The Cracking Dawn
Worst public health disaster since World War II

Birth of a Papuan Tragedy


Psychopathology of the coloniser and colonised

They taught me how to celebrate Christmas and New Year,
but they did not teach me how to honour and celebrate my humanity.
I was taught how to get to heaven and how to avoid hell,
but I was never taught how to live on this planet
as a human being – the only place I know.
I was taught to see myself in God’s image,
but they never respected that image.
They taught me how to be religious,
but they did not teach me how to be a human being.
They preached the gospel of progress and development to me,
but they did not tell me how these gospels would destroy me.

They taught me that civilisation would re-make me a proper human,
but they never told me that it is that very idea ‘civilisation’
that would destroy my original humanity.
I was taught to love whiteness and hate blackness,
but I wasn’t taught that blackness is original.
They taught me to remember what Socrates and Plato said 2500 years ago,
but they did not teach me anything about what my elders said 20 years ago.
They taught me how to account,
but never taught me the mechanics and system of accounting.
I was crowned king, to rule over Neverland,
but they didn’t tell me it doesn’t exist.
My birthday was celebrated,
but I was not invited to attend.
My doctors diagnosed me with a deadly poison
and prescribed medication to cure it,
but they never informed me that both the poison and the antidote
are controlled by the same doctors.
They introduced me to money
but did not teach me how to use or make it.
They taught me how to use a motorbike,
but not how to build one.
I was taught how to wear clothes,
but not how to make them.
I was introduced to rice and noodles
but wasn’t informed of their poisonous content.
My ancient tree was cut down for their mansion,
but they forget it’s my home.
My mountain is destroyed for gold,
but they forget that it is my cathedral.
My river is polluted,
but they forget that it is my lifeline.
My forest is being destroyed,
but they forget that the forest is my supermarket.
Who are these people? Colonisers.
Who I am? Colonised.

Heinous crimes against me and my bird of paradise

“Why are you here?”
“I am here to kill you”
“I need to chew betel nut”
“I like it”
“I don’t know”
“Stop talking I have been told to kill you”
“I need to chew a betel nut”
“I don’t know”
I was angry with the “why” questions.
So, I killed that bird…
I took the bird to my master and sold it for 50 thousand rupiah.
I used that money to buy a betel nut.
The next day I was invited to a religious party.
When I arrived, everyone I saw decorated their heads
with colourful birds like the one I killed.
I wanted to wear one just like those people.
“Where did you get this?” I asked them
“From a shop” they said
“Which shop?” I asked
“There is a shop on the corner not far from your house” I was told.
In a hurry, I rushed there to purchase one of these beautiful birds.
Upon reaching the store, I looked through a barbwire window at the counter.
The master to whom I had sold the bird I killed was the owner of the shop.
“I would like to buy one of these birds”
“How much money do you have?” asked the shop owner
“50 thousand rupiah” I said.
“That’s not enough” said the shop owner.
“How much more do you need?” I asked.
“One million rupiah” he said.
As the religious party was about to end, I was in a desperate situation.
“Could you please give me one to wear today?”
He thought about it for a while.
Then he agreed but said,
“You have to kill another 200 of these birds to pay your debt”
This bargain made me so happy.
The party had already ended once I arrived.
Despite my disappointment, I had no choice but to accept this.
Now I owed the slave owner another 200 birds.
The hunt, for birds of paradise began.

Tragedy of the ancient master of the seas

One day, I woke up early in the morning.
I went fishing just like my ancestors before me.
I caught enough to feed my family.
However, the fish I had caught was not for our consumption,
They were to sell to the master.
I returned home at 12 noon with my catch,
and went straight to the market of the slave master.
The slave master was so happy to see me
with the quality of fish that only I knew where to catch.
I sold them for twenty thousand rupiah.
Straight after selling them, I bought some tinned fish from him.
I was so happy with the tinned fish because the taste was different.
I went home at dawn and shared the tinned fish with my village.
A few days later, all my family got sick,
I went to the hospital,
Little did I know that the hospital was run by the slave master.
The doctors were owned by the slave masters,
The doctors at the hospital said I had to pay five million rupiah for treatment.
I had no amount to meet that demand
So, the only thing I could do was catch more fish to sell,
But the ancient spirit of the guardian of the seas placed a curse on me.
No fish could be found anywhere where my ancestors used to fish.
A few days later, all my family died from the sickness of consuming tinned fish.
There is only one choice left for me…but I am still contemplating,
My time is running out because the tribes in the village,
including my clan, have been cursed by this sickness.


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