WHILE THE PUBLIC IMMOLATION of a young woman as an act of revenge is an unusually spectacular modus operandi, it is no less disgusting and reprehensible than the revenge murders which are carried out at least weekly in Papua New Guinea.
One case near Goroka 10 years ago occurred when an unfortunate person judged to be the sanguma agency in the death of a woman had his hands and feet chopped off, then his heart cut out whilst he writhed on the ground.
The heart was cut into small pieces and eaten by every clan-member including children so that they would all possess a part of the sanguma’s evil power and thus be protected against its future malevolence in their midst.
I know of several similar cases, in one instance the elderly lady killed was the mother of an old friend of mine.
The outrage described above occurred in a village next door to a very large protestant mission station. So far as I know, no investigation or legal action was carried out.
This is just one killing the details of which I am privy to.
For PNG to show itself to the rest of the world as a self-confident and fair and humane modern society is a far bigger job than most Australian commentators, or PNG intellectuals, or its political leaders seem able to contemplate or articulate with any profundity.
Neither has there been any ability shown thus far to articulate and execute simple and logically-attainable solutions within realistic timeframes.
One has to ask the question - is PNG up to the task, or is it doomed to become little more than an undercover colony for money-hungry entrepreneurs?
Footnote: Police in Mt Hagen say they have arrested 50 people in connection to the burning murder of 20-year old mother of one, Kepari Leniata, suspected by villagers of responsibility for the sanguma death of a young boy