Eben Kirksey first went to West Papua, the Indonesian-controlled half of New Guinea, as an exchange student in 1998. His later study of West Papua's resistance to the Indonesian occupiers and the forces of globalization morphed as he discovered that collaboration, rather than resistance, was the primary strategy of this dynamic social movement. Accompanying indigenous activists to Washington, London, and the offices of the oil giant BP, Kirksey saw the revolutionaries' knack for getting inside institutions of power and building coalitions with unlikely allies, including many Indonesians. He discovered that the West Papuans' pragmatic activism was based on visions of dramatic transformations on coming horizons, of a future in which they would give away their natural resources in grand humanitarian gestures, rather than watch their homeland be drained of timber, gold, copper, and natural gas. During a lengthy, brutal occupation, West Papuans have harbored a messianic spirit and channeled it in surprising directions. Kirksey studied West Papua's movement for freedom while a broad-based popular uprising gained traction from 1998 until 2008. Blending ethnographic research with indigenous parables, historical accounts, and narratives of his own experiences, he argues that seeking freedom in entangled worlds requires negotiating complex interdependencies.
Eben Kirksey is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Deakin University in Australia.
Preface: Flying Fish, Flying Tourists, September 1994 ix List of Key Characters xv Introduction 1 Part I: Breakout, 1998-2000 Interlude: The King Has Left the Palace, Java, May 1998 23 1. The Messianic Multiple, July 1998 29 2. From the Rhizome to the Banyan, 1998- 2000 55 Part II: Plateau, 2000-2002 Interlude: Freeport Sweet Potato Distribution Inc. 83 3. Entangled Worlds at War, 2000-2001 90 4. Don't Use Your Data as a Pillow, June 13, 2001 125 5. Innocents Murdered, Innocent Murderers, August 31, 2002 138 Part III. Horizons, 2002-2028 Interlude: Bald Grandfather Willy 175 6. First Voice Honey Center, 2002-2008 182 Epilogue: The Tube, 2006-2028 210 Acknowledgments 221 Notes 225 Bibliography 283 Index 301