A Bougainvillean song to the Papuan
Her prayer

Ill intent

Lapieh Landu and her mother, SusanLAPIEH LANDU

Do you have a mother?
Do you have a daughter?
A sister or a friend maybe?
For you not to stifle?

How do your eyes meet?
Does her tears serve you remorse?
Or her fear give you heed
For your unkind scheme

Do you have a mother?
Do you have a daughter?
A sister or a friend maybe?
For you not to stifle

How your hands feel?
As you feel her tremble in angst
Does her voice sound no aversion?
For your vandalism

Do you have a mother?
Do you have a daughter?
A sister or a friend maybe?
For you not to stifle

How do you do it?
As you watch her endure
Her pain, her torment
For your uncivil indulgence

You have a mother
Who was a daughter
Who had a sister and a friend
How could you not stifle?

How would you feel?
As her dignity is violated
Her voice silenced
Her body encroached


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Michael Dom

How rude of me, Lapieh, I enjoyed the strength and clarity in this biting and brilliant poem.

Thank you for addressing in literature and provoking this discussion on the agenda of violence against women.

Michael Dom

Well written essay Albert, with strong arguments.

However, if one was to suggest that deterrence was not the agenda but 'ultimate punishment' of the offender(s)was needed. Then your reasoning may be less sound.

The "sore long mi ya boss, mi street mangi (o ples mangi) tasol ya" excuse should not deter the law - otherwise we are no longer equal under it!

The reasoning being; to 'case by case' eliminate the rotten men who think they can rape women and get away with it.

This may serve to deter 'opportunistic rape', as in taim ol mangi brukim haus long stil na same taim ol kisim sans long rapim mama na pikini meri.

David Kitchnoge

Thanks Albert – that’s a very well reasoned response.

While I agree that a majority of crimes in PNG have their roots in a deprivation of some sort, I think not all are.

For example, I am struggling to understand the motive behind crimes such as the rape of the American woman on Karkar last week.

Apart from perhaps a sexual deprivation of some sort, I fail to see what may have caused it. If the perpetrators felt economically disadvantaged, then one would have thought a simple burglary would have sufficed, not that it’s the right to do either.

Then we come to our favourite in the recent past: sorcery related killings. Although I can see the underlying problem of lack of proper health services which result in deaths which then lead to the blame game and eventual slaughter of some innocent woman, a strong deterrent is needed to protect or women from this terrible curse.

I tend to think all morally corrupt crimes which have no basis such as the Karkar rape incident should be punishable by death.

Sorcery killings must be judged on a case by case basis and some people such as those who are not immediate relatives of the deceased and, therefore, have no reason to feel aggrieved must be punished by death.

People must know that it is not funny to simply rock up and set a fellow human being on fire if you have no reason to do so.

And it is not funny to stand around and clap your hands and watch in awe as a fellow human being is outnumbered and made to meet their terrible demise.

Steve Gallagher

I think that the death penalty is good because many people took advantage of our soft laws to commit rapes, murders and other acts which are inhumane.

The death penality should be imposed on the criminals according to the nature of the crime they committed.

It is not right for the church to dictate and influence the government. The opinions and views of the citizens will determine whether to impose the death penalty or not but I think it is right to do so.

There should not be an individuals in high religious positions to influence the PNG government coz we are tired of seeing women and vulnerable people being killed by evil.

We don't need expensive and unrealistic and unachievable concepts but we do want the government to impose the death penalty. Enough is enough!

Albert Tobby

Will the death penalty stop violent crimes in Papua New Guinea?

It appears that violent crimes continue to flourish unabated in our societies today. I believe this is not recent practice, however a build up of several incidents of similar nature over a prolonged period.

People don't just wake-up one morning and decide to rape or murder someone. They've developed a perspective over a period of time that shaped their worldview and regulates their behaviour.

People's perceptions (attitudes) are shaped mainly by (1) socio-cultural environment, (2) educational upbringing (3) genetic hereditary.

However there are other supporting mechanisms that ensures that these three elements function effectively in shaping individual's behavior, such as economic incentives and social services.

Absence of other supporting mechanisms will either directly or indirectly weaken the role of the 3 elements ( there are scores of literature on this under behavioral science discipline).

Hence Bishop Young correctly posits for programs that supports young men's meaningful engagement in the economy including job creations and improving policing capacity to prevent crimes and not address crimes.

We all know that youth unemployment is high (ADB, 2012 and UNDP 2012) even globally (McKinsey, 2012). Drug abuse is rampant among the unemployed youths including secondary and high school students.

Last year there were about 17 000 grade 12 students graduating; only 4 000 gain admission into the tertiary institutions (Where are the majority, 13 000 Gr. 12 graduates?).

Transport infrastructure has deteriorated from bad to worse in many rural areas (alas some urban centers) limiting access to market and better health services.

The ratio of certified medical doctors to patients in PNG is 1: 10 000 (Global Health Foundation, 2010) and nurses to patients is 0.5: 1000 (OECD, 2012).

In 2004 the police commission reported that there are only 5, 250 regular police force, a police - to - population ration of 1: 1,121.

The structure, size and deployment of regular police force has remained unchanged since independence - completely oblivious to the growing population. These and many more....

I doubt death penalty will deter violent crime in these country if many of these underlying issues are not addressed amicably by the respective and responsible authorities and/or institutions.

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