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Grand Chief Somare visits students wounded in UPNG shootings

Sir Michael & Lady Veronica visit shooting victimsPost Office Box & PNG Facts

MY utmost respect for Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare, the founding father of Papua New Guinea.

Isn’t it ironic that in the twilight of his political career, bloodshed is seen to be lurking on our front and back doors?

This is the nation he built without any guns fired or blood shed. He gathered 1,000 tribes together and held these fragmented societies miraculously up to and after independence.

For 40 long years he heard every cry from the four corners of PNG loud and clear. Alas he never kept the towns in East and West Sepik close to his heart and their present condition is a testimony of his national agenda.

It breaks the heart of many people too see our father humble himself by making a solo pilgrimage to Port Moresby General Hospital to pay his respects to a new generation of national heroes; those who will not budge in what they believe in.

The new breed of national heroes are ones who are ever ready to die whilst clasping the PNG colours in their blood stained hands.

The students may have lost this fight because of heavy handed tactics on the part of the national government to deploy armed police personal against unarmed students. The war, the one major battle to dethrone Peter O’Neill is still raging on.

The use of guns to curb dissent in PNG is the new trend by the current regime.

Somare’s visit signifies the changing of the guard. The old is making way for the new.

From PNG Facts

MEETING and shaking the hand of the founding father of Papua New Guinea at one stage in life is a privilege for many young Papua New Guineans, but for young UPNG student Madmax Rex at his hospital bed, it was an emotional moment when Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare paid him a visit at the Port Moresby General Hospital.

Madmax is currently in a stable condition but he has to heal from the bullet wound sustained from the police shootout last Wednesday at the University of Papua New Guinea.

He is a third year student studying Earth Science and does the media works for the UPNG Students Representative Council and was filming on the day of the shootout.

The bullet which hospitalised him passed through from the back right side of his chest and exited his front right chest.

He is currently suffering lung and chest injuries from the wound but he managed a smile after shedding tears as the Grand Chief and Lady Veronica visited him.

When classes at the university resume tomorrow as decided by the university council, Madmax with another UPNG student Steven Lucas, who is still in a coma and who still has a bullet in his head, will both still be in the hospital.

Meanwhile the Grand Chief assures the students that he will take their grievances to the university council today.


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John K Kamasua

What happened to the students at the hands of the police was totally unacceptable, and was an act of cowardice. Our police have never been trained to control crowds, and are poorly resourced without the right resources to do so.

In addition poor judgement by police in treating a situation if it warrants a reasonable use of deterrent force or not!

Their only tool has been the gun. Many policeman have abused this privilege to carry a gun.

The students were never armed with weapons, or posed a threat to public peace and safety.

Many students are traumatised, confused, and need trauma counseling and will require time to recover; some more than others.

There will need to be some sort of reconciliation between the students and the UPNG administration, while time is given to those students still in the hospital to recover.

Very trying times. The majority of students who are genuine to return to classes will do so once there is some form of reconciliation...that is the general feeling among the student body here.

We are encouraging students to return to classes, and for some who need counseling and support to be referred to the right sources of help. There is some communication between UPNG Admin and the student leaders which is encouraging.

Students have sacrificed their study times, and almost the lives of some of their colleagues to bring across the general feeling among the people.

What happened on that day must never be forgotten for the wrong reasons.

Raymond Sigimet

Despite everything, Sir Michael was the first active politician to show compassion and visit these wounded students. These students fought for something and that's the bottom line. And that in itself speaks a lot. His and Lady Veronica's visit were also in their capacity as a private citizens and there is nothing sinister in that. Thank you Sir Michael for showing our young people what a leader is and the land of a thousand tribes. May God bless your hearts.

Mathias Kin

He mentored them in the kitchen - thus the kitchen cabinet. Na mi ting lapun ya trutru sore na igo long hausik long lukim ol tumbuna blong em.

He has been one of the biggest voices against O'Neill so he went there to show his compassion and also where his support is. I seriously think he has no other sinister plot.

Corney Korokan Alone

The "illusive allure of personality cultism" has been observed to obscure clear thinking and meaning. I am not a willing customer in that crowded camp, sorry.

It pays to read in between the lines

Philip Fitzpatrick

I'm not sure mentor would be the right word for those guys - more like he colluded with them. From rumours I hear they are a pretty ratty group.

What I was thinking was that Sir Michael, since he is too old to take on the prime minister's role again, might like to put his past sins aside and try to cultivate some new, honest leaders. It would be a fitting end to a long career.

He knows where all the skeletons are hidden and he knows all the dirty tricks. His advice could be very valuable to a band of idealistic young aspirants.

Johnny Blades

Phil, didn't Sir Michael already mentor some of the leaders you allude to?

Polye, Pruaitch, Marape, Temu and others were all in Somare's party at one point and with the likes of PO, Namah, Duma, part of his cabinet. They all seemed capable, presumably.

Marcus Mapen

No Kela, I disagree. This old man has integrity (a lot of it too). The other has zero.

Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin

Is this the same guy that gagged parliamentary debates and vote of no confidence with elusive and evasive tactics with his disciple Nape?

O'Neill equates to this old man.

What you saw is a mere political gimmick, don't fall for it.

Lindsay F Bond

PNG people will think kindly on an aged leader who demonstrates decency of compassion by visitation of the physically injured. Pictures of the event will convey the moment of empathy to a population seeking some resolution.
PNG people will think kindly on a christian denomination which offers to act as intermediary between PNG governance (ruling party?) and a cohort that is reactive and intellectually agile. Words in news reporting will convey to a population hope also by moments of intercession.
PNG people may be thankful for both sources (individual and collective) and the many more who will emerge. Yet for the sake of being an independent state (nation) PNG people will need to find and adhere to leadership that best fits the national need for facing future (and thus uncertain) prospects.

Philip Fitzpatrick

It is commendable that Sir Michael Somare has visited the wounded students but it is difficult not to think there might be an alternative motive at play.

That sounds terrible but I think it is a fact of life in PNG that politicians manipulate even the most dire situations to their advantage.

I hope I am wrong and I hope Corney is wrong.

What is also concerning is the current maneuvering among aspirants to the prime ministership and government in case O'Neill gets knocked off. All of them seem to be people who have had their try in the past and who have demonstrated either incompetence, corruption or both.

What PNG politics needs is fresh new candidates with high standards of propriety and who are untainted by the past.

Except for a couple of notable exceptions PNG needs to get rid of all of them in 2017.

The role of people like Sir Michael Somare should be confined to mentoring such people.

Corney Korokan Alone

Somare's trip to the hospital rhymes with duplicity and insult.

It doesn't wash with reasoning people of Papua New Guinea and elsewhere.

I reference this quote from Gabriel Ramoi in 'PNG Attitude' Recent Comments on 30 May - "I am informed that Sir Michael was urged by conspirators to come out of retirement at his 80th birthday celebrations in Wewak to put his name up as the alternative prime minister.

"Sir Mekere, Sir Arnold Amet and Kerenga Kua were in Wewak during this period where the plot was hatched.

"It explained the sequence of events that has since unfolded with each of the conspirators asking for the resignation of the prime minister.

"First by using sections of the Police and the Judiciary and, when that failed, they then turned to the unsuspecting students at the university to do their dirty job.

"I know of this events because I was there. I was present at a private lunch at the Boutique Hotel in Wewak on the day after the celebrations and was pleasantly surprised when Sir Michael requested permission from the leader of his party to allow him to put up his hand one more time."

Jacob Kitnem

I shed tears. It is indeed a very emotional read.

Daniel Kumbon

'It is a wise father who knows his own child' - William Shakespeare.

May 'Grand Chief' live to be 100.

Paul Oates

I admit to casting some previous aspersions at the Somare family. I do say however, that this action by Sir Michael, notwithstanding that it clearly could have some political overtones and possible advantages, shows more leadership and humanity than any other PNG government politicians have shown so far.

The fact that the PM didn't emerge from his metaphorical bunker and at least personally say sorry and apologize to those who have been injured is very un PNG like.

Both the PM and the Police Commissioner need to personally say sorry at the very least, for what has happened. Not to do so only encourages further and continuing retribution and possibly a traditional PNG response.

Mathias Kin

Grand Chief, I hope you will read this. You still remain the heart and soul of PNG.

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