Transparency says stop violence & protect civil society
UPNG students remain strong in aftermath of the shootings

UPNG shootings: Parsing the words of William Dihm [sic]

William Dihm [sic]KEITH JACKSON

THE felicitously-named William Dihm, who for the time being occupies the post of Papua New Guinea’s foreign affairs secretary, has chosen to enter the debate about how best journalists should report on heavily armed police shooting defenceless civilians.

Since the good Dihm’s statement was so absurd as to be unbelievable and we feel he is better than that, we have taken this opportunity to assist Mr Dihm by elucidating for readers what he probably intended to say if he could have found the right words.

Dihm - Reports by some international news organisations on Wednesday’s events in Port Moresby involving University of PNG students and police were intentionally reckless.

Interpretation - News organisations are commended for applying their professional skills to reporting how heavily armed police shot indiscriminately into a crowd of unarmed students who were exercising their democratic right to protest.

Dihm - The visa status of the foreign correspondent in Port Moresby will need to be reviewed because of these reports.

Interpretation - I am an important man and can make ugly threats.

Dihm - At times like this, foreign media and foreign governments and organisations have an interest in what is happening in Papua New Guinea.

Interpretation - I have great ability to mansplain.

Dihm - We believe foreign media and some foreign governments have reported on what is happening here from their foreign eyes and from their perspective.

Interpretation - Blurry foreigners don’t have a clue.

Dihm - Regarding the alleged death of students, foreign media and some foreign governments were very quick to report that and not some aspects that the government was trying to do in a challenging time.

Interpretation - Show some empathy, you don’t know how stressful it is for us to shoot innocent people.

Dihm - Some reporting was intentionally reckless.

Interpretation - Most reporting was right on the money.

Dihm - People who reported in such a manner should apologise to the nation and the government.

Interpretation - People like me, who hold high office in a government that condones the shooting of unarmed civilians, should be thoroughly ashamed of ourselves.


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Paul Oates

The fact that senior public servants have come out of the woodwork indicates that their ministerial masters have lent on them and in turn on their departmental staff to maintain solidarity in the face of a disintegrating government.

Clearly those who currently enjoy the benefits of the current regime would be severely worried should that regime fall. They have the most to lose.

Whether this is the first sign of the leaky boat actually started to sink or merely symptoms of the crew starting to take some notice of the weather conditions has yet to be revealed.

The collapse of any house of cards can happen anywhere up the chain but once it starts can never by stopped.

Peter Kranz

I went to high shcool with William. He attended Avondale School, NSW for four years in the 1960's. He was a very intelligent and likeable fellow and became friends and even sang together in a quartet (an earlier version of a religious boy band). Then I went to England and we lost touch.

Many years later I tried to make contact with him when in Port Moresby, but our paths didn't cross. I heard he had a hand in brokering peace for Bougainville.

His statements show quite a different person to the William that I knew as a bright and cheerfully naughty boy all thos those years ago. I can only think that all those years working for and navigating through the Byzantine maze that is the PNG civil service must have dulled his sensitivity.

Come on Bill, show us your old style. (And he can't control the name he was given. I believe it may be of Western origin.)

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