Guns and Viagra at the Wutung border
New evidence of eco-damage from nickel mine

The Panguna Mine

BY SIMON GARANA

Panguna mineNo one knew for years
But history can tell in advance
There was gold and copper at Panguna
Multiplied with millions of copper ore deposit
All over the Emperor Ranges.

Copper copper and gold in every edge of rocks
So precious and valuable you are
Never say you are worthless
For the entire world depend on you
For their economy and development.

But how can one see your precious image
When you are hiding seven hundred feet under
Where it is impossible to dig you out
Only when there is monster equipment.

And here they come with a white tag
Conzinc Rio Tinto of Australia
With a team of technical experts and labour
Building camps and fire everywhere
Ready to overthrow the secrets of Panguna.

Never say the team can’t make it
For within days the Java River and sister rivers
All turned dark brown from natural white
For the fish and eels disappearing
And the trees standing naked
While the plants are gone for good.

And no more happiness for the landowner
For she comes home empty handed
And he comes with anger and frustration
For heaven’s sake everything is gone
With the use of poisonous chemicals
They cannot bear the hardship no more.

Bougainville rebel looks down on the mineStanding over the Guava Hill
Overlooking the huge Panguna Mine
Francis Ona the true landowner
He sees Panguna disappearing fast
Then says no word
And takes up arms to shoot and kill.

No more days of dreaming
Total darkness over Loloho Arawa Panguna
Power pylons lay on the ground
Soon the mining town running empty
For their safety was critical.

Hiding in thick jungle of Panguna
Never say Joseph Kabui is a fighter
For he is a peacemaker
Who fought for peace on Bougainville.

Gone are the BCL regimes
Today ABG is negotiating
For a better deal
For the landowners to enjoy the benefits
With Bougainville as a whole.

Simon Garana (59) was born at Lemankoa on Buka in Bougainville.  He is a former Chief Executive Officer of the Division of Information, Culture and Tourism with the Bougainville Administration.  He is now retired

Comments

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Leonard Roka

Tampara! I love this poetic story of our island.

Mrs Barbara Short

Congratulations on trying to sum up the whole Bougainville story in a poem.
I'm no expert on poetry but I enjoy reading poetry and often find that by its clever use of words, it explains things very succinctly.

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