Article Analysis Essay on Blinded and Active Marooning

Paper Type:  Article review
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1149 Words
Date:  2023-03-13


The article "Blinded" by Bandung is an insightful article that explores the fight of people of West Papua New Guinea against Indonesia and Dutch imperialism, with each of them wanting a piece of West Papua. In it, West Papua results to forging alliances with the broader black community of the world, and some unlikely nations, such as the Dutch themselves in an attempt to win this fight. We get to understand the resistance fronted by West Papua in the face of oppression meted by Indonesia, who surprisingly get a backing from other seemingly like-minded nations.

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In the 1960s, nationals from West Papua New Guinea began identifying themselves as black. Though this was partially driven by their skin color, it was also the similarity with their struggles that mirrored those of other blacks in Africa, America and Asia. The people in this nation are part of the Melanesia, some 12 million people that also include Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and New Caledonia(Barker, 2012). Their struggle is also best captured in the title, Blinded by Bandung, which is also ironical.

The reference to Bandung was a meeting that was held there in 1955 that brought black and brown people from African and Asian countries in a show of unity against white power. Indonesia used this meeting to justify their claims on West Papua. To put the situation into context, Indonesia got its independence from the Dutch in 1949. Inclusive in this deal was the latter to also handover former pacific colonies to the former - West Timor and South Moluccas. Indonesia went further to also include West Papua, which the Dutch resisted (Eslava, Fakhri, &Nesiah, 2017). Therefore, in laying claim to West Papua, Indonesia was basing it as a redemption of the land from the whites.

The article goes on to explain the repulsion efforts exhibited by West Papua against Indonesia. The Melanesians saw no similarity to the Indonesians with respect to the ethnical and racial distinctions between the two. The conflicts were therefore between the Dutch and Indonesia, and subsequently between those two nations and West Papua. In consequent actions, West Papua would forge alliances with the Dutch, in order to receive arms and fight off Indonesia ("Human Rights Abuses in Papua and West Papua," n.d.)

Similarly, we are informed of Indonesia's intensifying actions against West Papua. Indonesia annexed West Papua in 1962, and with a nod from the U.N and U.S, began colonization. It was understood that there would be a referendum in 1969 to decide West Papua's independence from Indonesia (Gravelle, 2010). The period between these two years was characterized by guerrilla warfare and suppression war between the two nations, often with heavy casualties on West Papua side ("Human Rights Abuses in Papua and West Papua," n.d.).

With time, the U.N began being sympathetic to the West Papuans cause. Some of the representatives from U.N sent to monitor progress leading to the referendum became aware of the atrocities committed against the indigenous by the Indonesians (Welman, 2017). The representatives were also hopeful that with enough rallying, African nations would support West Papua, in pressuring western powers to intervene, as well as providing material aid. Among the most beneficial African countries that came to their aid was Senegal.

In 1971, the Revolutionary Provisional Government of West Papua (RPG) declared independence from Indonesia, on the basis that the latter were committing mass crimes against them - mass murders, exiles and imprisoning leaders of the revolution (Gravelle, 2010). In the same year, the U.N was convinced to hear West Papua's claims against Indonesia, which turned out to be fruitful.

In spite of all these efforts at emancipation, West Papua is still under the rule of Indonesia. The meeting in Bandung, which was supposed to be a beacon of hope and salvation against oppression, ends up being the very source of these vices.

Active Marooning

We are introduced to the Cristobal Valencia Ramirez's article 'Active Marooning' through a case-in-point in which blatant racism is meted unto Venezuelans of African descent. A presidential campaigner runs media ads with racist intonations, supposedly under the guise of uplifting the lower-class population. It goes on to show the struggles and consequent rebellion of these afro Venezuelans through courts and self-sustaining programs.

Active marooning is the struggle for recognition and self-liberation championed by the afro Venezuelans. It involves self-identification of Afro-Venezuelans and recognition at state level. This is driven by the fact that Afro-Venezuelans view themselves as being marginalized, a fact that is denied by the Bolivarian Revolution (Valencia, 2015). This revolution is meant to a government's plan geared towards uplifting the poor, non-white, women and children in Venezuela through sustainable programs. The Afro-Venezuela acknowledge that this revolution has shortcomings that don't address their problems.

Furthermore, we are informed how the struggle for recognition is motivated by the government's efforts at racial equality, a move that ignores race as a primary concern in the country. This is what the Afro-Venezuelans are opposed to, and are trying to change. Venezuela is a mixed race country - Afro descendants, Spanish and Portuguese descendants, and the indigenous people. All the races expect the Afro descendants enjoy systematic support that uplifts them socially. (Martinez, Fox, & Farrell, 2010). The indigenous identity is already viewed as benefitting from state programs, as well as representation in parliament.

One gets to see how the struggle for recognition has unfortunately come at a risk of being labelled racist for them. Pro-revolution activists argue that the fight is not about race, however, the Afro-Venezuelans counter this by stating that they are already marginalized compared to the other races, and want this fact acknowledged. The Afro-Venezuelan movement has gone further to set up sustainable programs within its sub-groups, in order to has enforce this war - Organization of Black Women, Information and Documentation of Afro-Venezuelan Culture etc. (Ramirez, 2009)


In closing, Active Marooning goes on to not only portray the struggles of afro-Venezuelans, it shows how they are able to employ institutional assets such as courts and race-based organizations in order to liberate themselves in the context of the Bolivarian Revolution.


Barker, M. J. (2012). The Anthropology of Morality in Melanesia and Beyond. Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing.

Eslava, L., Fakhri, M., &Nesiah, V. (2017). Bandung, Global History, and International Law: Critical Pasts and Pending Futures. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Gravelle, G. (2010). Meyah: A Language of West Papua, Indonesia. Pacific Linguistics College of Asia and Pacific the Australian National University.

Human Rights Abuses in Papua and West Papua. (n.d.). Human Rights Documents online. doi:10.1163/2210-7975_hrd-9845-2014001

Martinez, C., Fox, M., & Farrell, J. (2010). Venezuela Speaks!: Voices from the Grassroots. PM Press.

Ramirez, C. V. (2009). Active Marooning: Confronting Mi Negra and the Bolivarian Revolution. Radical History Review, 2009(103), 117-130. doi:10.1215/01636545-2008-034

Valencia, C. (2015). We Are the State!: Barrio Activism in Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution. University of Arizona Press.

Welman, F. (2017). West Papua Free!! Volume II. Booksmango.

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