Zenzeng Mari: 38 years a great educator in the service of PNG

Timing of O'Neill's support for West Papua ‘just perfect’


LATE last week prime minister Peter O'Neill demonstrated the leadership Papua New Guinea needs as we look forward to our 40th Independence celebrations on 16 September this year.

In a coming of age statement, Mr O’Neill for the first time spoke out publicly against Indonesian oppression of the ‘Melanesian family’ in West Papua.

The timing was just perfect. His criticism of Indonesian oppression of "our families" in West Papua and his call to engage in mature and honest dialogue could not have come at a better moment.

It represented a momentous point in the 50-year history of the emancipation of Melanesia from colonial rule.

The fears that gripped the West and international organisations like the United Nations about the momentum of Communist expansion had all but withered away by the close of the last century.

This year’s state of the union address by United States president Obama set the agenda and tone for 2015.

Fifteen years into the new century, he said, America must lead the world again - not with "wanton wars" but with intelligent diplomacy and mutual understanding.

"This is because, the world has truly become a small village with key drivers like the broadband internet and the plethora of opportunities and challenges it unleashes into the e-everything world," he said.

When Peter O'Neill made his bold statement on West Papua, he was conscious of and attuned to the ideology-led decisions that gave rise to the oppression of the Melanesian people of West Papua.

There may even be a connection to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement in the United States and elsewhere, which seems to have extended from Missouri to the shores of the mighty Pacific Ocean and her Melanesian inhabitants.

Brace yourself for the ride. This is the decade for liberation and freedom in Melanesia - economically and politically.

Despite Papua New Guinea’s many missteps over our 40-year life as a nation, I am optimistic that, with Peter O’Neill’s statement last week, we are on a true and virtuous pathway.


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Corney Korokan Alone

I read that as an "echo from a minor tactical blunder by the Free West Papua Campaign Team in Port Moresby".

It's not the government's fault. The door has been flung wide open. It's advisable to take any doubts to his office than having him come to the campaign team.

The fact remains regardless. The PM's statement supersedes any doubts.

Michael Dom

Corney, you assume too much. I do not need to follow your proclivities.

My antenna is finely tuned - read page 14 of The National.

Corney Korokan Alone

This is happening Mike. Take courage. It's ordinary human beings like yourself and me, with a conscience that builds the DNA of a movement.

That's an established fact.

Writing and talking about it in a positive manner constitutes actions as well.And bigger actions take cue from such. We're not oblivious of that fact.

As a Melanesian brother, I challenge you to buy 10 West Papuan flags today and begin letting people know.I have done that and am doing that.

Hope you have signed Governor Gary Juffa's petition here ( http://www.thepetitionsite.com/242/719/609/demand-freedom-for-west-papua/)

It has so far registered 2,913 signature as I write.

We need not wait for action(s) from the politicians only.
"Open and widespread discussion/talk" is the commodity that they welcome with open arms.

I am sure you're capable of sensing the flow and re-adjust your antenna.
We all need each others voices (and actions too).

Get into the choir team and sing the chorus, write the team song.George Telek is doing exactly that....and thing is moving forward.

Those organisations you listed are taking notice (somewhat with a degree of ambivalence and pretence, as is always the case).

Michael Dom

Words are too easy, anyone with half a testicle can reiterate the justified concerns of their citizens regarding the security and rights of other people we happen to have shared the same island with for 50,000 years.

If human rigts is on the agenda then actions is needed to:

1. Allow West Papua full Membership in the MSG
2. Upgradile West Papuan refugee status
3. Open dialogue with the UNHCR about what we know.

Understand that I do not easily swoon at the words of our political leaders.

Personality politics?

Reading political history, it appears, is all about personality - Martin Luther King Jnr, Henry Kissinger etcetera.

Like them or not, they were leaders who were able to hold true to their words by their actions.

It's called courage of convictions.

Is there conviction to go with the size 7 balls statement?

We'll see, ah?

Francis Nii

Forget about who the hell Peter O'Neill is as he may not be the Prime Minister tomorrow as he does not own that seat.

The issue of the independent state of PNG's official position on the freedom (independence)of the Melanesians in West Papua is more important than O'Neill's personality.

PNG as a Melanesian state had been so silent or naive on the issue for 39 decades. No past prime minister or government had the guts to commit the whole of PNG behind the cause of independence for West Papua.

It had always been individual Melanesian brothers and sisters like Gary Juffa, Powes Parkop and others who fought so hard at every available opportunity.

And now Peter O'Neill as PM has got the balls to set the new stage for future prime ministers (governments) to take on the issue and this in itself is a new dawn and a turning point for the cause of freedom for West Papua from Indonesian's aggression and genocide and we should behold the decision and even if we don't like the man.

Michael Dom

Cynical (adjective) - believing that [people] are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of [human] sincerity or integrity.

Replace 'people' and 'human' with 'Ministers' and 'PNG Government'.

Damn straight I'm cynical.

Corney Korokan Alone

It is very easy to be cynical.That path requires no smarting.

It's not that easy, though, to break free from the prison of West Papua-phobia that paralysed many prime ministers (and wanna be's) in Papua New Guinea.

I have spent considerable years reading local and global history. So my article is not a mere personal bagatelle - it's about the bigger cause of Melanesian humanity.

Michael Dom

Like I said, wily.

Ghandi Katao

Michael, you are not wrong in what you are saying but let us not promote personality politics over the issue of West Papua.

All successive PMs of PNG have their share of corruption. Most leaders on the floor of Parliament have b een and are involved in corruption. But that does not stop them or disqualify them from making moral and sound judgments on issues of national concern for the good of PNG as well as other nations.

The PM's statement drills light through the tunnel of darkness on the West Papua Issue and truly lays a foundation for new dialogue between PNG, Indonesia and the rest of the world as far as the issue of West Papua is concerned.

Bomai D Witne

I read our PM O'Neill's announcement on his stance on West Papua's human right issues as a big step forward. I am always of the view that West Papuan cause has been widely supported among churches and civil society organizations and individuals in PNG. I would think that O'Neill's stand now provides political will and commitment to boost Hon. Parkop and Juffa's stand on West Papua and as a government they can change the status quo of the Indonesia-PNG bilateral Relations and shared treaties on West Papua. Whatever, happens, O'Neill's stand lays the foundation for future PNG PMs and government's stand on West Papuan issue.

Michael Dom

Savvy, assuredly. In the league of King Jr or Mandela, hardly.

It's discomforting when the acts of otherwise suspect politicians is paraded as a 'virtuous pathway'.

Call me stubborn, but that's a step too far.

Realistically, O'Neill is a wily politician.

As we've seen, there was no one to compete with him at the outset.

As we say, we'll have to wait an see.

Corney Korokan Alone

Thank you Johnny Blades.

There are political consequences for serving the appetizer only and not the full course meal.

Melanesia may not have a complete volume of written history, but we're a people of telling stories in fire places. Our fires are still burning. Gas lit ovens and electricity powered pots have not replaced our underground mumus,hot ash cooked sweet potatoes and fire smoked fishes.

Rimbink Pato is a lone United Party man. He will say what the "captain" tells him. A good number of his statements have been rescinded by the captain during his reign at the top.

Peoples National Congress Party (PNC) where Peter O'Neill comes from has widespread political support all across PNG. PNC is being seen and felt as a party that delivers - not devoid of action(s).

West Papua is a grass-roots campaign. It still is.That 53 cancer is showing real promising signs of healing.Seeing and hearing of that progress is a delight - not a slip of a tongue commentary.

Our people have strong affinity towards blood relatives.We keep our old and aged at our own homes and care for them until their times come for their departure.We shed tears and bury them ourselves.

Now, the horse has bolted the gates.

If you're scared to call this century a Melanesia coming of age period, the people of Melanesia are not actually waiting for the whole century but are determined to run through corners (if need be) to make West Papuan independence and freedom our biggest ticket item of this decade.

Some diplomatic re-calibrations must and have to be made. That will be new the order of this decade.

Johnny Blades

Trying to get some comment on this from Rimbink Pato this morning, he told me the O'Neill statement has been misconstructed by media and commentators.

He said he wouldn't elaborate until he makes some official statement but hinted that speaking up about rights abuses in no way means PNG's government intends doing anything to help West Papua break out from Indonesian rule... just that they would look to engage more with Jakarta on their concern about rights abuses.

Besides, Pato said his Indonesian counterpart had spoken to him on the phone yesterday. Jakarta will be turning the screws lest PNG government dares to think of a change of stance on West Papua. PNG's desire for ASEAN membership is probably one of the carrots.

So while it's tempting to see this as a momentous event, people here know how savvy a politician Peter O'Neill is.

Corney Korokan Alone

Michael, Yes, I am a dreamer and not one drop of blood ashamed to call myself one.

Let me remind you that, International diplomacy is no kid's play. The man you despise has the balls to make the call. Others before him were too timid or not brave enough to make that call.

It's a stance that he took when he came into office by establishing a West Papua committee comprising veteran West Papua Freedom Campaigners to advise/brief him on matters thereof.

Let me further remind you that, it is moral crusaders all over the world that have shaped the political discourse and civil rights in the last century.

Martin Luther King Jr, Madiba Nelson Mandela, Retired Bishop Desmond Tutu and our Kiwi friend, John Minta were not cowards in their days. They had the moral fortitude to believe that, we are each others keepers.

Standing by and spectating with a sense of self-defeatism is not leadership. Staring at flagrant injustice and doing or saying nothing is called siding with the perpetrators of injustice.

Fifteen years into the 21st century, Papua New Guinea is not afraid to call a spade a spade in her diplomatic conversations. Some may call it naivety and not well-thought. Those days of lectures are over.

Tell me, what else is a soon to be 40 year old nation supposed to do? Parrot the fear-mongered crowd's corporate interest infiltrated diplomatic nonsense?

The dose that the Kissingerian crowd served to this part of the world in fear of communism is not relevant today.

I feel it within my bones that, that dose needed to be tossed off into the Mighty Pacific Ocean (or the small lake that it has become) because that 50-year dose has expired in the close of the last century.

It has been found to have been administered wih ill-intent. Not according to a real professional doctor's prescription.

The SABL Inquiry's findings were not fully submitted. The second portion is still pending. From the recommendations made in the first submission, actions are being taken by the Lands Department. Notices to that effect has been on the daily papers.

I fully agree with you that, full implementations needs to be made, because land is sacred and is a matter of life or death to Papua New Guineans. Traditional land ownership sustained livelihoods of Melanesia and PNG for centuries.

Development agendas require proper balance with traditional land owners as equity partners - not mere royalty recipients as has been the case in the last century.

The fracases about the RPNGC are mere growing pangs of a country in transition. Things like this happens all around the world. It's happening in the first world countries, the developing world and the third worlds.

We will manage to sail through such challenges. They are however, not the only serious matters that require government and civic leaders' attention.

Mathias Kin

On the face of it, for those of us who support the West Papua cause for self determination, Peter O'Neil's public statement in his position as Prime Minister of PNG is welcomed.

However. with many in country and abroad gunning for his skull over the many controversial decisions he has taken and most PNGians viewing him as a very corrupt PM, and a looming vote of no confidence in the office of PM anytime from now, his timing is "just perfect"?

We shall wait and see how things unfold in the next few weeks. Will the people suddenly take a 90 degree turn, an easily change of heart and sail with PM Peter O'Neill? I don't think so.

Michael Dom

Peter O'Neill gave us the asylum deal.

He has not been able to extend his 'good' influence to the RPNGC.

Nor has he implemented Commission of Inquiry recommendations, particularly relating to SABLs.

He deliberately sabotaged Task Force Sweep.

And took control of government by pushing this nation's Constitution beyond its means in dangerous precedent.

Yet now he wants to free West Papua?

You're dreaming Corney.

Peter will make us a laughing stock and we'll probably bury him next to the other one in the Haus Tambaran gardens.

He's like a little kid with a big fat wallet called LNG, and some crafty skills picked up from the NPF saga days. Or have you conveniently forgotten he was implicated?

This moral crusade sounds like propaganda to me.

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