Animating freedom

Animating freedom

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In 1991, Jason MacLeod travelled to occupied West Papua. That visit changed his life. Eight years later, in 1999, Jason made a thirty-year commitment to journey in solidarity with West Papuans as they search for nonviolent ways out of occupation. Since then he has been regularly traveling inside the country. He has walked alongside Papuan leaders as they travelled from West Papua to Washington; Port Moresby to Port Vila. It is a journey has taken him deep into the mountains and forests of West Papua; from the halls of power to the inside of police interrogation rooms. In this Backhouse Lecture, Jason shares what he has learnt about accompanying West Papuans - and to a lesser extent Aboriginal people, Bougainvilleans and East Timorese - in their struggle for self-determination. Through personal stories, he tries to make sense of this experience in ways that might speak more broadly to Quakers and general readers. This lecture is a deeply personal reflection on what one person thinks it takes to animate freedom and accompany Indigenous peoples on a journey from empire to the 'good life.'