Cycling from Berlin, Germany, to West Papua, Indonesia - Part 1/3!
The destination of this journey was Papua, which is part of Indonesia.
Reaching Papua was once very important to me. I wanted to bring awareness to an ongoing geo-political and environmental conflict.
Papua is one of the last remote areas of this planet. Big parts of the island have, so far, been little touched by western civilization. However, vast deposits of precious resources, such as gold, oil, gas and wood, are found there.
The rest of the world’s natural resources have already been ruthlessly exploited and the demand for them is growing higher everyday. This means that it is percisely remote areas like Papua that the mining, timber and agricultural industries are now increasingly expanding to.
The problem is, that the native people of Papua never wanted to become part of Indonesia.
Indonesia used to be a colony of the Netherlands that included Papua. When the colony fell apart in 1949 and Indonesia gained Independence, the Netherlands and the UN demanded a right of self-determination for the people of Papua. In other words the people of Papua were supposed to choose whether they want to be part of Indonesia or whether they want to be their own independent Nation. Before this vote ever happened, an American Mining Company called Freeport, got the permission to open a gold and copper mine on Papua. Henry Kissinger, who later became the foreign minister of the United States of America, was part of the board of directors at Freeport. The CIA supported the Indonesian invasion in the 1960’s. Until today Papua remains one of the most militarized zones of South East Asia. Since the 1960’s the native population has been fighting a guerrilla war, partially with bow and arrow, against the Indonesian military that is protecting the interests of foreign investors. It’s one of the oldest armed conflicts of the 21st Century and nobody hears about it. The Freeport Mine is until today the most lucrative Gold and Copper Mine of the world. This mine actually is the reason why Papua belongs to Indonesia.
By cycling to Papua we wanted to bring awareness to the spread of environmental destruction and human rights abuses against the tribes of Papua.
- Cycling to Papua
- Inspiring you to take action and showing that doing so can be incredibly fun!
- Making you think: "If these hobos make it from Berlin to Papua by bike, I'll make it from home to work at least..."