What we ate thousands of years ago
Mercy Works Goroka deals with Covid-19

Masters & slaves, 21st century style

Black Lives Matter protest in front of the White House in Washington DC
Black Lives Matter protest in front of the White House in Washington DC


TUMBY BAY - The United States of America was the largest and most successful economic nation in the world by the time World War II began.

There is compelling evidence to suggest that this success was built on the back of slavery.

During the middle of the 1800s, cotton became the world’s largest commodity. The cheapest and best cotton came from the southern United States.

More than half of the nation’s exports in the first six decades of the 19th century consisted of raw cotton, almost all of it grown by slaves in places like Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi.

The slave economy of the southern states had ripple effects throughout the entire US economy, with plenty of merchants in the north helping to organise the trade of slave-grown agricultural commodities.

Financing cotton growing, as well as marketing and transporting the crop, was a source of great wealth for the nation’s merchants and banks.

That wealth kicked off the industrialisation of America and the beginning of its rise to superpower status.

In other parts of the world similar moves were afoot to exploit black labour through colonialism. Those Western nations with colonies exploited the labour and the resources of their colonies.

In Papua New Guinea the planters exploited the land and the people they used as labour. The early indentured labour schemes were nothing more than benign forms of slavery.

In Australia a highly successful pastoral industry was built on the backs of poorly paid Aboriginal stockmen, who often just worked for rations.

In Queensland the sugar cane fields were worked by Pacific islanders who had often been captured by ‘blackbirders’ and brought to work the cane against their will and for little remuneration.

Slavery in the USA ended with the American Civil War of 1861-65. That war was fought for both humanitarian and economic reasons.

Black Lives matter protest in Sydney
Black Lives matter protest in Sydney

The master-slave relationship that was central in all these cases of exploitation didn’t end with the American civil war.

It didn’t finish with the abolition of slavery.

Nor did it disappear with the end of colonialism in places like Africa and the Pacific.

Instead it transformed itself into a new relationship characterised by wage labour.

Wealth was now built on the backs of poorly paid workers rather than slaves.

Unsurprisingly many of those workers, particularly in the USA, were poor black people, immigrants from Latin America and down at heel whites.

In a new form, the master-slave relationship was just as dominant as it was in the early nineteenth century, and it still persists today.

The particularly savage form of capitalism practised in the USA and other places today requires a compliant, cowed and, most of all, cheap source of labour that the descendants of slavery, colonialism and immigration largely represent.

The social dichotomy that this exploitative relationship maintains is now the driving force behind racism.

It is the driving force behind the rhetoric that creatures like Donald Trump preach and the policies they invoke.

It is the driving force that is now being resisted by movements like Black Lives Matter and the current unrest in the USA and elsewhere which is seeing tens of thousands of people - black and white - protesting around the world.

To people like Trump and his cronies, racism is an integral part of their economic and political model.

To that end they employ large and military-style police forces to maintain that schism and their control.

The job of the police is to keep the restless natives under control by any means possible so the wealthy can get on with exploiting them and making money.

It is a master-slave relationship writ large for the 21st century, just as it was in the 19th century.

Black Lives Matter is a direct threat to the wealth of people like Donald Trump and it is clear he will do everything in his power to keep it suppressed, including sending in troops and waving bibles in front of churches for a photo opportunity.

Black Lives Matter protest in Paris
Black Lives Matter protest in Paris

The current unrest in the United States is about much more than just police brutality, savage and inhumane though it is.

It is about wealth and keeping it in the hands of a small, wealthy and unscrupulous elite.

But now the slaves are taking on the masters in a fight for equity and equality. And they are being joined by all people for whom racism is anathema.

Who wins is anyone’s guess. But there is a moral imperative in the disruption we see today in the world’s strongest nation and in many other countries.


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Arthur Williams

Further to my previous posts. I got this email news yesterday: "June 9th Jihadists kill 58 people within 48 hours in attacks in Burkina Faso. No mention in mainstream media or by campaigners for 'Black Lives Matter".

In his eloquent testimony today before a televised Congressional Committee George Floyd's brother said all over the world people want change. If only!

Also read:

2017/07/07 in Bristol Post reported Clr Cleo Lake had been in Trinidad helping its 'Cross Rhodes Freedom Project' that hopes to remove the Columbus statue there. The Colston Primary School in her ward is considering changing its name.

2013/2/24 Independent article informing of the possibly 46,000 people who got their share of the £16 (£20?) billion, in today's money, British Compensation Fund in 1834. Some interesting public figures.

1718 'The original Collegiate School moved to New Haven and was renamed YALE College in recognition of a gift from British East India Company Governor Elihu Yale he was onetime President of the East India Company. He made a fortune in the slave trade from Madras (Wikipedia)

Often people blogging to media articles are more informative or interesting than the original story. Today one asked a searching question about the importance of antecedents.

'We are told by protesters and their supporters, “It doesn't matter about George's past criminal record. Don't you know he had changed from his criminal ways? (Conveniently ignoring allegedly being arrested on the day of his death for passing a dud $20 note.)

Yet said the blogger: 'Protesters can pull down statues of men with slave history though in later life they too may have changed.”

I wonder if perhaps we in the UK should destroy remaining symbols of conquest and colonialism for over 300 years by the Romans; mayhem looting and kidnapping by Vikings; Normans and other French monarchs; perhaps even by the Hanoverians from 1714 later becoming Saxe-Coburg Gotha which was only to be politically correctly changed to Windsor in 1917 after perhaps half a million British & Commonwealth soldiers had been killed.

Michael Dom

Thank you for your frankness, Phil. This does not touch my process.

The current nonsense will fade away. Next year there will be another 'cause for the righteous'.

I refuse to embrace racism as an answer to our real challenges.

There are assholes in the world and I'll meet them, one by one or all at the same time.

I'm an old school rock n roll lover and recall one of the most profound responses I heard Keith Richards give when he was asked about the skull and crossbones symbology he wore.

Something like 'under all this, all of our bones are white'.

Yeah, an excellent 'racist' response.

I live it.

Arthur Williams

Michael mentioned "the innocence of the kindergarten."

In teachers' college 50 years ago we had a slot in the the timetable for Philosophy of Education. Not then knowing that my career would take me to live over 30 years in a black nation, somehow I crazily remember one little obiter dictum of our lecturer.

Mummy to little Billy: “Billy I saw you talking with your friend. Do you know he's black.”

Billy: “Oh is he? I'll have a look tomorrow!”

Philip Fitzpatrick

I think it does.

As soon as you open your mouth to talk about racism you establish that dichotomy.

Makes sensible debate difficult.

Michael Dom

Thanks for the Guardian article, Phil.

Perhaps someone can explain to me how at the start, "Hawke must realise that he represents Australia to a region of largely black and brown Indigenous peoples", but a few paragraphs down, "Black consciousness is necessary because we are 'othered' as a collective, not just as individuals".

Does that mean that we must define and be conscious of our 'blackness' or 'browness' in comparison and contrast to others 'whiteness'?

"And mirror-me smirked back through / The thin looking-glass veneer".

Philip Fitzpatrick

Commenting on a criticism of the Black Lives Matter protests in Australia by Pacific Affairs Minister Alex Hawke, Watna Mori, a Papua New Guinean lawyer and political analyst based in Sydney, writes in Guardian Australia, “Surely Alex Hawke must realise that he represents Australia to a region of largely black and brown Indigenous peoples.

“Minister Hawke, in case you are not clear what protests in solidarity with African Americans in the US and Indigenous Australians have to do with the Pacific, let me explain.

"Systemic racial discrimination is a worldwide problem that black people have combated since slavery and colonisation. And in that battle, every step taken by one of us, towards equality, is a step taken by all of us and has always been.

"Figures like Patrice Lumumba fought against colonialism in the Congo so countries like mine, Papua New Guinea, would have a less violent road to independence.

"The civil rights movement in the US and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, not only asserted equal rights for black people but created a black consciousness the world over that empowered black people under oppressive systems to rise up for their rights, for equality.

"Black consciousness is necessary for black people to survive within a system we were never meant to be an equal beneficiary of.

"Black consciousness is necessary for us to change that system. Black consciousness is necessary because we are 'othered' as a collective, not just as individuals.

"When African Americans protest a system that is prejudiced against them, Indigenous Australians know that struggle, indigenous West Papuans know that struggle, Kanaks know that struggle, my grandparents who lived under Australian colonisation know that struggle and black bodies who continue to exist in white spaces know that struggle – black bodies like those from the Pacific.

"When Australia’s rhetoric towards the Pacific is that of being a 'family', we expect you to better understand our people and the inequalities a system that privileges you causes us.

"We expect you to respect our right to exist. We expect you to agree that, in 2020, it’s outrageous that black people have to tell everyone and especially white people, that black lives matter.

"If you are serious about treating us as family, then acknowledge our concerns.

"Acknowledge that we in the Pacific are concerned by Australia’s treatment of Indigenous Australians, we are concerned about the 437 Indigenous deaths in custody since 1991, we are concerned that Australia does not speak out about the grave human rights abuses in West Papua, we are concerned that Australia sees fit to place asylum seekers in Nauru and Manus Island without consideration of the long-term impact, we are concerned that Australia does not take climate change – which scientists predict will hit Australia’s Pacific neighbours first and hardest – seriously, we are concerned that Australia does not believe that black lives matter.”

Lindsay F Bond

Chris, there are some who might rise and, though acknowledging wretchedness (of human predicament if not individual), nonetheless strive by utterance and utility.

Chris Overland

Arthur has done this conversation a service by pointing to the historic context for slavery.

As is usual in history, there is no clear, simple narrative that explains everything, just a rather murky collection of facts, none of which is necessarily easily understood outside of its own particular context.

Because so many people today (including me) have an imperfect understanding of our own history, we frequently fall into the trap of viewing contemporary events through the prism of our own limited knowledge or prejudices.

This almost invariably leads to a simplistic or sometimes just plain erroneous understanding of the world.

This is certainly the case in relation to the history of race relations in the world which, all too often, now are only understood as being a function of white Caucasians being the sole or major source of racial tensions or discriminatory behaviour.

This is, as Michael Dom might say, a false narrative but it serves many political purposes to busily perpetuate it despite much evidence to the contrary.

At least one Aboriginal activist has argued that the exclusive focus on the actual or perceived sins of white Caucasians, both in the past and the present, excuses Aboriginal people from the need to confront how and why their own cultural beliefs and behaviours have materially contributed to their difficulties in adapting to the modern world.

She argues that if Aboriginal activists demand that white Caucasians acknowledge how their own cultural beliefs, attitudes and behaviours contribute towards discrimination against Aboriginal people then they should logically demand the same thing of themselves.

Of course, it is tricky to run this argument in the face of appalling acts such as that which killed George Floyd and many others like him.

Angry people are not prone to introspection.

A notable feature of the Black Lives Matter protests is that there is an absence of much in the way of realistic or practical ideas about what can be done to change the situation.

Worse still, there presently is no figure of the stature of Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela or Abraham Lincoln to provide both moral and political leadership.

Consequently, neither the inchoate rage nor the honest good intentions of protesters seem likely to lead anywhere, although I'd be delighted to be proved wrong.

Michael Dom

Lindsay - I heard a wise man once say "pick up your own damn cross and carry it, then at least you can say that even as wretched a person as I am at least I could do that; and so...yes".

Phil, it's much more fun to disagree, and edifying.

Lindsay F Bond

Michael - "Your highest and best moral and intellectual ideals" is an ascent on a traverse above the plain.

Yet, for ruminating en route, there might arise discussion of upon whose shoulders it is intrinsic of the load to be borne.

Lindsay F Bond

Appreciate your comment, Chris, enough to add a bit.

Winning approval of some by exclusion of others is the essence of discrimination.

The collective may themselves seek as their right (as it is said these days) to weaponise the word, rather like returning the grenade or expletive larger than a retort.

Agreed, the rise of Nazism in Germany should be more widely understood. Also, for when each of us begins to be uncomfortable with a stance or motion in a direction we earlier earnestly thought worthy, there is scope for learning the psychology of appraisal and adaptation for situations, so to vector from that rising ill feeling and toward a wholesomeness, even to taking steps in that belated re-visioning of way.

All of which is to say, some folk find difficult the turning from a path, or to accept amends might be requisite.

And Michael, I appreciate reference to the laze of cognitive effort, at
Propitious haze"

Michael Dom

The BBC, now a left wing media outlet, tweeted on a news report on 7 June that 27 police officers were injured during a largely peaceful protest in London.

Keep in mind that these protests around the world are occurring during the Covid-19 lockdowns but nevertheless are being praised for their higher moral justification.

If, on the other hand, you protest to go back to work you will be demonised and told that you 'threaten the sanctity of human life by trying to go back to work'.

Read left to right or right to left.

Form your own opinion.

Don't be afraid of words thrown around like 'climate change skepticism'.

Skepticism is a hallmark of the scientific method of inquiry.

Maintaining a healthy skepticism is a means of combating false narrative.

For example, why should we not question the validity of the BBC report? 27 police officers get injured during a "peaceful protest".

27 police officers injured = peaceful protest


Philip Fitzpatrick

In an earlier comment I said, "Even as an old leftie I still harbour a discriminatory attitude to some racially different groups. It's buried deep in my psyche but sometimes surfaces. It's an effort to suppress it sometimes."

The survey reported below supports that contention.


As an aside, I don't really think of myself as left wing as Michael claims. Like a lot of people I'm a mix of different ideas, some of which are difficult to categorise.

I also think that Michael is claiming to be right wing to be provocative. We probably have a lot more in common than either of us realises.

Michael Dom

I missed the offhand remark about original sin and cannot let it go unattended.

Sin is to be in opposition to the will and laws of God.

If you don't like the idea of God think of it as the ultimate representation of your all your highest and best moral and intellectual ideals.

Sin is falling short of that ideal.

That is not so far fetched an idea.

Like not harboring a racist thought ever. Yeah, right, I believe you.

Original sin then refers to what you already struggle with, our inherent human capacity to be discriminatory and potentially (often in fact) harbor racist sentiment, and act it out.

The innocence of kindergarten kids (and all small amammals) is that they have not been confronted with the terrible darkness of our human existence and neither have they been exposed to all our most brilliant light.

We should choose to nurture children into their brightest light until they are grown and experienced enough, in their own way, to confront their own darkness.

I utterly despise any ideology which proposes otherwise.

Michael Dom

Opim ai na lukim gut.


The video clip Michael shares is from The Daily Wire which lets us know that “the mainstream media does NOT want you to see this...” The Daily Wire is an American right-wing news and opinion website and PNG Attitude readers should be wary of its content.

The definitive fact checking resource Snopes says of The Daily Wire, "DailyWire.com has a tendency to share stories that are taken out of context or not verified."

The Daily Wire has published articles expressing skepticism that climate change is occurring and that humans contribute to climate change. Climate scientists have described the articles as being inaccurate and misleading.

The investigative website Popular Information accused The Daily Wire in October 2019 of violating Facebook's policies by creating 14 anonymous pages promoting its content exclusively to boost engagement.


I urge readers to check the reliability of sources before using them to bolster their arguments - KJ

Arthur Williams

In Bristol yesterday protesters pulled down the statue of Colston a 18th century slaver. His statue had stood near the City Docks for nearly 150 years.

Colston became Councillor, Mayor and philanthropist and has buildings named after him as well as streets.

The police allowed the mob to pull it down and then trundle it for nearly a kilometre to throw it into the dock where his ships had sailed.

Lots of footage and all sort opinions have ensued of the pros and cons of getting rid of such statues like the University in S.Africa did with poor old Gandhi recently.

Protester supporters were telling us about the institutionalised racism within the UK etc. Oh the irony lost on the rabble. Onto the TV program pops up the sad mayor of Bristol. Yeh man! He is a dinky die Jamaican mixed race person who had got to the top of the local political tree in the UK’s eigth largest city. Loved it.

Many non-whites have suggested than whitey in the UK has a huge advantage. It’s worth their checking out the government report entitled ‘Average Attainment-8’ at www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/...

Sobering figures on ethnicity and achievement in the main eight GCSE. The average attainment for White kids is 31.65 for Black kids 38.9%.

For poor Black kids having school meals (ie impoverished home backgrounds) attainment is 38.9% For similarly poor White kids 31.6%.

I believe part of the hysteria over the terrible death by officialdom of George Floyd is being pushed by anti-Trump media. There is no prize for guessing who could be pushing that agenda in election year.

You may hear him speaking at Floyd's memorial service. Sure as hell it ain’t the Russians - what again? Oh no it's the Chinese from the year of the rat!

The race card is a clever divisive card to play when the cause is the deliberate policy of governments not to provide adequate housing in London and all the UK's cities and towns; together with the demise of manufacturing and industry in the UK in favour of financial services so there are less good paid job opportunities coupled with too many minimum wage jobs.

All these are likely to be some of the socio-economic factors that have contributed to many of the extra Covid-19 deaths of ethnic minorities and likely exacerbated by the weeks of protest crowds not socially distancing.

After Great Britain had outlawed the slave trade in its colonies women and kids as young as 6 were working in the coal mines of the UK. In winter they went to work in the dark and came home in the dark after 12 hours shifts.

Even after the Mines Act of 1842 forbidding women to work underground many thousands are said to have continued to do. It was still legal to employ kids over age 10 too. After all why did such kids need education?

Agricultural labour in 1853 were being paid less than 10 shillings a week and even by the start of WW1 Were getting less than a pound a week. In the early 19th century at the height of the slave trade British soldiers fighting Napoleon were getting 2p a day.

Those working poor were certainly not growing fat on the Black slave trade. The class war is no respecter of skin colouring. No protestor should lose sight of that.

Daily I get emails about persecution. Many are about the terrible slaughters that have been ongoing for too many decades post-independence when Black men became responsible for their own destinies. Nobody seems to have cared a damn about what has plagued the successor nations to the once Belgian Congo. One estimate put the death toll at over 5 million and perhaps 2 million children are starving even now. “Poro why don’t the protestors march for them?”

The common narrative of protesters over the years is of the UK-Guinea-Plantations trade triangle that people like Colston used to become a very rich man. Factual 18th century story but many today relating that terrible trade to us unwashed generally neglect to tell us slavery was endemic in northern Africa before the first whitey ever set foot on the continent, long before the USA was born.
The BBC at www.bbc.co.uk.worldservice The Story of Africa. Well worth reading.

Three quotes:

‘In the early 18th century, Kings of Dahomey (known today as Benin) became big players in the slave trade, waging a bitter war on their neighbours, resulting in the capture of 10,000, including another important slave trader, the King Tegbesu of Whydah made £250,000 a year selling people into slavery in 1750.

King Gezo said in the 1840s he would do anything the British wanted him to do apart from giving up slave trade: "The slave trade is the ruling principle of my people. It is the source and the glory of their wealth... the mother lulls the child to sleep with notes of triumph over an enemy reduced to slavery.’

In 1807, Britain declared all slave trading illegal. The king of Bonny (in what is now the Nigerian delta) was dismayed at the conclusion of the practice. "We think this trade must go on. That is the verdict of our oracle and the priests. They say that your country, however great, can never stop a trade ordained by God himself."

I think many of the well intentioned protesters believe that the aircraft carrier Ark Royal and accompanying navy vessels turned up carrying thousands of troops who would carve out hundreds of miles of roads into the heart of the disease ridden swamps of the major rivers of the Niger River catchment killing anyone who resisted them taking tens of thousands of healthy mostly young villagers away back down the track to the dreaded ‘Dead Man’s Coast’.

The Army Service Corp would provide ration stores along the trails to feeds all these thousands of detainees. No the trade was aided and abetted by local elites who enhanced their wealth and extended their power by ridding their fiefdoms of those possible contenders from other clans or tribes.

Eventually Chiefs saw what a money maker it was and were happy to kidnap anyone and get them down the river to the slave forts for transport by ships to the Americas. By doing so they provoked tensions with the more ancient Arab based slave trade that moved this degrading human commodity overland to the east African coast. Even today Niger is said to have around 8-10% of slaves despite finally succumbing to pressure by outlawing slavery only in 2003.

I am supposed to suppress any knowledge of history of slavery and instead join the hysteria generated by social media among the poorly educated who are led by their noses to join anarchists and rent-a-mobs who pervert the democratic right of protest with their hope of riotous behaviour and camp followers who can turn to their advantage in wrecking and looting retail stores.

Sadly this morning on an ITV chat show a female Church leader in Minneapolis described the terrible problem her community is having providing basic food and perhaps more importantly medicines as the city's mobs had ransacked pharmacies as well as the food stores. Not normally mentioned in our news bulletins

In recent days I have tried to tell my family and others:
Since January 2020 107 Black Christians were killed in
63 attacks on Black Kajuru communities. 49 Black people were injured. At least 66 Black men, Black women and Black girls kidnapped. 111 houses of Black families were burnt. The raids have destroyed 32 Black villages. Displacing 20,000 Black people. All this happened in Nigeria so nobody cares!

Slavery is still going on today. We even had a case two years ago on a farm on the outskirts of Cardiff – mind that was white on white.

I wonder if there were Nigerians, Niger, Sudanese, Mauritanians, Indians, Pakistani citizens protesting yesterday.

More people are enslaved today than at any other time in history. Experts have calculated that roughly 13 million people were captured and sold as slaves between the 15th and 19th centuries. Today, an estimated 40.3 million people – more than three times the figure during the transatlantic slave trade – are living in some form of modern slavery, according to the latest figures published by the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation.

Daily Telegraph May 4th: Zohra Shah an 8yera old maid opened the cage to feed the birds on Sunday, only for the parrots to fly away. Her enraged employers at the home in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad are accused of beating her unconscious before dumping her at a nearby hospital. She died of her injuries. A preliminary police case said Zohra had been alive when taken to the hospital with injuries to her face, hands, abdomen and legs.

Chris Overland

Racism originates from one of the most deep seated aspects of all human cultures, which is an almost instinctive “fear of the other”.

I have written previously about this phenomenon and why it made sense in the distant past and, in relation to Papua New Guinea, the not so recent past.

This aspect of human cultures is not restricted to white Caucasians. There are innumerable examples from other cultures as well, many of which persist today.

There is not a shred of scientific evidence that a person’s skin colour has any material bearing upon their intellect or character.

DNA studies reveal that skin colour is amongst the most trivial of variations in human beings, being simply an adaption to differing climatic conditions.

The persistence of racist beliefs reflects the unpleasant fact that a large number of human beings are insensitive, ignorant and rather stupid about this specific issue and many others besides.

This helps explain why Adolph Hitler and his criminal cronies could win 44% of the vote in the 1932 elections in Germany, with the population then doggedly following their Fuhrer to catastrophe even when the true nature of Nazism was evident.

In a similar way, a distressingly large minority of Americans feel so threatened by their coloured fellow citizens that they will throw their support behind a narcissistic sociopath who is devoid of insight, empathy or much in the way of intelligence.

Racism is what might be called a “wicked problem”, in that there seem to be no immediately effective ways to counteract it beyond endlessly repeating that it has no basis in fact and invariably leads to great injustice and suffering.

Some academics believe that the incidence of what might be called “pure” racism has diminished markedly, at least in the democratic world.

The recent enormous popular support across the world for the Black Lives Matter movement is fairly clear evidence that this is indeed the case.

On that basis, it is reasonable to conclude that we probably now have an irreducible minimum number of hard core racists in our midst.

In Australia, I would suggest that the proportion of the population who fit this category is no larger than around 5%.

I say this because as long ago as 1967 some 91% of eligible voters cast their votes in favour of removing blatantly discriminatory laws that reduced Aboriginal people to the status of non-citizens.

Unhappily, a much larger proportion of the population are in the category I mentioned earlier, being insensitive, ignorant and stupid. They can be easily deluded into supporting actions and behaviours that are racist in nature without even comprehending that this is the case.

For example, the persistent large scale abuse of Aboriginal footballer Adam Goode in the latter stage of his career was carried out by people who, when asked, declared that they were not being racist but merely expressing disapproval of how he played the game.

Only later did it dawn upon some of these retards that their actions were being understood by Aboriginal people as racist even if they didn’t share that understanding.

I agree with Michael Dom that the starting point for eradicating these baseless and harmful ideas lies in personal insight followed by moral action.

As I am sure Michael knows, this is much harder to achieve in practice than in theory. Entrenched ideas about the world die very, very hard indeed.

This being the case, our political class must resign themselves to the very long term task of, firstly, suppressing racist behaviour wherever it occurs and, secondly, striving to change attitudes about race. The latter task is much harder than the former.

In the case of policing in the USA, this must include relentlessly training police officers to understand the socio-economic contexts within which they are working, as well as seriously attempting to reduce their apparent reliance upon heavy handed and even lethal force as all too graphically displayed in the case of George Floyd.

The number of deaths in police custody in the USA is twice as high as that in Australia and 6 times higher than in the UK.

As Phil has indicated, there is an underlying issue at work here, being the exploitative and deeply unfair nature of American capitalism.

Until that it dealt with, I suspect that there will be little other worthwhile change to the current situation of non-white people in the USA.

Philip Kai Morre

Ancient Greek philosopher, Diogenes, was captured by pirates and about to be sold to a master for quick bucks.

Diogenes made his own choice, "Sell me to this man, he needs a master," he said.

He also mentioned that the greatest thing to gain freedom is the "freedom of speech".

Michael Dom

Poem of the day from Poetry Foundation today was the birthday anniversary of Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) first Black poet to win a Pulitzer.

"I know that the Black emphasis must not be against white but FOR Black..."

Her background story is worth a read (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/gwendolyn-brooks?mc_cid=9d63f5d17d&mc_eid=e8402771f5#tab-poems).



And if sun comes
How shall we greet him?
Shall we not dread him,
Shall we not fear him
After so lengthy a
Session with shade?

Though we have wept for him,
Though we have prayed
All through the night-years—
What if we wake one shimmering morning to
Hear the fierce hammering
Of his firm knuckles
Hard on the door?

Shall we not shudder?—
Shall we not flee
Into the shelter, the dear thick shelter
Of the familiar
Propitious haze?

Sweet is it, sweet is it
To sleep in the coolness
Of snug unawareness.

The dark hangs heavily
Over the eyes.

Gwendolyn Brooks, "truth" from Blacks. Copyright © 1987 by Gwendolyn Brooks. Reprinted by consent of Brooks Permissions.

Source: Blacks (Third World Press, 1987)

Ed Brumby

There is a direct connection, strangely enough, between slavery in the USA and the environmental devastation of the Aral Sea in central Asia.

When the US civil war disrupted the supply of cotton worldwide, Russia included, Czar Alexander II (who emancipated the serfs and sold Alaska to the US) ordered renewed efforts by his armed forces to conquer the various khanates that made up modern day Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan etc so that Russia could exploit their lands for cotton production.

Thus, beginning in the last quarter of the 19th century, vast swathes of, notably, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan were given over to cotton plantations – irrigated, largely, by water from the Aral Sea and its tributary rivers.

During the Soviet era and, especially during the 1960s, the amount of land used for cotton growing and other agricultural purposes and associated irrigation requirements increased dramatically.

As a consequence, the Aral Sea - which was once the fourth largest lake in the world, is now but a third of its former size and the surrounding land is becoming increasingly desertified.

It is worth recording, too, that, until the recent change of government, Uzbek public servants, teachers included, were obliged, every year, to contribute two weeks of unpaid labour to help out with the cotton harvest. Serfdom redux.

Peter Kranz

Not wishing to get involved in this debate, but I would simply ask why is PNG pre-independence history referred to as 'taim bilong masta'?

Philip Fitzpatrick

Bit like 'original sin' perhaps.

John Howard made a big point about people not being responsible for what their ancestors did and used that as an argument for not feeling guilty about the condition of Aboriginal people in Australia now. He used that as an argument for not issuing a national apology while clearly misunderstanding the symbolism.

I agree with you that kids don't need to be made guilty about what their grandparents did but they do need to understand the inequities of racism and the reasons they exist. Only then will they be able to do something about it.

I can't see how you can do that without making the poor little buggers feel guilty or, alternatively, viewing grandpa and grandpa in a less than glowing terms.

As Chris Overland would aver, they need to teach 'real' history in schools.

But all the leftie teachers would probably bugger that up and overdo it and make the kids feel guilty anyway.

Michael Dom

What you suffer from can't be a solely leftie malaise, Phil, I'm also not particular to associating with people of any group and prefer to make my assessment personally, based on intelligence, character and values.

That probably marks us both as libertarian by nature if not nurture.

However, my take on the false narrative being perpetuated here is that quite apparently Blacks now believe they are lesser than Whites.

Inferiority complex is so common in PNG we might as well say em normal ia.

There's a perverse reverse racism that is encouraging white parents to tell their kindergarten aged children that because their ancestors benefitted from slavery that they, even as little children, had no right to be innocent.

What kind of a sick fuck ideology does that to little children?

Philip Fitzpatrick

Exactly Michael.

The false narrative in the US is the carry over of the master/slave relationship into modern times, despite all the laws outlawing slavery and racism.

The mindset of a large part of the white population (their narrative) is that they are superior to blacks. That is a throwback to when slavery was legal.

I think Daniel's comment indicates that there is also a kind of reverse racism in the US too. Many blacks hate whites. I copped a bit of that in PNG now and again.

Even as an old leftie I still harbour a discriminatory attitude to some racially different groups. It's buried deep in my psyche but sometimes surfaces. It's an effort to suppress it sometimes.

That said, in my deep leftie malaise, I've decided that I don't particularly like humans of any colour.

And Lindsay, the phrase 'master and slave' acts in exactly the same way as the phrase 'husband and wife'. The former is accepted as superior to the latter as a matter of course.

Paul Oates

Before anyone can work out what to do about a problem it is essential to define the problem.

It goes under various names but the basic issue here is inequality.

That issue has been around since Adam was a boy.

Michael Dom

Phil, I am appalled by the manner in which your opinions are provided in this article, which borders on incomplete and inaccurate, blushing with emotive rhetoric.

At the very worst it allows us to raise twisted and ugly questions, such as, "how dare you" white male 'kings in a primitive society' come to PNG to blind us into misunderstanding what your governments had actually achieved here and elsewhere with plantation ownership, blackbirding, acquiring mineral wealth and cross breeding with our black women?

Do I need to continue down this path? It is ridiculous and unhelpful.

Do I have the right to ask thus, 'Yeah, really?'

Rather, do I have the responsibility to ask rightly, Yes, truly.

My hierarchy of values favors personal responsibility before personal rights. That makes me Right leaning as opposed to Phil's Left leaning equal rights argument, which demands unachievable equal responsibility.

By my guiding value I am personally responsible to your rights and prefer likewise reciprocation.

Before I proceed, a summary of US crime statistics goes like so, when Daniel Kumbon arrived in the States there was over 50% chance that the 13th person he met on a street would be the Black man who would kill him.

Now regarding Black slavery, specifically on the American continent, it was 333 years from the establishment of the first slavery 'trade store' until slavery was first abolished by the 'white' Republican state of Vermont, right after the Union-to-be beat off the British in the American Revolution.

(That's the same volume, 333 millilitres for the original SP brownie by the way. No colour pun intended.)

Abolition of slavery in Vermont was achieved 30 years before the British did away with slavery, an action which itself was in fact done during the height of the slave trade, again by white men (ol meri nogat vote).

(The fuckers we're making good bank when they were forced to quit. That's very uncapitalist of them, or maybe....)

The 13th amendment of the United States constitution, voted yea by the entire 'straight white male' Republican party under Lincoln abolished "slavery and involuntary servitude", and consequently plunged the Union into civil war.

Yeah, that's right, stupid white men slaughtered each other terribly in their own backyards for "humanitarian and economic reasons".

(Is that even newsworthy?)

Even after Lincoln was knocked off the Democratic Party was forced to pass the 15th amendment allowing Black males the vote (ol meri ikam bihain olgeta).

It wasn't a perfect process but we've arrived at a relatively better state.

(The 14th amendment makes everyone including slaves born in America an automatic citizen. If yo mama birthed yo ass in the US embassy in downtown POM, you is technically an American.)

I'm not going to respond to the other claims which strike me as providing an unbalanced narrative.

One point that I will counter is this: "But now the slaves are taking on the masters in a fight for equity and equality. And they are being joined by all people for whom racism is anathema."

Fact: There are no slaves in the US, that's pure emotive language, the White Man abolished it.

It's more likely that you refer to 'voluntary servitude', i.e., employment, em yumi save putim hanmak long pepa na wok long koble, na sapos yu less orait, yu ken lusim wok.

Definition: Equity and equality are two totally different concepts. These are conveniently combined in the leftist ideology.

"One ring to rule them all / And in the darkness bind them."

That's not saying they are useless concepts, but rather that their application should be specific.

Psychologically: Racism is far from anathema to human nature, it is inherently an outcome of our discriminatory proclivity. (e.g. Some like maroon others like crimson red.)

That's not to say that racism is good nor that discrimination is bad.

Philosophically: We need to acknowledge that racism is a mode of discrimination, a natural tendency which may sometimes be skewed detrimentally, and works more fundamentally on an individual basis as well as having the potential for promulgation through group-think.

Practically: Only then can we work our way through enabling personal resolution and combating the narratives of certain groups, olsem na bai yumi iet tingting gut na stretim pasin bilong yumi wanwan.

Exemplarily: We judged the Crocodile Prize by discrimination, as colleagues, despite the fact that you're white and I'm black, you're more liberal and I'm more conservative, I prefer beer and you prefer wine, and etcetera ad nauseum.

What's more, in contrast to road rage racism exchanges: If Phil was to read my response to his article and respond that he thought I was foolish to think the way I do, under the current climate of conversations he could very easily be branded as being a 'racist white supremacist'.

(Keith, however, would never allow either of us to go that far.)

Alternatively, I could be labelled as being an Uncle Tom for my views here.

Either way I resubmit my position that the biggest problem in the Western world, and the rest of us too by association, is the creation and promulgation of false narratives.

That is the post-modern Master-Slave story.

William Dunlop

Daniel, you have a fine grasp of the subject matter; Phil your Irish ancestors may have been amongst the Irish slavers raiding England on an ongoing basis. St Patrick is a classic example.

I often wondered why, later in history, the English were so despotic to the Irish. Perhaps ongoing payback?

Following the flight of the Earls, some 450,000 Irish fell over a few years after joining the French army to fight the English.

Many Scottish families were enslaved and transported to the West Indies as plantation labour; not forgetting the Highland clearances either.

By the way, my ancestry. I've discovered I'm 50% Welsh/English, 48% Irish/Scottish and 2% Germanic. Slantie.

Bernard Corden

One of my favourites was the late Justice Thurgood Marshall:



His philosophy on law was...…….."You do what you think is right and let the law catch up"

Statutory law especially through Stigler's concept of regulatory capture erodes common law rights and you only have to take a look along Massachusetts Avenue or Think Tank Row in Washington DC and all the usual suspects are merely a Molotov Cocktail from Capitol Hill.

"If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law" - Winston Churchill

"More law, less justice" - Cicero

Lindsay F Bond

As a nation, PNG began with a first focus on forms of "master-slave relationship".

Even the phrase is problematic, as which word ought be first might be a topic, except that the topic itself is toxic at both words.

After growing as a manufacturing ensemble, Australia chose to "expose industry to competitive pressures".

See: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-08/australian-manufacturing-rise-and-fall-lessons-post-coronavirus/12295518

Fair and equitable is a thought, bubbling away still. What potency.

Daniel Kumbon

Phil - I am not surprised there is uprising in the United States.

I experienced it first hand when I was there in 1991 and I wrote two chapters about racism and slavery in my book ‘I Can See My Country Clearly Now.’

Here is the chapter on racism. Find out how I and a Malaysian girl were involved in a terrifying car chase. A black cabbie chasing a white motorist who nearly bumped into us and then made a rude sign and took off.…

Racism, individualism & making it big in a changing society

It was near Dupont Circle in Washington DC that I saw the two men - one white, one black - confront each other over a parking space.

They swore at each other for three minutes.

If this was in Papua New Guinea, wantoks would have quickly taken sides and punches exchanged. Rocks and bottles would have followed and a full scale fight ensued.

Here there was no crowd of bystanders. People cast curious glances and went their way as the two men continued to insult each other.

Before too long a police vehicle arrived on the scene and sent the two men on their way.

The next day – sharing a taxi with a Malaysian girl – the ageing African American driver threatened to cut up a young white man driving a red car with Virginia number plates.

We were just about to turn on to a four-lane highway when the white man nearly smashed his car into us. If he did, the driver’s side would have taken the impact.

Understandably upset, the cabbie shouted at the other driver to stop. Instead, he made a rude sign with his fingers and drove on down the highway.

This made the old man angrier - me too – and we charged down the highway in hot pursuit.

“I know how to handle him. I’m 56 but I can still do it. You know these white guys, they still think they’re teaching the black man,” the cabbie fumed.

“They’re racist. I’ve been fighting against a long time. If I wasn’t carrying you guys, I would have done him good. I grew up doing it,” he said.

So, saying, he pulled a long knife from under his seat and stabbed the empty air in front of him. The Malaysian girl was terrified. I turned around in my seat and comforted her with a smile.

At the next traffic light, we caught up with the white man, who appeared to be in his early thirties. In an instant, the cabbie raced to the fellow’s car, kicked at it and told him to open up.

“You see this?” the Negro said, flourishing the knife. “Now, come on, be a man, open up,” he demanded.

The cabbie tried to force open the window of the red car but fortunately the lights turned to green and the car took off like a crimson streak. It overtook several cars before turning into a side road.

“That should teach him a lesson,” the cabbie commented. “I didn’t get him but somebody else will do it for me.

“Sooner or later he’ll smash into somebody else. Believe me he will, and that somebody will beat him up. That fellow could have killed us. Life is precious. People should enjoy it.”

We finally arrived at our destination and parted company with this tough old guy.

“Goodbye son, have a nice day,” he waved.

I don’t need to tell you that racism is a big issue in the United States. Real big.

“One reason we’re having problems now with this ultra ultra conservative person is because he doesn’t know our history,” according to Arthur E Thomas, president of the mostly black Central State University.

“He thinks black folks came here to serve white folks as slaves. He doesn’t know there were highly complex civilisations in Africa when Europe was still uncivilised.

“When Central State gets less than one percent of the higher education budget, it’s not a money issue, it’s a race issue.”

Many foreigners I met in America agreed that racism was a problem the country had to shake off.

“They are still racists,” said a long-time resident. “They are still conscious of their backgrounds.”

But most Americans don’t see it that way. To them, racism is a tiny grain of sand.

Retired African American judge, Del Rio, one of the organisers of a 1960s civil rights demonstration in Detroit in which Dr Martin Luther King Jr took part, says marches are no longer viable for blacks to achieve success today.

“Marches were useful to express our frustration and to attempt to avert riots,” Rio says. But the drivers are different today.

“We have to learn that economics is the way to freedom and that the way to economics is through education.”

People like Dr King, Judge Rio and others have been great leaders and role models for enterprising African Americans.

Rio started his life literally in a trash can where his mother had abandoned him shortly after birth. He studied and worked hard and became a real estate tycoon before the age of 30.

He was successful in politics and was admitted to the Michigan Bar and later elected as a Judge of Detroit’s Recorder’s Court.

In 1991, he was driving around in a zippy convertible or in the comfort of his chauffeur-driven limousine.

Del Rio had found the system to be no handicap at all.

It is hard for Papua New Guineans to emulate people like Del Rio because of our culture and way of life. His kind of success was possible because he was not responsible for the welfare of those around him.

Traditionally, Papua New Guineans share their fortnightly pay or business profits with wantoks.

Leaders in traditional PNG society were those who shared wealth with their people to maintain authority and influence.

In western society, people tend to be individualistic. They work to achieve success for themselves and their immediate families.

It’s perhaps not surprising that more prosperous and educated Papua New Guineans are beginning to live for themselves and the success of their own immediate family members.

Our times are a-changing too.

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