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'Pedalling for Papua' comes to New Zealand

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

‘Pedalling for Papua’ is a 12,000-kilometre international cycling and performance tour, which aims to raise awareness of the ongoing human rights and environmental abuse in the under-reported region of West Papua. Activist/cyclist Jeremy Bally arrives in Auckland for the New Zealand leg of his journey on Friday 4th October and he will perform at the Trades Hall 147 Great North Rd at 4 pm on Saturday 5th October. On Tuesday October 8th, Jeremy cycles south and will test his fitness against New Zealand’s rugged terrain, including cycling through the Lewis Pass. He has performances scheduled in Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch.

In 2011, Jeremy, who is Canadian, flew to Indonesia to see first-hand the situation on the ground in West Papua. From interviews conducted over a 5-week period he prepared a multimedia presentation, and cycled it 7,500 kilometres across Canada. This year Bally will be riding a bicycle loaded with everything through six countries over six months, touring a multimedia performance that brings the voices of Papuans to the international stage through recorded conversations with exiles, refugees and activists. Bally narrates this film live on stage using original spoken word poetry and ukulele-based hip-hop.

It has been over 50 years since the occupation of West Papua by Indonesia began and throughout this time human rights and environmental abuses have been rendered invisible by a media blackout.

In recent weeks, West Papuans have been arrested for their involvement in a prayer meeting welcoming an Australian solidarity initiative called the ‘Freedom Flotilla’. They are now facing trial on charges of ‘treason’. Many more were arrested and tear-gassed on 16th September when security forces cracked down on rallies organised to mark the International Day of Democracy.

However, as Bally points out, "West Papua is being slowly and relentlessly exposed to the world. A long oppressed indigenous population committed to non-violent reform and a growing base of international allies committed to a partnership for peace fuel this movement". Aiming to lay a foundation for action, ‘Pedalling for Papua’ is part of this global effort to broadcast the story of West Papua.

Global Peace and Justice Auckland and West Papua Action Auckland are pleased to host Bally’s Auckland performance.

Details of event: 4 pm Saturday, 5 October 2013, Trades Hall, 147 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn, Auckland. All welcome.

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