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23 March 2016


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Chan is trying to rewrite PNG history regarding the Sandline crisis and the public protests that brought the PNG government to heel.

The 1997 barricade outside National Parliament was one of the most successful student strikes ever - the first and only time that I joined in the ranks and one of the few times in UPNG history that the entire Science Faculty joined the group (science students generally used to ignore the political scene at UPNG).

The atmosphere in the crowds was united. The leadership was strong and vocal. There was a general sense that "Sir J, em gutpela man, gutpela Prime Minista, tasol dispela pasin em mekim, long kisim ol narapela man ikam long pait long Buka, em i nogut pasin tumas - bai yumi rausim". Rausim, rausim, rausim, rausim...!

We stood outside parliament, chanting and waving, eating from the mobile vendors and street marketers. There was surprisingly little crowd trouble.

Respectful but insistent. Non-violent but persistent. United and committed to achieving a clear and well defined objective. We won.

There was even a dance held at the UPNG forum where the defense force soldiers were invited guests!

This event should be celebrated in history and not scribbled over by some scribe of a fallen pharaoh.

I hope the leaders of the 1997 strike write their versions of this story soon.

It's time for Sir J to take a nap and dream about something else other than power.

If he knew anything about the Bougainville people or the rest of us for that matter, he'd have known that the mercenaries would have made things far worse - the BRA would never have given in, they never did really. And it's very likely that some of the rest of us would have fought his government too.

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