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Award-winning Bougainville author facing legal challenge


Leonard RokaBOUGAINVILLE’s award-winning writer and pre-eminent author, Leonard Fong Roka, is likely to face a court battle over a short story featured in his second collection of short stories, Moments in Bougainville published last year.

Litigation for defamation has been threatened by the family of an ex-girlfriend in Mr Roka’s home area in the Tumpusiong Valley near Panguna.

Mr Roka said that the story, Tongare Love, was a record of his time with a woman he loved and wanted to marry. But her family would not allow it and instead they began to threaten him.

“Yeah, they openly proclaimed across the Panguna District that I was a sex maniac,” Mr Roka recalled. “But I did not take them to court for defamation. They announced I was a drunkard and worthless, and still I did not take them to court.

“They threatened me at home with offensive weapons and still I did not bring them to court for trespassing and harassment. They beat and molested me in public and I ignored that.

“Thugs broke into my home and stole my property while others justified that crime as compensation for befriending their relative. But I did not take any legal action.

“Then the family and members of the church they belonged to announced I was HIV positive but still I did not take them to court.”

Mr Roka said he had to write “something to record my love for her and the reasons why I was trying my best to settle down with her.”

That’s when the girl’s clan members threatened to initiate legal action.

“On our last meeting in 2010, I received verbal consent from the girl to record our tale,” Mr Roka said, “but my mistake was not to have it recorded in black and white.”

Leonard Fong Roka, now a final year student in International Relations at Divine Word University, is the author of two books and now is finishing his third book. Brokenville, a 25 chapter autobiography of his experiences of Bougainville’s crisis years, is undergoing final editing in Australia.

A fourth book, an ethno-political exploration and mapping of the Bougainville conflict and the province’s future, is due ito be published later this year or early in 2015.

“I knew back then the world was against me,” Mr Roka says, “but I have to write. Worst, I am an introvert.”


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Henry Kupe

It's a stepping stone to move another step ahead. Heads up, looking forward to have a glance of your upcoming writing.

Simon Pentanu

Keep writing LFR. I can see another book on the horizon maybe on losing your true love and sweet dreams when family combined with religious bigotry intervene.

If she really wants you and you want each other badly, make a baby. That should shut everyone up, including her family.
Maybe go back and devote a chapter or two in 'Brokenville'.

Don't even bother about the threat of legal litigation for what you wrote. Lawyers can't kill you. The wigged and robed ones on the bench are mere mortals like you and I and can't cast a spell for you to expire.

Leonard Roka

The books are real loved

Leonard Roka

So much was said of when Ishmael Palipal went wandering in Panguna and heard all these gossip.

But giving them back a list of acts they did seem to get them unsettled since all their acts were known throughout Panguna and that relationship was too popular and was a talk of the valley.

But I am prepared to face the music and she keeps sending me phones texts that she is against the court since all is a fact.

But I am just waiting.

Phil Fitzpatrick

This is an occupational hazard that most writers encounter at some stage or another.

But remember the old saying, "any publicity is good publicity".

With a bit of luck, no matter what the outcome, you will be able to turn it to your own advantage.

I bet it leads to increased sales and interest in your book.

If that happens don't forget to thank the people involved.

Peter Comerford

Keep writing Leonard

Bernard Yegiora

Well said Corney.

Corney Korokan Alone

LFR, my brother from ARB, stand firm and be strong.
My thoughts are with you at this time of challenge.

Just because someone or some people say, they have or will take a legal challenge against you, just not make you or anyone a victim.

Legal challenges are up for interpretation and testing for their full merits by third parties/independent jurors.

Good luck with your fourth book and final year studies.

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