On the 1st December 1961 the New Guinea Raad Council – West Papuan parliament under Dutch colonial rule – raised the Morning Star flag for the first time, signalling the recognition by the Dutch of West Papua’s national symbols and statehood. By the 19th of December, Indonesian security forces had begun their invasion of the region and have controlled the territory with brutality ever since. On 1 December every year flag-raisings and protests against Indonesian rule take place in West Papua and around the world.

This December 1st Papuans and friends in Melbourne will celebrate the 53rd anniversary at Melbourne’s Federation Square with a creative offering of documentaries, music videos and animations telling stories about and from West Papua with ’19 Days of Freedom’, as a community media and screen project beginning on 1st December 2014.

The Victoria West Papua Association, secretary, Ronny Kareni embraces the continued level of community engagement with Federation Square. In mid 2014 the West Papuan community were a key part of the Light in Winter festival.

“Showcasing these films (at Fed Square) helps to highlight our stories and enriches us with hope and strength in the pursuit of our self-determination struggle, Mr Kareni said.

As most Papuans in Melbourne came as refugees and are far from home, community and culture are vitally important to maintain.

“We value the opportunity to contribute to the diverse community in Melbourne that has welcomed us here and to keep our stories and culture alive by sharing in this most public of community spaces.

“We aim to amplify our voice, for freedom, human rights and for our cultural stories and connection to Melbourne, our current home,” he added.

The West Papuan Community in Melbourne is hopeful that this community initiative will be a two-year project with screenings of more film content next year in December.

Event:

1st December, Monday: 53rd Anniversary Celebration and screening of ISOLATED film, 11:30am til – 1pm, FED SQUARE – BIG SCREEN!

19th December, Friday: Special screening of award winning feature documentary, STRANGE BIRDS IN PARADISE – A West Papuan Story. At 7pm, The ATRIUM, FED SQUARE. Special musical appearance by Black Orchid Stringband – on the night!

1st -19th: 30 minutes package compilation of music videos, animations and shorts, FED SQUARE – BIG SCREEN!

For interviews and media enquiries:

Ronny Kareni – 0401 222 177 ronnykareni@gmail.com


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