The Road to Home
An unbelievable life walk of life is presented to us here, through the admirable Benny Wenda and his battle. A tribal leader in Western Papua, an artist, musician and above all, a political revolutionary for the people that he represents in their quest for independence and freedom, however he is considered a dangerous political dissident by the Indonesian authorities.
Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, a representative of Demmak (Assembly of Papuan Tribes), Benny Wenda has however been a refugee and exiled in the United Kingdom since 2003, in Oxford. His people are indeed victims of a form of unknown genocide that is very little talked about: repression that has been conducted by the Indonesian military on their territory for decades. Considered a dangerous political dissident by the Indonesian authorities that took control of the land where his people are living traditionally, they even asked Interpol to register Benny Wenda on their International list of wanted people. Benny Wenda proclaims on all international arenas that these are wrongful accusations, without any proof… He has in addition been subject to 7 trials, leading him to be imprisoned in Indonesia, from where he managed to escape to join a clandestine group that enabled him to reach Papua New Guinea, before being extradited to the United Kingdom where his wife and daughter succeeded in finding him.
Thanks to the concerned and involved assistance of Jennifer Robinson, a western witness who saw his last trial in Indonesia before being charged, his voice is now carried and conveyed to the most eminent international scenes. From London to New York, including Oslo and Senegal, he continues to repeat the same message. Not only to recall the nature of his struggle, the injustice his people are subject to, but also to call for international mobilisation. His relentless struggle therefore led him to the TedX conference arena in Sydney in 2013, and he has since begun a world tour to involve and raise awareness amongst international governments in safeguarding his people, culture and traditions. Benny Wenda is conducting a committed and moving fight, in his struggle for freedom and above all against oppression.
A very moving screening… I didn’t know that Indonesia was responsible for this Papuan genocide! I am very moved by it, and it’s important that we talk about it here in Polynesia. You see the difference that exists between the struggle of Polynesian independent activists and the way in which Papuan independent activists are treated, through violence and torture… It’s a very different struggle.
Lucile Bambridge / FIFO