BY KEITH JACKSON
IT WAS GREAT to see five new names among the contributors whose PNG Attitude articles in July triggered the greatest response from readers.
PNG Attitude is nothing if it is not the collective endeavour of the people who write for it – and you don’t have to agree with everything they say to appreciate that they take the time and trouble to say it.
By and large, I find our contributors and readers a tolerant lot. Little makes me more respectful of authors than to read the response to comments criticising, sometime strongly criticising, their words and who bounce back with a wry remark and with no offence taken.
Now let’s cut to the chase. Which articles spurred readers’ interest so much in July, that they had to respond with a comment. Here are the top 10….
19 responses - If we drive out God, who shall save PNG (Ganjiki D Wayne). Say what you like about subjects that should never be broached in polite company, but religion is always good for a robust debate. And so it proved when Ganjiki decided to subject us to some provocative thoughts on the godliness/godlessness of present day PNG.
16 - Secret group will back election candidates (Keith Jackson). Nothing like a bit of furtive behind the scenes politicking to get the keyboards clicking. In this case, a group of PNG expatriates living in Australia have decided they wish to see political change in PNG when the next general election comes round in 2012.
11 - Ask not what your country can do for you (Phil Fitzpatrick). He’s “a shining light that stands out from the crowd” and his name is Ralph John Regenvanu – a Vanuatu politician who’s making waves because of his selflessness and willingness to go the extra mile in the benefit of the people.
11 - Big man politics: when the chief is away… (Bill Standish). Everything Bill writes on PNG is worth reading and this article was well in that class: a crystal clear appraisal of the complex political currents swirling around PNG as the ailing Grand Chief is no longer at the helm of the ship of State.
10 - The scandal of Operation Sunset Merona (David Fedele). David’s sensational footage of a cowardly joint police- military operation against West Papuan refugees on the PNG side of the border provided a rare glimpse of the underside of one of the world’s longest running guerrilla wars.
10 – The lost Melanesians (Martyn Namorong). “You have a name for folks like me / Coconuts! / Black on the outside and white inside / Yeah sure I know my people / And maybe I speak their language / But I am not one of them”. Not often poetry gets this level of feedback. You don’t understand modern PNG until you understand this poem.
10 - Michael Somare resigns as prime minister (Keith Jackson). But did he? Or did Arthur resign him? And is that constitutional? A story that seemed to end everything but in fact began a whole new chapter in the political saga of Michael Somare.
10 - Somare: a tribute to a legend and his legacy (Sharlene Kylie Gawi). Sharlene’s homage to the Grand Chief had the Somarephiles and Somarephobes arguing the toss – but the one thing you can’t deny is that the old man made his mark.
9 - Buai trade is not economically rational (David Kitchnoge). “Buai [betel nut] vendors are the most enterprising and productive people,” David argues, “who are unfortunately directing their entrepreneurial spirit and productivity towards an economically misguided activity.”
8 - Australia's second great Papuan colonisation (Phil Fitzpatrick). The remnants of lapita style pottery at an archaeological dig at Caution Bay on the Papuan coast indicates that people were there four millennia ago – and that they may have reached present day Australia.
8 - Need for more investigative journalism (Nelson P Thom). Nelson is sceptical that PNG journalism has reached its investigative best and he wants to see greater probing, analysis and revelation from the Melanesian third estate.