurred to me that it would be the last time I would see you.
When I heard you were killed, I wasn’t surprised because I know there was a tremendous risk in this struggle. Fate would find us one way or another. In this struggle, death was always at our doorstep. Your passing is hitting me hard because of who you are in our struggle and your courage and willingness to put your life on the line to make sure we escape West Papua. You are sorely missed!
Freedom is coming! It will be here soon, and how I wish you be there to witness it.
We will reap the fruits of our labor! We’ll enjoy the freedom that you gave your life for. All our West Papuan Melanesians will remember you and others who laid their lives down for their freedom!
We miss you so much!
May your soul rests in peace with our Lord.