"The banyan tree is Indonesia’s national symbol. For West Papuans, this tree harbours tutelary spirits, it is a place of Satan. It is a colonising vine which strangles the tree of attachment, dominating the environment. The eagle is another symbol of state. It is predator and hunter, seizing prey ruthlessly. Yes, these two symbols represent the Indonesian style of governmentation.

 

Why are black-skinned West Papuans not protected by the banyan tree? Why are our rights not the same as other Indonesians from Java, Sulawesi, Sumatra? The banyan tree is not a place of sanctuary but the reverse, a sign of murder, violation of basic human rights, and the dignity of the Papuan people. The Indonesian state is the same as the banyan tree in its natural environment: strangling other plants nearby."

(Transcribed from Luther’s tape.)