On the verge of destruction

RebelsDANIEL KUMBON

An extract from Daniel’s forthcoming book, The Old Man’s Dilemma, a novel about modern Papua New Guinea, its issues, its stresses and its journey to a place unknown

FICTION – A cold tremor like an electrical current shot down The Old Man’s spine. The reports he was receiving about an insurrection were ominous.

He feared that Papua New Guinea was heading for a period of extreme violence and instability.

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The cost to the Pacific of plundered resources

Plunder (Ben Sanders)
Plunder (Ben Sanders)

PACIFIC PROJECT TEAM
| The Guardian | Edited extracts

Link here to view the entire article together
with interactive maps and data sets

SYDNEY - Millions of tonnes of minerals, fish and timber are extracted from Pacific island nations each year, generating massive profits for foreign multinationals.

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Australia’s first people had farming savvy

Ancientbananacultivationsite
Archaeologists at an ancient banana farm, cultivated over 2,000 years ago on Mabuyag Island in the southern Torres Strait 

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - There’s been a curious debate going on for several years among academics about whether Aboriginal people in Australia engaged in agriculture and therefore lived sedentary lives.

The debate was given impetus in 2014 when author Bruce Pascoe published a book, Dark Emu.

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Death of distinguished academic Dr Ruth Latukefu

Ruth Fink Latukefu
Ruth Fink Latukefu - Turned the tables on the kiaps in the case of Herr Dr CJ Blunge

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The esteemed anthropologist and academic Dr Ruth Annette (Fink) Latukefu (1931-2021) has died at her home in Newport Beach, Sydney, aged 89.

Ruth was born in 1931 in Frankfurt am Maine, Germany, arriving in Australia in 1939 with her parents, German Jewish refugees.

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The Catholic bishops have got it right

Archbishop Anton Bal
Archbishop Anton Bal - "The democratic system of government established by the founding fathers is not to be renounced in favour of a theocratic one"

GABRIEL KUMAN
| Lecturer, Divine Word University

“We believe that the democratic system of government established by the founding fathers of the nation is not to be renounced in favour of a theocratic one embodied in a confessional state. Instead the government could opt for a public declaration of renewed Christian commitment to promote cooperation between the churches and parliament” - Anton Bal, Archbishop of Madang, Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea

MADANG - Thank you Catholic Bishops Conference for speaking on behalf of more than one million Catholics and other citizens of Papua New Guinea as a whole.

Those so-called pastors of other Christian churches - that hid behind the scenes and advised the prime minister and other politicians to amend the Constitution - had ulterior motives.

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No casino - we have enough problems

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

PokiesIt is an absolutely disgusting move by the National Gaming and Control Board - Papua New Guinea’s gaming regulator - to sign off papers giving the OK for a new casino to be built in Port Moresby. It is even more disgusting that the Board sees fit to announce itself as a partner in the gambling business

LAE - Here’s are some questions for the National Gaming and Control Board.

How will the Board – the regulator – regulate itself as a partner and the investor in the event that there are offences committed against the law?

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Dismantling Frieda, one wheel at a time

Beautiful Mama AvisakANALOGY BY THE AVISAK N'GEGOS

The chiefs of 49 villages along the Avisak [Sepik River] together with Save the Sepik have organised 408 clans and 51 n’gegos [haus tambaran] into a united nation working to reject the proposed PanAust Frieda River mine

SEPIK RIVER - The Frieda River gold and copper mine can be likened to a vehicle.

When it first started, and was in the exploration stage, we the people of Avisak would see helicopters buzzing and whooshing across the sky almost every day, back and forth across the project site.

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Names of PNG: Oala Oala-Rarua

Oala Oala-Rarua as mayor of Port Moresby
Oala Oala-Rarua while mayor of Port Moresby, 1972

MURRAY GROVES
| Australian Dictionary of Biography | Edited

CANBERRA – Oala Oala-Rarua (1934-80) - teacher, trade-union leader, politician and diplomat - was born at Pari village near Port Moresby.

He received his early education in mission village schools before transferring to the Sogeri education centre in 1948 where he was trained, and then employed, as a teacher.

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‘Racist’ Facebook doesn’t get the picture

Censored image of Uiaku schoolgirls (PJ Money  1908. Australian Museum)
Censored image. The photo of Uiaku schoolgirls was taken by PJ Money in 1908 (Australian Museum)

MOSTAFA RACHWANI
| Guardian Australia

SYDNEY - Facebook has been accused of “discriminatory and racist” behaviour after it deleted historical photos from a group that publishes archival photos of men and women from Papua New Guinea.

The group, which boasts over 55,000 members, claims photos showing traditional dress or ceremonies were deleted for allegedly containing nudity – but photos showing nudity among white people were not.

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Domestic violence justice: An insight

CourtTRACY GANAII, JUDY PUTT & SINCLAIR DINNEN
| Department of Pacific Affairs | Australian National University | Edited extracts

Link here to read the full case study brief

CANBERRA – This month, in Papua New Guinea’s national parliament, a special parliamentary committee on gender-based violence conducted public hearings and invited submissions to gain evidence on the breadth of problems and steps that could be taken to combat them.

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Taking the ‘service’ out of Public Service

FearlessJIM MOORE

ADELAIDE - I happened to be looking through the Classifieds in the Adelaide Advertiser on Monday (not something I usually do, I was checking for a Death Notice).

And there, on the way to the Death Notices, I saw an advertisement, a Request for Tender in fact, from the Commonwealth Department of Finance.

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Names of PNG: Camilla Wedgwood

Wedgwood PNG
Camilla Wedgwood taking the arm measurement of a young boy

DAVID WETHERELL
| Australian Dictionary of Biography | Edited

CANBERRA - Camilla Hildegarde Wedgwood (1901-1955), anthropologist and educationist, was born on 25 March 1901 at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.

She was descended from Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795), the master potter.

Aided by her famous name and the financial stability that flowed from the sale of Wedgwood pottery, Camilla was free to express her inherited independence, strong social conscience and streak of individualism.

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a butterfly brooch

John-apel-18ky-large-enamel-and-diamond-butterfly-broochMICHAEL DOM

a butterfly brooch
at some stage a blue present
the pin pricked my thumb
sweet sweat stains, your blouse, your hair
familiar to my big nose

An extract from Put Me On Your Tongue, a new
collection of Michael Dom poetry coming soon


19th century capitalism just moved offshore

(Photo - Jonny White)
Capitalism isn't working (Photo - Jonny White)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Bernard Corden is right (Wages of fear – Contracting out the danger’). Neo-liberal capitalism has very adept at outsourcing hard, dirty or dangerous work to the developing world.

Outsourced to places where the political elites are largely unconcerned about the welfare of their workforce, preferring to focus on the acquisition of wealth for themselves.

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Barets, barter & buai on the Sepik

Longboat
The baret allows people from Korogu village on the Sepik to travel inland to trade their fish for buai, saksak and other crops

DUNCAN GABI
| Auna Melo

KEMBIAM, SEPIK RIVER - The Sepik River has hundreds of lakes (raunwara), maybe more than hundreds, that are 300-500 meters from the main river.

These lakes are connected to the river by narrow waterways that allow people to access the lakes from the river.

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DFAT – elite became a feather duster

Bruce Haigh
Bruce Haigh - 'The best and brightest who challenge policy or who seek to put forward policy in the face of domestic political imperatives are sidelined and rendered voiceless and powerless'

BRUCE HAIGH
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations

MELBOURNE - There was a time in the sixties through to the 1980s when DFAT, the Department of Foreign Affairs (Trade was subsumed in 1987), was a powerful department within the Australian federal bureaucracy.

Its branches mirrored every major department in Canberra and when it felt necessary it would intervene in policies being developed by other departments, and often enough DFAT prevailed.

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Wages of fear – contracting out the danger

Pipe_installation_2BERNARD CORDEN
| Edited extracts

‘No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky’ - Bob Dylan

BRISBANE - Wages of Fear is a critically acclaimed classic suspense movie starring Yves Montand and based on a French novel, Le Salaire de la Peur, by George Arnaud, written almost seven decades ago.

The narrative remains eerily familiar across Australia and Papua New Guinea, especially if you have ever driven through the Kassam or Daulo passes on the Okuk Highway amidst a convoy of dilapidated trucks.

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Maybe all we can do is apologise

PlanetPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Do we older folk need to apologise to our children and grandchildren for the sorry state of the world we are bequeathing to them?

I guess the answer to that question depends on how culpable we feel and how complicit we think we have been in bringing the world to the edge of the catastrophe so many scientists believe it faces.

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On winning whatever the price

World War II Japanese gun on Kangu Beach  south Bougainville
World War II Japanese artillery piece on Kangu Beach, near Buin south Bougainville

SIMON PENTANU MP
|  Edited

‘Only the dead have seen the end of war’ – Plato

KIETA - These are my thoughts from looking around Buin in south Bougainville every time I travel there. It is a great place, like other regions on the island.

It is also where I first saw, in 1964, the menace of war in the relics that all wars leave behind. The relics of Buin are from World War II, when Bougainville came under Japanese control.

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Don’t make history a fairy tale

Beach at Henry Reid Bay
Beach at Henry Reid Bay

GREGORY BABLIS
| Edited extracts

TOL, EAST NEW BRITAIN - Cultures around the world have different concepts of history and of time.

The historicity of a people or place crystallizes in many forms etched in the environment, landscape, language, stories and material culture. Legends, myths, fairy tales, creation stories or origin stories are just some examples.

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The story of a shot of vaccine

Vaccination-drives-out-coronavirusA G SATORI

PORT MORESBY – After a long while trying to convince other people that it was safe, I could not bring myself around to it.

Jimminy the black grasshopper was there in the back of my brain saying, “Here, just read of another setback of the vaccine in Australia. Never mind that it is one in a million. You could be the next two in two million with the complications”.

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Bishops oppose Christian nation move

Catholic BishopsKEITH JACKSON
| Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG & Solomon Islands

NOOSA - The Catholic Bishops Conference has expressed dissatisfaction at the Marape government’s lack of consultation with churches in initiating an inquiry about whether Papua New Guinea should be declared ‘a Christian country’.

“All considered, we do not deem it necessary to introduce amendments to the current PNG Constitution,” the bishops said in a statement.

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Christian constitution: what a bad idea

SeparationCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The long and appalling history of religious influence on politics is so well documented that it is startling that prime minister James Marape should even contemplate writing a particular religion, in this case Christianity, into Papua New Guinea’s constitution.

A key axiom of any modern state should be a clear separation between church and state.

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Patrolling with kiaps in remote PNG

DunjeyPHILIP FITZPATRICK

Stethoscopes, Kiaps and the Law of the Jungle by Dr Malcolm Dunjey, Ark House Press, 2021, 162 pages, ISBN 9780645103168, US$22.99 from Ark House Press

TUMBY BAY - This short book describes three patrols conducted in the Western District between 1966 and 1967 that were accompanied by Dr Malcolm Dunjey, who was the District Medical Officer based in Daru.

My particular interest stems from the fact that I led patrols into the same areas a few years later when I was based at Olsobip and then Nomad River.

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Too much conspiracy; go get vaccinated

Scene at Rita Flynn  17 May (Joel Hamari  The National)
Monday's scene at the Rita Flynn vaccination centre (Joel Hamari The National)

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - This photo from The National newspaper confirms what I saw last Monday at the Rita Flynn vaccination centre - that foreigners dominated the place where vaccines are administered.

The sad thing is I wasn’t surprised when I saw many foreigners lining up for the vaccines– vaccines that were sent for Papua New Guineans.

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More than one way to defeat corruption

Kitchnoge
David Kitchnoge - "Hold our leaders accountable by all means, but don’t unfairly bash the good guys"

DAVID KITCHNOGE
| My Land, My Country

PORT MORESBY - I am concerned about increasingly loud, twisted, short-sighted and naive views held by many people about the fight against corruption and bad practice. Some of these views may even be deliberate distractions.

It seems people think the only way to fight the scourge is to jail those who are adjudged as corrupt.

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Marape to Toroama: ‘My job is to preserve the union’

Toroama  Marape
Ishmael Toroama has a quiet word with James Marape at the Kokopo summit. Talks conclude with two firm positions espoused. Are they reconcilable?

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama’s declaration that the autonomous province will gain political independence from Papua New Guinea in June 2025 has left PNG prime minister James Marape with a delicate issue to negotiate.

The complexity of the challenge Marape faces became clear in two statements he made following the conclusion of the Kokopo consultations, during which Toroama had made his shock announcement that he had a firm date for Bougainville independence.

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PNG’s blind eye to K21 billion log steal

Logging_ship_Vanimo
Logging ship at Vanimo, West Sepik

EDDIE TANAGO
| ACT NOW!

PORT MOREBY - The Forest Authority must stop aiding and abetting logging companies identified by the Internal Revenue Commission as defrauding the State and landowners by evading taxes.

Fraudulent practices around log exports from PNG over the past 20 years could have the cost the country as much as K21 billion.

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Does PNG need a ‘Christian country’ declaration?

Declaration
"The government has to recognise that declaring PNG a Christian country can prove detrimental to national unity"

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - The Papua New Guinea government has begun a survey to draw public views on a proposal to change the constitution to declare PNG a Christian country.

The Constitutional Law Reform Commission is taking carriage of the task.

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The bonds that become stronger

WeddingDANIEL KUMBON

FICTION - Delisa broke the news of her pregnancy to Japheth, sounding anxious as she spoke to her mother about her duties in the maternity ward of the over-stretched general hospital.

Japheth assured her everything would be fine. She didn’t have to worry. Delisa was strong and healthy. She was a sensible young woman. And she was married to a clever man.

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Bougainville independence by 2025, declares Toroama

Ishmael Toroama
Ishmael Toroama - “Our position on the future political status of Bougainville is clear, and that is independence”

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – In a statement that will send shock waves through Papua New Guinea, Australia and beyond, Bougainville’s president Ishmael Toroama yesterday declared the autonomous province must achieve independence by June 2025.

Toroama revealed the position of the Autonomous Bougainville Government on its political future at a summit with PNG prime minister James Marape that began in Kokopo yesterday.

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Slow boats, banana boats & stopped buses

MV Ialibu
MV Ialibu - a slow boat to Lae now being replaced by an even slower boat

HAZEL KUTKUE
| Sipikriva Girl | Edited

FINSCHHAFEN - I live in Finschhafen, Morobe, where the only way to reach Lae is to travel the 80 kilometers east by watercraft.

Lutheran Shipping Services has scheduled boats which pass through Finschhafen once or twice a week.

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A left wing view of the Somare legacy

Michael Somare and his wife Veronica (Wikipedia)
Michael Somare and his wife Veronica (Wikipedia)

PATRICK O’CONNOR
| International Committee of the Fourth International | Extract

Link here to the complete article

SYDNEY - The first years of Papua New Guinea’s independence coincided with the collapse of the nationalist program of economic regulation and import substitution based on tariff protection that had been widely promoted and adopted in former colonial countries.

From the late 1970s and 1980s, governments in the so-called Third World instead sought to integrate their economies into the capitalist world market by welcoming foreign investment on exploitative terms.

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Covid is a test I believe we'll pass

Gianluca Rampolla receives the Covid vaccine (Rachel Donovan)
Gianluca Rampolla receives the Covid vaccine (Rachel Donovan)

GIANLUCA RAMPOLLA

Gianluca Rampolla is resident coordinator of the United Nations in Papua New Guinea and says public health communications and health system strengthening undertaken during the Covid-19 outbreak, will help to put the PNG health system on a better platform to combat future pandemics

PORT MORESBY - On Friday, I received my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

It is incredible to think that in a little over a year since the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic, a vaccine has been developed and is now being administered in PNG.

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Life with Covid: ‘Too many rumours’

Solange Dawana (Save The Children)
Solange Dawana - "Young people can promote safe health standards by leading by example"  (Save The Children)

MADELEINE KECK
| Global Citizen | Edited

Global Citizen spoke with Solange Dawana, a first-year mechanical engineering student in Papua New Guinea, about how the Covid-19 pandemic had changed her and others’ lives

Global Citizen: How was 2020 for you and your family?

Solange Dawana: The past year has been one of the most challenging for my family and me and many other families.

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Why our national integrity is suffering

Damaru
Mathew Damaru - the honest cop with few friends and a lot of enemies in high places

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - Mathew Damaru, Director of the Police National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate (NFAC), didn’t mince words when he told a Transparency International PNG summit last week the directorate had been starved of funding.

From an annual budget of K1.2 million a few years ago, the directorate is now getting just K350,000 for its operations.

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The annoying habits of politicians

OuchPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Politicians have many annoying habits, perhaps more than ordinary people. Where they get them is a mystery. One can only assume they learn off each other.

At the top of the list is refusing to answer simple questions. How many times have you listened to a politician on television or the radio evading a simple yes or no by waffling until the interviewer gives up?

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Moses Tekwie honours his father’s legacy

Moses Muhwannah Tekwie
Moses Tekwie - honoured his father and family by graduating from Otago University yesterday

OTAGO BULLETIN BOARD
| University of Otago | Edited

DUNEDIN - Moses Muhwannah Tekwie yesterday graduated from the University of Otago with a Master of International Business with Distinction.

But he had gone through unimaginable heartbreak when both his father and cousin-brother died only a short time before he departed from Papua New Guinea for New Zealand.

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