In the history of Indonesia, there are 5 national heroes from Papua. But only one of them is originally from West Papua. The awarding of this only figure from West Papua to be a National Hero of Indonesia was happen not long ago.
To explain this fact, we have to look at the history of the National Hero of Indonesia awards. This title is the highest-level title in Indonesia. Currently, there are 195 people on the list of the National Hero of Indonesia.
The History of The National Heroes of Indonesia Title
Initially, these awards were not in the name of the “National Hero of Indonesia.” The history started in 1958, with the release of Presidential Decree No. 241. With that, the first title was given in 1959. But at that time, the title name is still “National Independence Hero.”
Then in 1965, a different title was given, but still at the same level as the previous one. It is “Hero of the Revolution.” In 1988, another title at the same level was “Proclamation Heroes.”
Finally, in 2009, an official legal basis was issued to regulate this. It is in the Laws of the Republic Indonesia No. 20, 2009, about Titles, Services, and Honors (UU RI No. 20 Tahun 2009).
One of the points of this law is to regulate the many names of Indonesian heroes to officially become “National Hero of Indonesia” or “Pahlawan Nasional Indonesia.” This rule also applies to the other titles with the same levels, as previously mentioned above.
National Hero of Indonesia from Papua
Looking at the laws above, we can explore the important meaning of naming five people who become National Hero of Indonesia from Papua.
In general, this title is given to an Indonesian citizen who fought against colonialism in the area that is now part of Indonesia. Or in other words, they fall or die defending the country and doing important things for the development and progress of Indonesia.
The three first heroes from Papua are Frans Kaisepo, Silas Papare, and Marthen Indey. They got the title in 1993, written on Presidential Decree No. 077/TK/1993. The struggle of these three figures is very memorable for Indonesian citizens, so their services are immortalized in various forms.
For example, in 2016, Frans Kaisepo’s figure was printed in the 10 rupiah denomination. His name also becomes Biak’s airport name and one of the KRI (Kapal Republik Indonesia).
Meanwhile, Silas Papare has a monument and seaport to commemorate him. His name also became one of the Navy Warship names.
In Jayapura, there is a college to immortalize him, Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik Silas Papare (STISIPOL). In Nabire, people remember him in the form of street names.
Two years after the enactment of the official law governing the National Hero of Indonesia award, there is an award for other people from Papua.
It is for Johannes Abraham Dimara, written on Presidential Decree No. 113/TK/2011. Previously, he also got other awards, such as the Satyalacana War of Independence and Satyalacana Bhakti.
Nearly a decade after the latest award for national heroes from Papua, on November 10th, 2020, another name from Papua finally appears again on the list.
It is an award for Machmud Singgirei Rumagesan. The First National Hero of Indonesia from West Papua, as written in Presidential Decree No.117/TK/2020. Also known as “Raja Sekar,” he is originally from an area now Fakfak, West Papua.
Looking at the history above, the West Papua people must be proud of this latest addition of the national heroes from Papua. Moreover, seeing the complication of the process to ratify a person to become a national hero. This event will make more and more people know about the value of the Papuan to Indonesia.