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25 July 2012

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Humanity is in a general course to betterment. It could be likened to travelling on a river a long way from the Sea of Contentment.

As various later peoples join the flow some get run down by the people with a more powerfull vessel.

PNG has some who can compete with the best, their eyes are firmly fixed on joining the fastest. They can do it but have room only for the favoured few.

The Villagers and settlers canoes are left far behind with hardly a tow line extended by the leaders. There is scarcely a competent farmer in all of PNG after nearly 37yrs of Dependence on external aid.

Competent farmer defined by the ability to farm the same area for a generation at least. We cannot feed ourselves. Without imported rice, flour and meat famine would stalk the land. (That is a bit florid to make a point.)

Today the Farmers still exploit the land and move on.

Martyn, I can't generalise for the whole of PNG, but I know I taught some very clever students from a village where it had been the tradition that if a young man of that village wanted to build his own house he had to go and kill one of the enemies, from a neighbouring village, and place the head under the house post on the front right hand corner.

So you can't say "we were not a violent people."

I've just been reading "James Chalmers, his autobiography and letters" and his death at Dopima village on Goaribari island in April 1901. It was violent in those times.

I've also been reading the "Dorevaidi Renaissance" by Russell Abel and Dermot McKay. The story begins in 1934 with the governor, Sir Hubert Murray, asking Abel, from Kwato mission, for help to stamp out the head-hunting of the Dorevaidi.

It is very moving to hear how God used the Kwato people to bring about a Renaissance in the life of the Dorevaidi.
I quote -

"Men learnt to live in union with the Good Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, and in union with their fellows, a new age evolved in a few years."

It was great to see an Abel re-elected to the present parliament.

I'm sure the Good Spirit is still there ready and waiting to help PNG to a better future.

I strongly disagree with Bruno. A person's skill as a writer can be great whether you agree with their views or not.

You cannot judge an artist just because you disagree with some of their ideas. And Martyn remains a talented writer and an asset to PNG.

Martyn - your comments about religion and it's impacts on development and human rights have some validity but go too far in throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Some of the greatest liberation movements in recent times have been inspired by religion and this should not be underestimated - to give but one example, the anti-slavery movement, which inspired that great hymn Amazing Grace.

But it would be a sad thing indeed if debate was stifled by personal comments. So brothers and sisters, play the ideas, not the man.

A general response....

Many of you have totally missed the point of this essay. If one looks at it as a whole, you will note that it sets the historical context for what has transpired, i.e., subversion.

The European historical context of colonization was that Church and State were united. It wasn't until after the French Revolution and the American Revolution that the separation took place.

As such, it is relevant to note how the Church subverted Europeans and how lessons may have been applied by the European Elite and the Church in subverting indigenous nations elsewhere.

To suggest that I should be thanking these missionaries for bringing peace is to overlook the fact that there were already peaceful relations amongst nations of Melanesia.

How did the Lapita trade take place throughout Melanesia if we were violent people? How could the Hiri trade be possible. How could the Kula trade be possible?

A true Papua New Guinean would appreciate that PNG was independent for 50,000 years and today it takes out the begging bowl to AusAID, World Bank, ADB, foreign corporations, etc.

Corruption, public service ineptitude, environmental destruction, illegal immigration, etc, are symptoms of a deeper problem that is systemic and systematic: the colonial model of development.

The schools that taught you and me teach history will a particular 'spin' that 'justifies' colonization by portraying all the cliches about white supremacy and black inferiority.

We've been taught to believe that European Imperialism (Including Christian imperialism) was done in our best interest whereas the purpose of imperialism is contrary.

Many have as a result been subverted. Even though they were told to "think outside the box" they've been 'trained' not to question religion and the 'goodness' of westernization.

This article highlights the context by which PNG has lost control of its own development path as a result of the colonial disruption. By understanding the past, we can move forward as a nation without falling into the trap of the western model of development.

I would like to see PNG move forward, but it cannot move forward using the developmental model that got it into the mess it is today.

You don't solve a problem by using the same ideas that got you into trouble at the first place.

Martyn is vomiting his hatred against the Catholic church and whiteman's treatment towards himself.

Although writing is art, one must do in-depth study before presenting a piece of work that is full of errors. I rather suggest that Martyn writes about PNG issues and not dwelling on unknown path, as he does not have in depth understanding on history itself and is prone to making up bullshit.

This is a challenge to Martyn, the Catholic church leads in providing basic development in PNG since the land was was discovered until now.

Martyn, for you as an individual writer to undermine the contribution of Catholic church through education and education is slap in the face.

I no longer admire you as a writer but an ill-conceived person writing without purpose and truth. I know you are SDA rewriting your old arguments.

Martyn - As always history shows many paths and individuals sometimes choose the path. At other times others force the path.

Treat others as you would have them treat you. The further offshore and less accountable they are, the less you trust them.

The works of Tsung Tshu on the art of war are widely read but not always widely understood.

What seems common sense in one part of the world is considered sheer madness elsewhere.

But as always greedy people will steal and lie because they are too lazy to earn it themselves. The coward always hunts in packs like the hyena.

Across the world even though many may seem at first different there is more in common than most realise if you open your eyes all is not bad.

Well said Angra Sil.

For anyone interested I recommend doing a bit of study on the impact of liberation theology on human rights movements, especially in South America, where priests and bishops suffered martyrdom - even in one case for daring to teach literacy skills to the poor

Liberation theology is a political movement in Christian theology which interprets the teachings of Jesus Christ in terms of a liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions.

It has been described by proponents as "an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor's suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_theology

In the words of St Castrol, 'Christianity ain't Christianity'.

Christianity has doctrines and dogmas to meet its own needs and make its own gains. No doubt about it. Just like the great powers down the history lane which include Uncle Sam and the Pommies.

However, Christianity also encouraged critical thinking and reasoning, debate and discussion. If you look at revolutions in the Latin Americas and parts of the African continent, they were often influenced by the Catholic Church.

Che and Castro went to Catholic schools and read Marxism, Sun Tzu and the writings of other great thinkers just like you.

Then they had the conviction to change the status quo through plans and actions. Che met his fate, Fidel stood the test of Uncle Sam (600 assassination attempts) and the dissidents.

The Catholic Church, though it has its downside, has transformed the many primitive communities in PNG to civilisation. I reserve respect for it in this regard.

Anyhow, your namesake, Che, Fidel and others have seen the injustice and taken action. What is your action plan after raising our adrenalin?

I for one, love this article ... every line of it.

It is not trying to condemn anybody nor anything but trying to get to the root of PNG chaos in its own unique way.

Colonisation came into the Pacific with God, Gold and Glory when our societies were socialist and introduced to us their unrealistic trap democracy and capitalism.

The end result has been exploitation and suppression...

Asians and Europeans taking over the Pacific as we kneel to worship them.

Anyway, tingting tasol...

I always find something to lighten the mood on PNG Attitude - maybe it's the opinions and dreams of youngsters vs the life-experience and knowledge of senior citizens - tied together by a passion for PNG.

In regards to Martyn's article, this is really the crux of the issue:

"I'm highlighting the fact that different cultures, societies, geographical locations and historical contexts need their own unique sets of ideas to progress."

Couldn't agree more with this point. The rest of the article detracts from this key issue and the end result is objective reactions/comments with a million tangents.

... The Catholic priests had, after centuries of wanking in monasteries ...

Martyn, before he got chucked out for bikhet, Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk.

From Wikipedia:

... Luther dedicated himself to monastic life, devoting himself to fasting, long hours in prayer, pilgrimage, and frequent confession. He would later remark, "If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would indeed have been among them."

Luther described this period of his life as one of deep spiritual despair. He said, "I lost touch with Christ the Savior and Comforter, and made of him the jailor and hangman of my poor soul." ...

Your broad brush approach doesn't do him justice. :-)

A priest once ventured to me the opinion that, if he was around today, Luther's ideas would not have resulted in his excommunication. At the time I thought that was a bit radical, but these days I agree with him.

Thanks David Wall. Seems Martyn's "spin" in Australia, has produced a lot more "spin".

I think, if there is a Nuncio to PNG, if that Bishop of the Catholic Church could organise a trip to Rome and have a detailed tour of the Vatican, would that change the views of Martyn?

I have serious doubts if any of the religious denominations in PNG would be amused with this analysis by Martyn. I have serious doubts if even Martin Luther would be impressed. Most Lutheran missionries when I was in the then TPNG were of German descent.

Steady down Martyn, you might be going just a "Bridge Too Far". That ended in disaster.

Martyn Namorong’s rather historical broad-brush of religion and westernisation and questions of development leave me speechless if not convinced.

I somehow can’t see how supposed “centuries of wanking in monasteries” by priests enabled them to go out and “subvert” and rob people – I suspect that the contrary would be the case, that is, if I’ve interpreted the writer’s meaning correctly.

St Peter’s Basilica may have been in its concept and building paved in good intentions, but from an aesthetic and architectural point of view the resulting building is anything but hell.

I wonder if westernisation and religion are as closely allied as Namorong thinks.

He is quite right to question the present favoured models of development in PNG and the exploitation of the country’s resources by foreigners.

But opinionated attacks on Christianity, and particularly the Catholic Church, detract from what he should be doing: making the elites in PNG question the present development models and stop selling out their country to foreigners.

Martyn, I like the comment made by John.

I am teaching Colonial History at the moment and this article defines the direction I want my students to take.

We have looked at the events in Europe like the Renaissance, Reformation, Industrial Revolution and others. These events played a major part in the evolution of Europe.

Then we have also, just yesterday, talked about the precolonial society based on John Waiko's book 'A short history of PNG' and realize that we had our own social, economic, and political systems.

Our ancestors were interdependent on both the physical environment, people, spiritual and non physical beings for their survival.

Socially, our ancestors had a communal society where land and every thing was shared based on our kinship system.

Economically, our ancestors had a very complex trading system. In Waiko's words he said it was like a spider web. They traded their surplus for what was scarce. For the Hiri trade the Gulf people traded Sago for Motuan clay pots.

Politically, we had the Big men up in the highlands and the Chiefs down on the coast.

These systems were working perfectly for our ancestors up until the age of exploration and discovery.

As David Livingstone said "Sympathy is no substitute for action."

But who was he to lecture us?

Martyn - Could you meet me for a lunch chat on Christianity.

This Friday at Holiday Inn.

My email address is corney.alone@gmail.com. Shoot me a text message on my Citifon 341 3210 to confirm.

Are you going to live with this state of affairs until old age or poverty-assisted illness takes you, Martyn? Or are you going to put forward a plan for a better way for PNG?

Although you are not religious, look at the huge changes wrought by your namesake - Martin L.

He was, like you a passionate individual, and he had a plan, and he took it to the people.

You have created a large and interested audience with your opinion-pieces. Now for your plan, and your hopes, your ways and means to cause change in PNG within your lifetime.

"Progress is a child of science and technology." http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/11/the_origins_of.php

It is a long read and the ideas are debatable but interesting read and informative as well.

A very entertaining read.

I can't wait to hear about 'a way' forward, i.e. what is an alternative or non-western model of development?

I love reading your articles Martyn, you really do go for the throat when being provocative to draw out a debate.

I would appreciate your thoughts in regards to the theory of globalization, the knowledge economy and ICT and how this is being handled by PNG and her people.

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