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« Pacific islands: New diplomatic battleground for China & the West | Main | Frenzied not strategic: Are we being played in the Pacific? »

13 September 2018


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Lindsay F Bond

Digression it will appear, Chris, yet may be excused on the basis of comparing images of magistrates.

A dapper Monckton who wielded his version of law traveled to instances of travail more than a century ago, while enjoying the visual splendor of Tufi, Collingwood Bay and mountainous Owen Stanleys.

Travelling too but for folk of today's vast Western Australia, is a magistrate pointedly more adept in conversations, customs and corrections:
Note the presentation of law facilitates a defense lawyer.

Nowadays Tufi PNG at this weekend is enjoying a festival of three days, for which I saw commendably extensive preparations. Of people and places, readers might look for Hasselberg's book "Beautiful Tufi".

Bernard Corden

On a much more dystopian note....."It's easy to write the history, all the eyewitnesses are dead" - Ljupka Cvetanova (The New Land)

Chris Overland

Mathias, I am strongly supportive of your work. The colonised need to be able to tell their story to, as you rightly point out, help balance the historic ledger.

All I am saying is that figuring out fact from fiction is an ongoing task for all historians, not that the particular oral histories you have collected are necessarily wrong. In fact, I can think of a number of plausible reasons why they may very well be correct.

However, I'll leave my own musings on this potentially tricky topic for another day, after I have seen your published work.

Mathias Kin

Interesting read, Chris. History is written by the conquerors. This is a well known "tok tru". Even my old folks boast well of their victories over their enemies in those never-ending feuds.

Seventy years ago you were the conquerors, you tailored your writings for me today. Displa em tok tru! The world read your reports and believed them in its entirety, never once doubting.

But there is evidence to show that some of the early explorers were hell bent on ensuring their stories are told especially the once involving killings of innocent people.

In the 1930s no one went into the valley to ask a warrior his side of the story. The Aussies at home piled accolades on you for 'what you did' on the frontiers.

Give me a chance, Chris. I am telling my story now, my own story. Mi harim planti sitori bilong you pinis. Nau yu harim mi, laka?

Philip Fitzpatrick

One of my favourite authors is Penelope Fitzgerald.

She has observed that the purpose of novels (fiction) is to fill in the gaps left by history.

I think that's a valid comment.

Paul Oates

You raise an important point Chris. Any assessment about the actions of those who have marched through the pages of history will logically be made by those who use their contemporary yardstick.

To be able to travel back in time and make considered judgements of actions taken is not neither possible nor in fact easy to try and attempt. Unintentional bias and inculcated culture also then play a part in whatever is then written about the actions of individuals in history without being able to fully appreciate the times and the circumstances that led up to whatever took place.

So will future historians writing about PNG's history 'trip over individual trees or take a helicopter view of the forest'?

Based on the examples you raise Chris, 'Husat isave'?

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