I’M TRYING SOMETHING NEW. In addition to registering the most commented upon articles for December, I’m including another list of the writing which readers (via Facebook) marked as their favourites.
The two lists vary significantly, but other than to note that difference, I will forego further analysis. Perhaps you’d like to put your mind to a rationale.
Far and away the most commented upon articles involved the vandalisation of the Parliament House carvings, something over 200 comments in total on this one issue. The wilful destruction of part of PNG’s heritage, and the ‘sacrilege’ of the built structure of parliament that represented national unity, took aback many readers. While other, of course, saw Speaker Theo Zurenuoc’s actions as a blow against sorcery and corruption (now exactly how is that supposed to work?).
In terms of the ticks registered for ‘Likers’, though, it was Peter Kranz’s article on Manus detainees that ended up head and shoulders above other contenders.
Anyway, here goes. The articles readers commented on most, and what you said you liked most….
MOST COMMENTED ON
1st 29 comments - Theo Zurenuoc: Saviour or destroyer of cultural heritage? (Bernard Yegiora). Bernard valiantly, but without ultimate success, attempted to weave a reconciliatory pathway between readers who looked on with anguish and even anger at the destruction of parliament’s heritage carvings and those readers who saw the carvings as ‘evil’ and the Speaker’s action as a genuine attempt to root out corruption.
2nd 27 - Christian lawyer calls for boycott of Post-Courier newspaper (John Kuwimb). John decided that a feisty attack on the Post-Courier newspaper might seal the argument in favour of the carving vandals. His critique was dressed up with lawyerly argument but most commenters thought this was a bit like trying to pretty up a pig with a touch of lipstick.
=3rd 26 – Julie Bishop defends decision to withdraw drugs funding (Australia Network News). Australia's foreign minister strongly defended her government's decision to withdraw money for a medical supply program in PNG. Sure there was something very crooked about a tendering process but Australia’s abdication of the issue didn’t help the poor folks in the bush get decent medications.
=3rd 26 - What kind of ‘reformation’ does the Speaker have in mind? (Fr Giorgio Licini). Fr Giorgio’s attempt a calm and rational approach opposing the vandalisation of parliament’s objet d’art. "What the Speaker intends for 'Christianity' is not clear," Fr Giorgio mused. "He was raised in the Lutheran tradition, which all of us respect very much... But is it really convenient for the State to meddle in religious matters independently of the churches, and to promote a sort of Christian theocracy at the dawn of the 21st century?" It is a good question which needs much more discussion at the highest level of the PNG polity.
=3rd 26 - Removing tambaran carvings is a stepping stone to change (Francis S Nii). “At least Speaker Theo Zurenuoc had the guts to sanction the [destruction] project,” said Francis, who then presented a few arguments why heritage items representing the unity of the nation should be destroyed. My Simbu friend didn’t convince me, but in his typical way started a fascinating exchange between readers.
6th 24 - Speaker's destruction of heritage carvings is ‘heinous sacrilege’ (Keith Jackson). My report on Dr Andrew Moutu comments that got the whole argument going. The director of the National Museum & Art Gallery had called the decision of Speaker Theo Zurenouc and Parliamentary Clerk Vela Konivara to destroy the heritage items, “heinous sacrilege.”
7th 20 - A crime against the past, present & future of our nation (Michael Dom). Michael offered a riposte to Francis Nii. “No matter what long words, lengthy essays or pulpit preaching there may be, the desecrators and their supporters have committed a crime against this nation; past, present and future. What a sad a misguided Christianity.”
8th 14 - Petition to stop heritage destruction gathers pace globally (Keith Jackson). Speaker Zurenuoc’s actions gained global notoriety. It didn’t worry the Speaker. “We must invoke God to intervene in our nation building project,” Zurenuoc told the Tertiary Student Christian Fellowship Graduates Network. “Parliament through its House Committee has decided we must make a statement to denounce the contradictory confession [of traditional beliefs and cultures].”
9th 12 -Top of the charts: Most commented upon articles in 2013 (Keith Jackson). Oooh, very self-referential. We’ll leave it there.
=10th 11 - We lose David Wall – man of letters, ideas & PNG Attitude luminary (Keith Jackson). The much loved and well read Dave Wall died after a heart attack at Christmas at age 78. We will miss him.
=10th 11 - Ministers demand sacking of Speaker over vandalism (Radio Australia). Eight PNG ministers demanded the sacking of Speaker Zurenuoc. Prime Minister Peter O'Neill ordered any further destruction to be stopped but local media reports said the orders were ignored.
=10th 11 – Think those carvings are trivial? Could you be the problem? (Keith Jackson). I entered the fray after being irritated by too much spurious argument. I don’t think my views on the logical fallacy of “false dichotomy” helped.
97 likes - Manus treatment of detainees ‘humiliating & excessively cruel’ (Peter Kranz)
56 – Speaker's destruction of heritage carvings is ‘heinous sacrilege’ (Keith Jackson)
31 - Flicker of hope is seen in long-running Schram affair (Keith Jackson)
30– The Albert Schram saga – will justice be done or denied? (PNG Blogs)
26 - Removing tambaran carvings is a stepping stone to change (Francis S Nii)
24 - Theo Zurenuoc: Saviour or destroyer of cultural heritage? (Bernard Yegiora
21 - Melanesians: the island people (Marlene Dee Gray Potoura)
20 - Speaker's wilful destruction has damaged PNG's reputation (Phil Fitzpatrick)
16 - Every cloud has a silver lining: understandings of corruption (Grant Walton)
16 - Heritagegate: Parliament for the people, by the people (Post-Courier Editorial)