An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays and Journalism
MY people have lived on this land for thousands of years. I grew up loving this land; learning from my father and forefathers to respect it, to appreciate it and at all times protect it from harm.
Our principles were based on respect, honour and honest work. There was no demarcation of sexes; elders were revered and loved and taken care of; widows and the weak were always considered; women were to be respected not beaten.
There was no class system and every one had an opportunity to rise and be someone.
Our political systems were superior to those that were introduced by those who entered our land, declaring superiority and ownership and demonstrating it with violence and disrespect.
My people are warriors, all of them. We defended what we believed in: our land and our way of life.
My people are a compassionate people who love their kin and their land and weep with heart wrenching grief at any loss of such.
But we see a new enemy, a different kind, more powerful and aggressive and superior in numbers and weapons. It is Greed.
Today's world is a world driven by this new enemy, which is armed with disrespect. The agenda of its proponents is to gain through the application of various facets of Greed; a Greed that demonstrates no consideration for the values we once held to be true.
It is a Greed that dismisses the rights and interests of people; crushing those who resist and enslaving those who submit.
Greed that pits brother against father, mother against daughter, clan against family. Everything carries the mark of Greed. Everything has a price tag.
There are no true values: love, honour, respect and consideration are ridiculed and demeaned as being weak, unnecessary, impediments to "progress".
Self-interest, lying, stealing, apathy, offence and evil are the new "values". They have all been spewed forth from the bowels of Greed, and pollute anything that is good. They are polished and shine with appeal to those who manipulate this modern world for their own purposes.
Greed threatens everything we have come to know and value. Our forests, and the creatures that live in them, are earmarked for destruction. Our rivers and streams are no longer pristine and clean. Our hills and valleys are dug up and ripped apart.
We are caught in a state of confusion. Whereas we once knew who we were, and where we were and where we were going, now, we are uncertain.
Our homes are threatened and our way of life, considerate of our environment and ourselves, may no longer be relevant.
We are a forest people but our forests disappear and it seems so will we.
Greed is a collective cancer on humanity, eating away at the fabric of society and demeaning us all until there is no more.