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Indonesia: West Melanesian flag

Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
Keywords: west melanesia | melanesia | indonesia |
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[West Melanesian flag] image by Ivan Funky, 24 March 2004

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About the Flag

At a function hosted by the local West Papuan independence association I saw a flag that the West Papuan representative called "a West Melanesian Flag", consisting of of a vertical green rectangle covering the left hand third of the flag and fourteen white seven pointed stars within the rectangle (looking somewhat like a crucifix). There is a horizontal tricolour (consisting of, from top to bottom, black, white and red) covering the remaining two thirds of the flag. I'm not sure exactly what the flag represents as the West Papuan explaining the flag and I were having some language interpretation problems but he said that the flag was designed to "represent Melanesian identity" and seemed to be saying that it was going to replace the current West Papuan separatist flag, although he seemed to be saying that it was a broader flag representing the people of West Papua, the Moluccas, East Timor and PNG. Has anyone else seen this flag or know the actual story behind it?
Zane Whitehorn, 21 June 2002

This flag appears on the photo of the flag raising ceremony of the indigenous nations of the Pacific. The photo can be seen at:
Chrystian Kretowicz, 21 June 2002

I found some biographical notes which clarify a bit what the "West Melanesian Flag" is supposed to stand for. Quote: "Dr.Thomas Wapai Waingai was another person who declared West Melanesia country on Dec.13,1988...he designed a new West Melanesian Flag with 14 stars, commonly called by Papuans as "The 14 Groups". The 14 Groups has the mission
to unite all Melanesian countries, 14 countries into one with the name of Great Melanesia. Some Papuans argue that it is impossible and illogic to declare independence for those 13 countries that are already independent and to say that a colonised country can fight for free countries. The 14 Groups has a network of supporters throughout the Pacific. The OPM (Free Papua Organization) and Papua Presidium Council suspect them as backed by the big powers, including CIA and Indonesian intelligence to divide up the struggle and to pro-long the independence of West Papua until they take all resources from West Papua and they engineer the Papuans to become Indonesians." (end of quote).
Chrystian Kretowicz, 24 June 2002

One of the members of the Melanesian yahoo group suggested to me an explanation for the number (14) of the stars featured on the flag. According to him there are 7 Melanesian countries:
Papua New Guinea
Bougainville - Me'ekamui
Solomon Islands
New Caledonia - Kanaky
Torres Strait Islands
and West Papua comprised of 7 traditional districts, which are symbolized by the seven blue stripes on the Morning Star flag.
All of it accounts to 14. I guess it makes sense, but would like a more authoritative explanation.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 11 July 2002

In response to my question [...] about the meaning of the 14 stars represented on the flag of West Melanesia I did receive a reply [...] stating: "The 14 Stars was the date of independence according to the leader of the West Melanesian Leader Thomas Wanggai (14 December)".
by Chrystian Kretowicz, 14 September 2002