LEONARD FONG ROKA
IN A LECTURE HERE AT Divine Word University, we were talking about community development and people empowerment.
Then the discussion turned to the marginalisation of peoples.
I somehow thought of the marginalisation story in terms of the Papuan people who I see are becoming more and more powerless on their own land as Port Moresby expands and squatter settlements proliferate.
Sadly, my Papuan lecturer had to cut the session short because it was such an emotional experience to contemplate the fate of her own people.
Oh Papua land, I hate you
For fighting me o’er my land in Solomon
But safe, at least, now from reckless peoples like you
I laugh to see you being exploited and belittled in your own land.
Thousands flock from the hills, plains, marshes and the seas
Of strange places your lakatoi never reached
To roost and breed in Papua land
Oh Papua land, but you love so much
The skyscrapers and the song of the slums
That pushes you towards the brink day-by-day.
They are raping you,
Eda Ranu charges you for the tap water;
PNG Pawa signs you to easy pay;
Hospitals rob you; as does the slums that rob you of your land,
Yet you drink much coffee from the hills
And ignore the genocide upon your identity and pride
Your women sell their thighs
For all the jobs had gone before you knew it
Do they know that you are the father of the land?
Oh Papua land
You fear the slums and skyscrapers
And travel the world of reductionism
To eradicate your heritage of thousands of years
Of your Papua land existence.
Oh Papua land,
Who will sing Motu songs?
Who will dance Motu dances?
Who will pray the Koitabu prayers?
Who will build the lakatoi?
Who will mould the pottery of your legends?
Who will record the myths of your past?
Oh Papua land,
I am sad to watch your beauty