For more than 50 years, the Morning Star Flag has been the symbol of West Papua�s unity and its quest for Freedom and Justice. Thousands have been inspired by it, as it became the main icon embodying the struggle for Independence. And this flag, just like any other flag of any other country, has a history, a proud history.
5 April 1961: Inauguration of the New Guinea Council
On 5 April 1961, a representative body for the then Dutch colony of Netherlands New Guinea was inaugurated: the New Guinea Council or Nieuw Guinea Raad . It was the task of the Council to make the wishes of the Papuan people known on the issue of self-determination, within a year.
However, news came that the United States of America and Indonesia were putting pressure on the Dutch to convince them to transfer its colony to United Nations, and then to Indonesian, administration.
The members of the New Guinea Council immediately gathered for an emergency session and appointed a National Committee to draft a Manifesto expressing the wishes of the Papuans which would include national symbols for the upcoming State.
19 November 1961: Flag and other national symbols officially adopted by way of Manifesto
Committee members Bonay, Jouwe, Tanggahma and Torey were asked to submit designs for the flag and arms. Mr. Torey withdrew and a choice had to be made between the designs of Messrs. Bonay, Jouwe and Tanggahma. The designs of Mr. Jouwe were accepted by 14 votes to 17 as national symbols. After the national symbols were officially adopted, everyone was visibly moved and proud. According to official testimonies,
"Then, all those present rose from their seat and while the emotion was clearly overtaking all those present the manifesto was read by the Chair of the National Committee, Mr. Willem Inury; it was subsequently unanimously accepted and signed by the National Committee. The attendees were then invited to also sign the manifesto.
The national flag consists of a red vertical band along the hoist side, with a white [five-pointed] star in the center. Adjacent to the red band, is a series of [consecutive] blue and white lines, with a total of seven blue and six white lines.�
�in accordance with the ardent desire and the yearning of our people for our own independence, through the National Committee and our parliament, the New Guinea Council, insist with the Government of Netherlands New Guinea and the Netherlands Government that as of 1 November 1961,
a) our flag be hoisted beside the Netherlands flag;
b) our national anthem ("Hai Tanahku Papua") be sung and played in addition to the Netherlands national anthem;
c) our country bear the name of Papua Barat (West Papua), and
d) our people be called: the Papuan people.�
1 December 1961: Official inauguration of the flag as a territorial flag
The Dutch accepted most of the terms of the Manifesto except for the date of installation and the denomination of the flag: the inauguration of the flag happened on 1 December and not on 1 November as requested by the Papuans. The General Assembly of the UN was to hold a meeting in late November on the issue, and recognition by the Dutch of the symbols could have been interpreted as an endorsement of an independent West Papua by the Dutch Government. The Dutch did not want to provoke the Indonesians, even if it meant that the demand of the Papuans would not be heard. In terms of the denomination, the Dutch authorities recognized the new flag as a territorial flag (langsvlag) and not as national flag.
And so on 1 December it happened, for the first time, our Morning Star flag was raised, next to the Dutch flag; our national anthem (''Hai Tanahku Papua") was played and sung together with the Dutch national anthem; our country was given the name of Papua Barat (West Papua), and our people were given a name: the Papuan people.
1 July 1971: the territorial flag becomes a national flag
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