Sincha Dimara honors West Papuan writer & ex-cop, Bernhard Marjen

Bernhard Marjen was born in Sorido, a village on the island of Biak on the West Papua side of the border in 1955.
His father was a radio broadcaster, they moved to Hollandia (Jayapura) in the 60s where he began his education with sister Nelly in the Dutch led administration.

It was at a time when West Papua was moving to self-determination. Tensions were high but the children they did not grasp the enormity of the activities taking place only curious as to why things had to be done a certain way such as not to display the flag in public.

Their father, Elias Marjen, the Radio Broadcaster and his cousin, Benedictus Sarwom, Information officer in the Dutch led government were in the thick of things, relaying important information and awareness on independence through the airwaves.

They both worked hard to keep the people’s hopes alive; freedom from the Dutch government against Indonesia’s push to gain control.
Sadly though it was not to be, closely monitored and their lives at risk they were told to leave with their families and what they had on them not a word of their departure uttered to anyone not even their parents, siblings, cousins etc.
On the 9th of March 1963 both men their wives and two children each boarded a ship bound for Madang in PNG. Out at sea and as the sun was setting , they realised they were on foreign seas heading to a new home, Elias Marjen looked out to sea and explained to his two young children, this is it, there is no going back. Faced with the situation before them, the siblings grew close and stayed close into adulthood.

From Madang they were flown to Port Moresby met by government officials including Maori Kiki later Sir Maori Kiki and driven to their new home at Hohola which was a growing surbub back then.

Being schooled in the Dutch led government, Ben and his sister spoke Dutch and Bahasa Malay however abruptly plucked out of their home, they had to learn to speak English.
Ben completed his education in PNG and Perth, Australia.
He married a beautiful lady, Shirley Baptist from Milne Bay in 1979 and both families hosted a wedding reception at the Islander Hotel now the Holiday Inn. One of Black Brothers most popular performance was at the wedding reception for Ben and Shirley this was before the band went into exile.

He worked with the then Office of Information and as a journalist with the Times of PNG and Editor of Niugini Nius later the National Newspaper. He also worked with some notable PNG Leaders, Sir Julius Chan, Paias Wingti, the late Sir William Skate, former Milne Bay Govenor Titus Philemon among them.
In 1984 he joined the police force, his passion for community policing earned him the title Chief Sergeant. His last post, Alotau where he resided.

He was a born leader to the Marjen family and the extended West Papuan community in PNG.

His parents have since passed on including his uncle, Benedictus Sarwom. Bernhard Daan Alfred Marjen felt the end of was near, after being ill for a while, he passed away in Alotau on Friday June 1st, aged 63. His wish to be cremated was granted.

Rest In Peace Brother.

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