TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - President Joko Widodo or Jokowi has called on the people of Papua to restrain themselves following intense news of discrimination and racism against Papuan college students in Surabaya.
“My brothers and sisters, pace, mace, mama-mama, in West Papua, I know [all of you feel offended]. This is why I urge all of us as fellow countrymen to forgive each other,” said the President at the Merdeka Palace in Central Jakarta on Monday, August 19.
The president maintained that he was genuinely aware of the offense felt by the people of Papua following a discriminative encounter that was aimed at the students in Surabaya. However, the former Jakarta governor said forgiveness and patience were the better responses to the present situation.
“Believe me when I say that the government continues to preserve the honor and prosperity of pace, mace, mama-mama [Papuan words used to address adult Papuans] who are currently in Papua and West Papua,” said President Jokowi.
The riot that broke out in Manokwari, Papua, was a direct retaliation to the incident in Surabaya on Saturday, August 17, where Papuan university students were accused of disgracing the national flag on Independence Day. The incident was followed by alleged acts of discrimination and violence from a number of people against the students.