An essay on the underlying reasons for the sacking of Storyboard, and its progenitor, from The National newspaper
FOLLOWING PNG ATTITUDE’S ARTICLE of 31 March (‘The National bans two prominent writers’), this is how The National reacted in its Column 1 section. The wording was the work of both the Weekender editor and the overall editor of the paper.
OK, we admit it. Journalists (and writers) are generally egoistic people, some to the extent that they regard themselves as god’s gift to the profession. Criticise or offend and you are likely to experience first-hand a reaction akin to the saying, “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
Perhaps that explains Russell Soaba’s response when we decided to end his Storyboard column in our Weekender after some vitriolic and less eloquent emails spewed forth from the writer. The professional relationship between Soaba and the Weekender editor had descended to a personal one…..
In the first instance, for some unknown reason, he retracted his allegations the next day. The peace lasted only a while though. The mysterious fever returned and the poor man went on a venomous binge again. Rather than have such an unstable and unpleasant relationship, The National decided that the column come to an end. Of course if you ask Soaba, he will have a different story to tell as he seems to be doing so now.
[The National, Tuesday 3 April 2012]
But the underlying reasons to Soaba’s sacking still remain a mystery. What does seem to be slowly emerging to the surface is that soul searching attempt at self-redemption or hypocritical cover-up that makes the whole scenario all the more comical and profane.
This by email dated 10 May 2012 in response to the ungodly flyer that ran: check out the blogs for the underlying reasons behind Storyboard’s sacking.
What really is the matter with you?
Are you lonely, bitter, angry, sad, mentally affected, unrepentant, lost perhaps.
Why do you carry on and on and on. Like a spoilt child who wants a toy from the shop. Let it go, get over it.
Commit everything to God, pray, read your Bible, go to church, spend time re-thinking your life. Repent, recommit your life to God. It is never too late to do this while we still live and breathe.
Maybe there are things in your past which you need to put right with your children and your family, your late wife's family.
I urge you to do these now and you will find peace. God's peace that passeth all understanding. Don't look down on yourself, don't compare yourself to others and above all don't think that nobody loves you. God loves you and He is a forgiving God, He is merciful and full of grace and He loves you more than you will ever know. Seek God, He is the only one that will grant you the peace of mind that you so desperately need.
I tell you this because I have found that for myself in a number of situations in my life. Mum and I have been praying for you and for your salvation. I felt I had to share to her about this situation because this is a spiritual battle and I need Mum to stand with me in prayer.
God works in mysterious ways. He allows things to happen to save and protect His children from evil. I have found peace. I rest in the knowledge that God is in control of everything and I stand on the scripture, "The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14
Take good care of yourself. Have a pleasant evening and a wonderful weekend.
God bless you,
There are times when people who are spared the Christian principles of forgiveness simply take advantage of their moment of relief and choose rather to exercise their powers in the opposite direction.
But then who is Russell Soaba anyway that even a large organisation such as The National newspaper would take the trouble of paying so much attention to?
There will be more on this coming soon under the title, The underlying reasons to Storyboard’s sacking.
Some of these “whisperings” enable Soaba to see the whole picture clearly. What he now realises is that for the previous six years that he had known the Weekender editor he was actually being used as a guinea pig of what is academically termed as “structural violence”.
G C Spivak refers to the term as “epistemic violence” in chapter 11 of the book The Post Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues. If you look at the email cited above you will see a fine example of “epistemic violence”, especially in the manipulation of religious thought, texts and practices.
Structural or epistemic violence is often used by large companies and organisations to undermine the general intelligentsia of a group of people who might be prone to opposing their intrusive exploitation of natural resources and the environment as a whole.
Such companies or organisations can, if they consider it convenient for them, run media organizations such as what we see of The National newspaper. The employees working for such newspapers are therefore trained to use that mode of structural violence to pave the way for these large organisations, and in the process justify their existence as “a group of companies” in a given third world country.
There is something else in play here. The targets chosen by such media setups are most often key personalities in a given society. We need not cite examples here in our case.
The first email ever sent to Storyboard by the Weekender editor was a brief on the mogul who owns The National newspaper. In response to which, Storyboard remarked: “This is fantastic. They are big sharks. Problem is: will they help us promote Papua New Guinea Literature.”
From then on the nation began reading the writers’ forum. This was supported by the Storyboard column of which the Weekender editor exclaimed at one time: “I am the queen of page 4 (meaning page 4 of the Weekender) and the man that I love is the writer admired by many.”
But, we must not jeopardise our chances of employment as single parents, eh? So back to the drawing board of structural violence we all must go. So in essence, what Soaba mistook for a genuine friendship that lasted from May 2005 to February 2011 was in fact a counterfeit love affair to be followed immediately upon the hour of its own depletion as, again, a counterfeit dumping.
Those six years of structural violence consisted of confidence-trickery, libellous hate poems through the writers’ forum, seductive flattery through the manipulation of human emotions (or walking a client to towards the edge of reality), exploitation of monies to cover tuition fees -including associated expenses amounting to K15,000 from a lecturer’s meagre stipend, and the use of a writer’s status, fame and reputation to hide the sense of insecurity found in a single mother.
Now single parents in our society are a highly respected community of people. But this is one case when the dignity of such individuals has been reduced to what the Weekender editor herself described as “a toy in the shop”.
The biblical allusion to this is that your body is God’s holy temple. Why would the people at The National describe that temple as “a toy in the shop” – the sort that in academic soirees flashes about on mobile phone screens as a prized possession of “conquest” (sic)?
When the user of structural violence got what she wanted, in February 2011 she started executing the dumping exercise. This was when her daughter through the sponsorship of Storyboard successfully completed her degree in Political Science at UPNG.
What followed was a plot to make that “dumping” look authentic and justifiable in the eyes of the public. Thus, the smoke screen “love affairs” behind the scenes, in order to provoke Storyboard into committing an error that would be used as an excuse to drop him from the Weekender pages as a columnist.
All that was enough to make any man go haywire, and unto this day Soaba is proud of the retributive fact that he might have broken the Guinness Book of Records in swearing.
Virtuous men and women suddenly finding themselves in the profession of writing, refrain from publishing turd such as what you read above. But they do, at one time or another, hearken unto the musings of friends and colleagues somewhere in the medical profession: Illegitimi non carborundum!
At the Waigani campus both students and staff are quietly whispering if it was some unforeseen ménage a trois collision course on her part (sic) and related activity (sic) that had finally forced the Weekender editor to sack Storyboard.