A new collection that declares a bright future for PNG poetry
Paul Pavol, forest defender, wins US environmental award

PNG's women: strength & beauty defy the course of violence

Marlene Potoura and newspaperKEITH JACKSON

IT WAS a week in which PNG Attitude reported that the seemingly impossible was happening in Papua New Guinea. The incidence of violence against women and children was increasing.

It is a “national disgrace” PNG Attitude said. And so it is. The statistics are a condemnation of the national government’s gross failure to turn the tide of brutal criminality against the most vulnerable people in society.

Then on the same day, there was some positive news.

We drew readers’ attention to the brainchild of PNG Attitude contributor, essayist Rashmii Amoah Bell, who will edit the first collection of women’s writing to ever come out of PNG.

The anthology of 150-200 pages depicting the theme, ‘My walk to equality’, will be published next year on International Women’s Day - Wednesday 8 March.

And we've called for essays, short stories, articles, poetry and illustrations to be submitted for publication and we're encouraging the many many talented women writers in PNG to participate.

For further details about the project, go to Rashmii’s introductory article here. It's already received nearly 250 Likes.

In enthusiastically learning of Rashmii’s idea, I was reminded of the first year of the Crocodile Prize national literary contest in 2011.

With close of entries looming, it seemed PNG’s women were reluctant to get involved.

Lapieh LanduSo, at speed, I arranged for a special award for women’s writing to be included. Dame Carol Kidu kindly agreed to lend her name to this. The inaugural 2011 award was eventually won by poet, Lapieh Landu (left).

As it turned out, I need not have worried. PNG’s women were just about to deluge us with entries and, even as we announced the special prize, it was clear that there would be no shortage of contributions.

Not only were the women of Papua New Guinea ready to write, they were ready to write with great skill and creativity.

And so PNG readers for the first time were exposed to the names of some wonderful women writers: Marlene Dee Gray Potoura (top picture), Samantha Kusari, Rashmii Amoah Bell, Agnes Rita Maineke, Bessielah David, Betty Gabriel Wakia, Caroline Evari, Dominica Are, Doreen Bauloni, Emma Tunne Wakpi, Euralia Paine, Florence Jonduo, Hazel Kutkue, Julie Sugoho, Lapieh Landu, Diddie Kinamun Jackson, Charlotte Vada, Lorraine Basse, Martinez Wasuak, Pauline Riman, Roslyn Tony, Sandra Maineke, Tanya Zeriga-Alone and Wendy Dogura. There were many others.

In 2012, the second year of the Crocodile Prize, there were no less than five women winners: Charlotte Vada (short story); Emma Wakpi (essay); Lorraine Basse (heritage); Angeline Low (student); and Imelda Yabara (women’s).

Wanma_IrianiIn 2013, in which there were only three prizes on offer, Lapieh Landu won again, this time for poetry. And in 2014, Agnes Maineke (short story), Iriani Wanma (children, left) and Diddie Kinamun Jackson (poetry) were successful.

And last year, Hazel Kutkue (short story and young writers, two awards) and Joycelin Leahy (children) were winners.

With 13 women winning top awards in the five years of the Crocodile Prize so far, there has been no gender imbalance in PNG’s top literary contest.

And now Rashmii Amoah Bell’s wonderful idea of a collection of words, ideas and experiences from the women of Papua New Guinea will emphasise for people all over the world the strength, resilience, beauty and creativity of PNG's women.

In many ways, they are the saving grace of modern Papua New Guinea. This book will be a great tribute to them.


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Philip Kai Morre

Violence against women and girl - Latest Trend

Family violence or violence against women and girls is spreading very fast and we are yet to develop support services, facilities, specialist assistants at the professional level.

The method and type of assistance provided at this stage in Simbu and PNG cannot be transferred to the present situation which is so complex and we have to look at new ways and methods.

Violence against women and girls has taken new from and is a complete new dilemma that requires quick intervention program, new strategies to combat violence, new preventive measures, and trained manpower to meet this growing problems. At the moment assistance is coming at a slow pace.

There is a great need for self awareness and self management training but where can we find real specialist who can teach us skills and methods to deal with violence which has many layers.

Human scientists stressed the need for self awareness, contemplating our inner being that will enable us to explore deeper to know our hidden and unexploited gifts and energy that is yet to be cultivated.

Self knowledge is important because it will assist us to know the difference between good and bad, right or wrong, lawful or unlawful etc. Self knowledge and awareness of ourselves should increase and we must handle problems and issues one at a time.

The more we know ourselves as self knowledge and awareness increases we will handle one situation at a time, like say dealing with our emotion of anger that motivates us to create violence of all sorts and let this angry feeling flow by itself and naturally we will encounter another deeper inner conflict and surely we will encounter the deepest reality and truth of all problems.

What really goes wrong here is we do not have enough self control to regulate our sex drive and as a result a lot unwanted pregnancies especially teenagers. We need to regulate and tame our sex drive because this is a main area of concern.

Cybernetics or Media is a modern form of extreme violence that is undermining our morality especially in sex advertisement and violence in videos and CDs. Using of cause language and minor or major sex acts in videos and televisions is a form of extreme violence educating the young generation especially under age children how to act in a unacceptable behaviour.

Children imitate what they have watched and they act out and in the sequence they resort to violence to steal, sex crimes, and many more. Children are watching adult themes including pornography pictures either in mobiles, or computers or videos.

Pornography is another big area of concern as more and more youth including kids are either involved or they enjoy watching form mobile phones, computers having excess through internet there is control by censorship or media authorities to block the immoral acts and CDs.

Pornography has undermined the core of marriage and families have broken down due to pornography production by married people.

Rashmii Bell

Rob - likewise, it was a great pleasure to meet and speak with you during BWF week.

Many thanks to Phil Fitzpatrick and Pukpuk Publications for the collaboration. This is a marvellous opportunity for the women of PNG to join in on a conversation about the ways in which inequalities, in all its forms, is being experienced and document how they are contributing to narrowing the margins.

I'd be most delighted to receive submissions that convey experiences in the processes of political participation and representation in Parliament. It is the exact issue that I wrote about in my entry for the 2015 Rivers Award for Writing on Peace and Harmony.

Michael - I agree!

Daniel Kumbon

John Birmingham who has published so many books and other written things that he’s forgotten most of them, offers this advice in the conclusion of his most recent book ‘How To Be A Writer’ he published this year.

‘Human beings seek meaning in the world. It is our glory and our curse. We can do no other. And we find that meaning most often in the stories we tell about the world. Story tellers, the curators of meaning, have held a special place in all cultures through all time…

‘I can’t guarantee you success. I can’t guarantee my own success. I can only promise you that if you do this, you put yourself at the very centre of the human story because it is there and only there that the storyteller can live. Good luck.’

Rob Parer

It was so nice to meet Rashmil at the Brisbane Writer's Festival.Looking forward to her publication " My Walk to Equality " on International Woman's Day 8th March 2017.
Thanks Keith-So true your saying " Women are the saving Grace of Modern Papua New Guinea ".When will there be a turn around & the people of PNG vote more women to Parliament ?

Michael Dom

I miss the regularity of these fine writers.

They certainly have the material.

Don't hold it in - writing is catharsis not catastrophe; revelation not annihilation; liberation not domination.

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