Machmud Singgirei Rumagesan’s Footsteps, a West Papuan Figure Who Becomes a National Hero – The figure from West Papua and the founder of the Tjendrawasih Revolutionary Movement of West Irian (GTRIB), Machmud Singgirei Rumagesan, has been established a national hero on Heroes’ Day 2020. Machmud Singgirei is considered a milestone in the history of the Indonesian nation.

The struggle of the West Papuan figure in expelling the colonialists began with his displeasure with the arbitrary Dutch colonial government on the workers in his homeland. This happened because the Dutch company Maatschapijj Colijn employed workers haphazardly in West Papua.

This then made Machmud Singgirei Rumagesan who was also the king of the Sekar area or now known as Fakfak Regency, got furious with the Dutch. He then proposed conditions toward the Dutch colonial government.

Since that incident, a conflict arose between Rumagesan and the Dutch government. In 1934, about 73 of the king’s followers were arrested. As a result, he was exiled to Saparua and sentenced to 15 years in prison, while his followers were imprisoned for 10 years.

He didn’t give up. The bloody Papuan figure continued to spread the spirit of nationalism to the prisoners in the various prisons where he is being held. It should be noted that Rumagesan was not only thrown into a ‘prodeo hotel’, but also because of his heroism and love for his country in opposing the Dutch.

During his life, he had felt the cold night behind bars in Saparua, Sorong-Doom, Manokwari, Hollandia or what is now called Jayapura and Makassar.

Behind bars, the king continued to aggressively spread the spirit of nationalism. Day by day his suppoters steadily grow. In fact, one of the prison guards was also influenced by his mindset as a native Papuan people.

In 1953, he founded an organization for the liberation of West Irian in Makassar called GTRIB. At the National Council session in 1957, Rumagesan also invoked for West Irian to return to Indonesia.

The organization he led at that time asked the Indonesian government to form a local government in Papua led by indigenous Papuans, as part of Indonesia to oppose the Dutch who were still occupying the Land of Papua after Indonesia’s independence in 1945.

On March 1, 1946, he again opposed the Dutch who joined to the homeland after Indonesia proclaimed independence. At that time, the Papuan figure bring the Dutch flag down that was flown on the motherland as a form of refusal.

In fact, he had planned to restart the movement against the Dutch. At that time, he had also collected dozens of firearms to expel the Dutch. However, unfortunately the plan of the king of the Land of the Black Pearl was discovered by the enemy so he was back in prison.

His desire to return and see the Land of West Papua free from Dutch colonialism was realized when he returned to his hometown on 15 May 1964. Unfortunately, two months later he breathed his last, on 5 July 1964.

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