PNG literature – the olden days

Albert-maori-kiki-dealing-with-rioting-women port moresby 19741
Albert Maori Kiki's '10,000 Years in  a Lifetime' (1968) was a  pathfinder in PNG literature. He became a prominent politician. Here, in Port Moresby in 1974, he tries to calm a group of angry women

KESIA ERICK
| Ples Singsing

GOROKA - Writers have always played an important role in societies, both traditional and modern. Every society, every country has its own literary tradition and its own literature.

Whether, American, English, Australian or Papua New Guinean literature, the significance of literature in a society can be grasped from the fact that there has never been a society without a literary tradition, whether oral or written.

Continue reading "PNG literature – the olden days" »


Australian & NZ are ‘stingy’ aid donors

Australian-Aid (Anne-Orquiza-DFAT)STEPHEN HOWES
| DevPolicy Blog | Extracts

CANBERRA - Last week the Centre for Global Development (CGD) released its 2021 Commitment to Development Index.

The CDI has, for the last 20 years, compared rich countries in terms of their “policies that affect the development prospects of countries beyond one’s own borders”.

Continue reading "Australian & NZ are ‘stingy’ aid donors" »


UN boss says Pacific voices must be heard

António Guterres
António Guterres - "You have been raising the alarm, and your voice must be heard loud and clear"

ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
| United Nations Secretary‑General

NEW YORK - Your [Pacific Islands Forum] nations are confronting a dual crisis of climate change and the Covid‑19 pandemic.  Both threaten Pacific lives and livelihoods.

If we follow the current path, the consequences of climate disruption for the prosperity, well‑being and the very survival of Pacific communities will be severe.

Continue reading "UN boss says Pacific voices must be heard" »


Buruka Tau – keyboard maestro & PNG patriot

Buruka Tau - ambassador
Buruka Tau - PNG's ambassador of culture and the arts

STEVEN TAU
| My Land, My Country

PORT MORESBY - My dad, Buruka Tau, who died in early September, was a larger than life character and as spontaneous in nature as jazz.

As a kid, I just saw him as dad, a musician. One day, he would be with us doing everyday things and the next he was somewhere in the world being a rock star.

Continue reading "Buruka Tau – keyboard maestro & PNG patriot" »


Nose bleeding & cane swallowing rituals

Cane Swallowing (NFI-GKA)
Cane swallowing, also known as 'drin kol wara'

SHIRLEY KOMOGI
| PNG Insight

PORT MORESBY - ‘Last Real Man’ is a documentary film that captures the sacred cane swallowing ritual of Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands Province and took six years to produce.

After extensive consultation, negotiation and research, Ruth Ketau convinced the elders from Sakanuga village in the Bena area that she should become the first filmmaker to record the Neheya initiation, a cane swallowing ritual.

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Transparency signs anti-corruption agreement

TIPNGMEDIA ROOM
| Transparency International PNG

PORT MORESBY – Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) and the Interim Independent Commission Against Corruption (IICAC) have signed a memorandum of understanding formalising a partnership to develop an anti-corruption strategy for IICAC.

The initiative is part of a TIPNG project to promote anti-corruption and integrity strategies, which is funded by the European Union to restore and reinforce public trust in national integrity institutions.

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Perspectives on building a successful society

Bougainville
Bougainville seascape (Simon Pentanu)

SIMON PENTANU MP

KIETA – It is said that some of the best personal and political successes in life have followed great adversity and disappointment.

How many of us have come to the best of times when the worst of times has taken us to the brink?

I have some personal perspectives on this from the Bougainville contest, where we have individuals, businessmen, political leaders, church leaders and women and youth leaders who have the opportunity to change things for the better.

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In praise of a wide brown land

The Outback Pub  by Margie Langtip
The Outback Pub, by Margie Langtip

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - While I think Phil Fitzpatrick is over-egging the pudding in Australia – Not that Great a Country, I believe it is true to say that Australia is not a 'great' country.

Phil referred to many of its faults, which is fair comment I suppose, but there are some virtues.

In relation to climate change, every one of Australia’s eight states and territories has now committed to being carbon neutral by 2050.

Continue reading "In praise of a wide brown land" »


Govt must crack down on rogue agency

Log exportEDDIE TANAGO
| Act Now

PORT MORESBY – If the government's ban on new logging permits is to be effective, it must be total, and extended to cover all types of logging consent.

Last week prime minister James Marape directed the PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA) to stop issuing new permits and permit extensions so the government can meet its 2025 deadline to end the export of unprocessed raw logs.

Continue reading "Govt must crack down on rogue agency" »


Fencemending: France, Australia & the Pacific

French President Emmanuel Macron
French president Emmanuel Macron - his vision of France as a partner in the Western alliance confronting China in the South Pacific would have been stung by the inept AUKUS announcement

DENISE FISHER
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations

CANBERRA - There is more at stake for the French-Australian relationship in the Pacific than just money after Australia last week cancelled a contract with France’s Naval Group to build new submarines.

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison indicated that the $90 billion (K230 billion) contract with France, signed in 2016, included ‘contractual gates’ at which critical decisions. Like this could be made.

Continue reading "Fencemending: France, Australia & the Pacific" »


Australia – not that great a country

Inner-city latte-drinking basket-weavers (Sky News)
Inner-city latte-drinking basket-weavers (Sky News)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Let’s be honest.  Australia is an insignificant world power sitting in isolation at the bottom of the planet desperately clinging on to an increasingly tenuous notion of Western hegemony.

On one current reckoning we sit in seventeenth place on the world power scale, just below Switzerland and just above Turkey.

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Sir Paulias Matane turns 90

Sir Paulias Matane at 89
These photos of a still sprightly Sir Paulias Matane were taken at his 89th birthday last year

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Sir Paulias Nguna Matane - author, educator, diplomat and former governor-general - turns 90 today, which is a grand age anywhere in the world.

Sir Paulias was born in East New Britain and educated at Toma Village School, Keravat High School and, in 1956, Sogeri Teachers College.

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Writing’s always been my passion

Phil
Phil Fitzpatrick - "Shedding the jargon, verbosity and density of the bureaucratic writing style required real effort"

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Some people like messing about in boats but writing fiction has always been a passion of mine.

Unfortunately it’s very hard to make a living out of writing books in Australia and I’ve had to resort to other means of subsistence.

That’s why reaching retirement age is such a blessing.

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Oz sub decision of little import

Turtle
The world's first submarine, Turtle, was built by American inventor David Bushnell in 1775 for use against British warships in the Revolutionary War that gave birth to the United States. Due to the single operator's lack of skill, it failed to wreak even the slightest amount of havoc

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – I’m struggling to see how the acquisition of American nuclear submarines necessarily binds us to its foreign policy, let alone fighting a war with it.

If the mere acquisition of US made hardware and very secret and sophisticated technology did that, then surely buying 75 F35 fighters has long since locked us into that role?

Similarly, I struggle with the idea that buying a genuinely potent weapon as a means of defence is a provocation.

Continue reading "Oz sub decision of little import" »


Journalists have a trust problem

Gittins
Ross Gittins' book, 'A life among budgets, bulldust and bastardry', is available from Amazon

ROSS GITTINS
| Economics Editor, Sydney Morning Herald
| Extracts

SYDNEY - As journalists know, but probably try not to think about, polling shows that, as an occupation, we don’t rank highly.

We’re well down the list, held in roughly the same esteem as politicians, real estate agents and people selling used cars.

Continue reading "Journalists have a trust problem" »


No room for neutrality in this new world

Capture
Scott Morrison looks at Joe Biden on a video link - "China is not a benign power. It is no more or less self-interested than any other authoritarian power"

ADELAIDE - I think Phil Fitzpatrick, The US sets up Australia for war, has invested Australia’s decision to buy nuclear submarines with more significance than it deserves, at least as far as the prospect of war is concerned.

As I have written before, in Rationality & balance required for China, the 'dance of death' between a resurgent and increasingly nationalistic and belligerent China and the previously dominant USA began some time ago.

Continue reading "No room for neutrality in this new world" »


Morrison’s risky throw of electoral dice

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (AFP)
Scott Morrison has placed Australia on the front line of any future war with China (AFP)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The editorial in this weekend’s ‘The Saturday Paper’ is interesting. It quotes Hugh White, former deputy-secretary of the Defence Department.

In an article elsewhere, White suggests that conventional submarines are perfectly suited if Australia is only interested in defending itself, whereas nuclear-powered submarines are perfectly suited to attacking another country.

Continue reading "Morrison’s risky throw of electoral dice" »


Aukus strikes at heart of Pacific regionalism

James Bhagwan  general secretary  Pacific Council of Churches (Radio New Zealand  Jamie Tahana)
Rev James Bhagwan,  general secretary of the Pacific Council of Churches - "Australia is not acting in the best interests of  vuvale,  family" (Radio New Zealand Jamie Tahana)

JOHNNY BLADES
| Radio New Zealand Pacific | Edited extracts

AUCKLAND - Australia's new security pact with the United States and the United Kingdom has touched a nerve at the core of Pacific regionalism.

The AUKUS alliance, announced by the leaders of the three countries late last week, finds them seeking strategic advantage in the Indo-Pacific region.

Continue reading "Aukus strikes at heart of Pacific regionalism" »


US sets up Australia for a China war

Johnson  Biden and Morrison (Mark Knight)
The Big Three Meet - Johnson Biden and Morrison (Mark Knight, Herald-Sun)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The United States of America is a warmonger but prefers to fight its wars in other people’s countries: Moro (Philippines), Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, the list goes on and, as you can read here, it is very, very long.

War and the military industrial complex are inextricably entwined in the US economy and now it seems to be quite advanced in its planning for the next war – another one in our backyard, the Indo-Pacific.

Continue reading "US sets up Australia for a China war" »


Some useful advice to a young person

Juffa
Gary Juffa (left) shares a joke with two constituents

GARY JUFFA MP

ORO - My dear young person, I have some thoughts formed from not a few experiences gained along the way in my last 49 years.

I decided to share them to mark the 46th Independence Day of our great young nation, Papua New Guinea.

I offer them to you in the hope that perhaps they will be of some use.

Continue reading "Some useful advice to a young person" »


ANU honours eminent PNG scholar, Ron May

Ron May
Ron May has provided an immense legacy of knowledge and scholarship in 5o years of research and writing about Papua New Guinea

ANTHONY REGAN, NICOLE HALEY
& THIAGO OPPERMANN

CANBERRA - Emeritus Fellow Ron May is being honoured by a conference and Festschrift (collection of writings) to celebrate his 50-year contribution to research, writing and thinking, especially about Papua New Guinea.

The celebration is hosted by the Department of Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University.

Continue reading "ANU honours eminent PNG scholar, Ron May" »


Tetchy Bougainville leaders told ‘don’t panic’

Marape toroama
James Marape and Ishmael Toroama - bold statements from Bougainville on independence seem to have given way to a more nuanced approach

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Discussions about Bougainville inside Papua New Guinea’s parliament have had a significant and disgruntled repercussion in the autonomous province itself, NBC Bougainville has reported.

Prime minister James Marape presented a statement on the Bougainville peace process to the national parliament and opened the topic for debate amongst MPs.

Continue reading "Tetchy Bougainville leaders told ‘don’t panic’" »


Can renewables save the planet?

Morrison
Scott Morrison's government keeps promoting coal (cartoon by Paul Dorin @DorinToons)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Australia’s daft prime minister and climate change laggard says he wants to solve the problem of global warming using technology.

What he means by technology are dodgy developments such as carbon sequestration.

Until that happens he plans to open new gas fields to provide feedstock for new gas-fired power stations, which he thinks produce less pollution.

Continue reading "Can renewables save the planet?" »


A nation in denial

PNG_flagERIC MOLONG

UKARUMPA - We are a nation that is drowning in its own oil. We are a nation that is being dragged under – submerged by the weight of our gold.

We suffocate as our natural gases get sucked out of our lungs by the barrel. Our large timber exports continue to land us in cardboard shelters. Every ship that sails away with our tuna leaves us staring at an empty plate.

Continue reading "A nation in denial" »


Women journalists win media awards

Russell top
Russell Hunter - a fearless and ethical journalist who always had time to mentor and train younger members of the profession

ROWAN CALLICK

NORTHCOTE, VIC - Women reporters with the National Broadcasting Corporation and EMTV have won the Russell Hunter Awards for Young Papua New Guinea Journalists of the Year.

When Scottish-Australian journalist Russell Hunter – who was living in Brisbane - died in July, a group of friends decided that the most appropriate way to memorialise him was through sponsoring an award for young journalists in PNG.

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Waka Poet Faumuina meets Blunt Bugger Dom

MICHAEL DOM
| Ples Singsing

Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i
Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i

My Grandfather is a Canoe by Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna'i, July 2021, Flying Geese Pro. Order here for $36.52 (post included)

LAE – Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i’s first poems appeared in print in ‘Fika – a fictional body of new writing by First Draft Pasefika Writers’ (2008), under the banner of Pacific Arts Creative New Zealand.

Faumuina’s poetry later featured in dried grass over rough-cut logs’, my own collection of 2020, published by the late PNG publisher, poet and essayist, Francis Nii.

Continue reading "Waka Poet Faumuina meets Blunt Bugger Dom" »


Can you trust a politician with high BMI?

“The Bosses of the Senate”
'The Bosses of the Senate', 1889 lithograph from the collection of the United States Senate

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - For Australians, and other people with a close interest and involvement in Papua New Guinea, there is a curious dilemma that revolves around trust.

This is the result of the rampant corruption and lawlessness that seems to permeate everything that happens in our near neighbour and good friend.

Continue reading "Can you trust a politician with high BMI?" »


Australia’s feeble ‘blame China’ narrative

China-v-AustraliaSOURABH GUPTA
| East Asia Forum

WASHINGTON - The Australia–China relationship has been in the deep doldrums for some time now.

Australian commentary pins the blame for the deterioration of bilateral ties on "China’s aggressive attempt to expand the domestic authoritarianism of [Chinese] President Xi Jinping into the Indo-Pacific region".

Continue reading "Australia’s feeble ‘blame China’ narrative" »


Ignored report: Illegal logging major crime risk

Ship-waiting-to-load-logsNEWS DESK
| Act Now

PORT MORESBY – It has been revealed that a 2017 risk assessment by the Bank of Papua New Guinea found illegal logging in PNG to be a major money laundering threat but that there was a lack of will in the PNG Forest Authority to investigate and prosecute.

A money laundering and financing of terrorism risk assessment by the central bank said that illegal logging generated very large profits and also had a highly detrimental impact on the economy and natural environment.

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Sam Basil faces misconduct allegations

Sam Basil
Sam Basil leaves the tribunal accompanied by his lawyer Greg Sheppard

NEWS DESK
| PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil was suspended from leadership duties on Friday by a leadership tribunal hearing into misconduct allegations against him.

Basil, who is also commerce and industry minister, was suspended after his reference and statement of reasons were presented to the tribunal by public prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin.

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PNG offloads 30,000 vaccine shots to Vietnam

Vaccine from_papua_new_guineaNEWS DESK
| Voice of Vietnam

HO CHI MINH CITY – Last Friday Vietnam received 30,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine transferred from Papua New Guinea through the COVAX program, ostensibly to help combat Covid-19.

Nguyen Tat Thanh, Vietnam ambassador to Papua New Guinea, said the shipment was delivered to Vietnam on the basis of a government-level agreement on vaccine transfer recently signed between Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and the vaccine alliance, GAVI.

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A very good morning for a Medevac

Medivac 1 aerial top
MAF Medevac - Piet and Marijke flew over some of the world's most rugged and beautiful terrain on their mercy mission

MARIJKE MUILWIJK
|MAF Telefomin

TELEFOMIN – On a Saturday in late August, I had the opportunity to join a Medevac flight with my pilot husband, Piet.

Piet was asked to Medevac a woman with a broken back and an MAF lady offered to babysit our boys so that I could join Piet on the operation. A golden opportunity.

Continue reading "A very good morning for a Medevac" »


Partnership takes aim at better governance

Peter Aitsi at the OGP workshop top
Peter Aitsi speaks at the Open Government Partnership conference

MEDIA ROOM
| Transparency International PNG

PORT MORESBY – The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is Papua New Guinea’s biggest multi-stakeholder initiative promoting good governance and a people-focused democracy.

Last week’s OGP national good governance conference in partnership with the European Union formally opened a conversation on these important issues.

Continue reading "Partnership takes aim at better governance" »


Telstra visit signals Digicel deal is closer

Denis O'Brien
Digicel's Denis O'Brien - Australia's China troubles is the tycoon's get rid of debt card

BUSINESS DESK
| The Irish Times | Extract

DUBLIN - The downward spiral in relations between China and Australia in the past year has played into the hands of businessman Denis O’Brien as he looks to further reduce the debt burden of his Digicel telecoms group.

Early last year O’Brien effectively forced bondholders to write off $1.6 billion (K5.6 billion) of what they were owed.

Continue reading "Telstra visit signals Digicel deal is closer" »


Undelivered contracts cost PNG billions

K2.7 million hole in the ground  Sohe district near Kokoda (Post-Courier)
The K2.7 million hole in the ground near Kokoda (PNG Post-Courier)

NEWSDESK
| Asia Pacific Report

AUCKLAND - A one meter-deep hole in the ground is all there is to show of an almost K2.7 million state contract project in Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province.

The project was to design and build a community health building with support facilities for Kiorata in Sohe district.

Continue reading "Undelivered contracts cost PNG billions" »


The story of Marcus, the firewood man

Paul Wii and friend
Paul Wii and friend

PAUL WII

FICTION –The boy sat there under the perum tree, dusk’s fading light casting a grey shadow across a landscape now silent.

Marcus Yalgomia cried tears of pain, misery and heartache, it was if the floodgates of the gods had been thrown open.

There was no way he could hold back the tears. And there was no one around to see him cry.

Continue reading "The story of Marcus, the firewood man" »


Fahim Dashty - pioneer of Afghan press freedom

Hand-compiling the Kabul Weekly newspaper (Martin Hadlow)
Hand-compiling the Kabul Weekly newspaper (Martin Hadlow)

MARTIN HADLOW

SAMFORD VALLEY – Not long ago in PNG Attitude, this photograph was published alongside my article, ‘Taliban had time & are not so benign’.

It shows the Kabul Weekly newspaper being compiled by hand.

The newspaper was established by an extraordinary journalist, Fahim Dashty. And this is his story.

Continue reading "Fahim Dashty - pioneer of Afghan press freedom" »


Martin Hadlow: The broadcaster who dared

Keith Phil Martin nr Subic Bay Philippines 1986
Keith, the late Phil Charley and Martin murder a burger & shake near Subic Bay, Philippines, 1986. We were between running media management courses in Manila and Baguio City

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – I really need to expound here on Martin Hadlow, who wrote the article above, a great friend of mine for nearly 50 years.

It must be a good friendship because it survived Martin taking over two radio stations from me, Radio Bougainville in 1973 and 2ARM-FM Armidale in 1977.

Martin continued to an illustrious career with Unesco and later academia – in both jurisdictions his skills in organisation and expertise in media and communications put to profoundly good use.

Continue reading "Martin Hadlow: The broadcaster who dared" »


Can the daggy dad do it all again?

Morrison
Scott 'Beefy' Morrison attacking a dog's eye (aka maggot bag or rat's coffin)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – While I fully agree with Keith Jackson's comments, The pandemic in Oz: Time for a reckoning’, I am pessimistic that the Morrison government will be ejected from office based upon the grievous failures Keith described so eloquently.

Basically, Scott Morrison can and will exploit the apathy, ignorance, credulity and fear of far too many Australians who will vote to ensure that government remains in what he will characterise as his 'safe hands'.

Continue reading "Can the daggy dad do it all again?" »


We'll ensure a 52% share for PNG: Marape

James Marape
James Marape - “We will not come below 52% in negotiating new resource projects"

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Papua New Guinea will never allow the PNG share of resource projects to slip below 52%, prime minister James Marape has said as the nation stands on the threshold of a new resources boom.

Mr Marape said his government was pushing for more than a 50% stake in P’nyang, Pasca, Pandora and other future LNG projects as well as the Wafi-Golpu and Porgera mining projects.

Continue reading "We'll ensure a 52% share for PNG: Marape" »


Images of New Guinea under the Japanese

Rabaul Hanabuki Park
Hanabuki Park, Rabaul (Mashita Hiroshi)

KEITH JACKSON

Link here to the website of Japanese Naval Landing
Forces Historical Preservation Association

NOOSA – During World War II, Mashita Hiroshi served with the Imperial Japanese Navy in Rabaul, Wewak, Hollandia and other parts along the north coast of New Guinea.

With him, he carried a camera - but the photographs he took were not of war and the westward retreat of Japanese forces .

They were of the people and places he encountered along the way.

Continue reading "Images of New Guinea under the Japanese" »


Of matters malevolent - & a fiery stunt

CaptureBERNARD CORDEN

‘Scientific theory is a contrived foothold in the chaos of living phenomena’ - Wilhelm Reich

‘The most basic claims of religion are scientific. Religion is a scientific theory’ - Richard Dawkins

‘The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage’ - Mark Russell

Continue reading "Of matters malevolent - & a fiery stunt" »


The peerless, resilient Massey Ferguson

Tractor flambe
Paul Oates' Massey Ferguson after the fire

PAUL OATES

Phil Fitzpatrick recently paid tribute in these columns to the incomparable durability of the Massey Ferguson tractor.  In this piece, extracted from his memoir, ‘Phascogales and Other Tales’, former kiap Papua New Guinea kiap Paul Oates recalls his own experience with this wonderfully resilient machine. By the way, Paul's book available here from Amazon - KJ

Continue reading "The peerless, resilient Massey Ferguson" »


The pandemic in Oz: Time for a reckoning

Inside out anger sadKEITH JACKSON

This is a revised, refined and augmented version of an earlier article in PNG Attitude. It’s far from the last word on the subject of Australia’s often wayward response to Covid, and I have no reason to think my views are particularly precious, but I need to say this, harsh as it is - KJ

NOOSA - Philip Fitzpatrick, author and provocateur, recently wrote for PNG Attitude a polemical commentary entitled, A government prepared to see its people die.

This piece drilled deeply into my own feelings about what Australia is being put through at this time of Covid.

Continue reading "The pandemic in Oz: Time for a reckoning" »


It’s not the economy, it’s the Covid

DollarCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Commenting on Keith Jackson’s ‘The vandals who trashed our nation’ and other remarks on the Covid crisis, Andrew Brown wrote that “people in small business are going broke by the dozen, the number of empty shops in my local area is frightening”.

And he added, “That is real hardship for people losing everything they have and not having any hope.”

Continue reading "It’s not the economy, it’s the Covid" »