BY KEITH JACKSON
IN TRIPOLI THIS MORNING people are being shot like dogs in the streets as they struggle for their freedoms and for fair governance.
In Kaugere recently, and I quote Lydia Kailap:
The people of the community took over and in their own unique way took on the responsibility of dealing with him. Whilst I would not encourage his son to belt the father, it was done and the community got up and chased him out of Kaugere. Now he is hiding in his house, afraid to come out.
At the end of the day, solutions need to fix the problem that exists. It is impossible to push a Western style of conflict resolution onto some PNG communities because it is simply foreign to them and ineffective. They have their own ‘ways’ to deal with thing.
This was part of a debate on PNG Attitude about means: in this case, the means of bringing under control a brutish ward councillor.
We should not lose the essence of Trevor Shelley Jr’s comments in this debate:
To the vast number of uneducated settlers, actions that deliver immediate results are a far more familiar paradigm they can relate to. The majority of our uneducated people are simple - not intellectually but through the comprehension of cause and effect. An effect that is tangible is rapidly absorbed.
I admit it is an extremely difficult task. Aspects of our ‘Melanesian Way’ are destroying us, yet Western philosophy does not entirely suit. I believe we must move away from the trend of applying Western templates to all issues organic to PNG. We must move away from solely providing concepts both you and I have learnt in the higher echelons of a Western based education system.
We must look internally and start to conceive and develop our own theoretical frameworks based upon a philosophy derived from our own culture and methods. These frameworks must then be applied and enforced to all and sundry, including those in settlements and perhaps more so to those that ply their trade in Waigani.
In New South Wales next month an incompetent and corrupt government will be put to the sword (metaphorically) by a truculent and disaffected electorate.
And this morning I learn from a contact in Port Moresby that “there's a whole lot of ‘mobilising’ going on [in PNG]; it may erupt anytime in the next couple of months”.
There is a connecting influence in these statements – and that is that a people denied and neglected have a breaking point. In a democracy, the crisis is resolved at the polls. In a dictatorship, it is resolved in the streets. Or in the officers’ mess.
It may take time, but it is resolved.
In PNG, there are two big questions that are relevant.
How soon will the breaking point be reached?
By what means will the resolution be enacted?
As the screw is turned on PNG democracy, so that breaking point draws closer. How it is enacted seems likely to define for a long time what will be the form of Trevor’s “philosophy derived from [PNG’s] own culture and methods”.