Leonard Fong Roka
In the fast globalizing world where the First World is undefeatable as it spreads its ideals of a world federation of unequals that should function under one set of international law, societies now suffer the friction between known indigenous epistemological realities and introduced western norms and institutions.
|Bougainville must be free to be strong|
Under such bias cruelty indigenous people now suffer land loss, resource exploitation, civil wars, belittlement, marginalization, extinction, and so on. An insane puppet will accept these experiences as part of Human Rights for a global betterment or an early indication of advancement.
Across Bougainville land dispute is fast becoming a frequent occurrence between clans, communities, villages and families.
Global bodies like the United Nations promote the ideals of a ‘free world of free choice’ for humanity but when people are killing each other over land dispute in South Bougainville in the pretext of an act of sorcery, Secretary General Banki Moon, shall not be here to mediate a peace resolution because UN knows nothing about Bougainvillean traditions and cultures and their views on the world around them that had sustained them for thousands of years.
All these problems occur because of competition in usage of the scarce resources.
In the Solomon Island of Bougainville, the fact is that when the human population is increasing the land of Bougainville is not expanding to accommodate this growth. So land dispute tends to become prevalent as man try to exploit and survive; and in due cause, he comes into conflict with the next person that is also in for a grab of resources for sustenance.
Society cannot do away with all conflicts for they are the intrinsic part of social co-existence amongst human being for ages. But what that society must be well nourished with, is the oral histories and myths of each respective clan and family.
In the Nasioi society of Bougainville, land is life; and it is integrated with the human existence. Without land, a human person is nothing but the shadow that society should forget. Thus every Bougainvillean is a person with portions of land areas associated with him or her.
But this is too general. In today’s world of Bougainville, defining a Bougainvillean is required to go down deeper since modernization has being weakening the bond between a man and the land he or she claims to own.
Since time immemorial Bougainvilleans had myths to explain everything around them. These theoretical tales (myths) had two obvious fronts. Firstly, they explain the ‘why’ question about the environment they saw; and secondly, they preserved the fading oral histories. That is, as generations added on, oral histories altered thus myth came in to play a role to cement the loopholes caused by time erosion.
And it is this second factor that is so associated with land ownership and resources usage. For in it, one finds that any claim over a piece of land on Bougainville must have a clear series of events of justification. These are: (1).a sacred site on this land, (2).family tree and those who were on this land, (3).migration stories leading to this land, (4).events that occurred on this piece of land and (5).the supernatural being associated to this land.
In Nasioi society these factors belong not to the clan but to a family. They are a sacred and secret knowledge and power-base of the family.
Through time, marriages were the source of alliances of security and pacification throughout Bougainville. Within this engagement, land ownership also evolved amongst clans so within a household, the husband gleaned his wife’s family histories and shared with his clan people and vice versa.
This was a natural archive in the traditional context. Thus whenever, conflict over land occurred, one ran to his or her father’s people if his or her mother’s people could not defend the land and vice versa.
But in our so called civilized world, many a losing their land just because they had forgotten their oral histories over time because of ignorance and the despise of our old folks who are naturally a store of oral histories and values.
Where formal education has crept into Bougainville society customary land disputes in Bougainville are becoming more sophisticated for the illiterate elders when educated thieves challenge their rights over land ownership and vice versa.
Educated thieves in the Nasioi society whom are struggling to survive with their populace in their state of being marginalized in terms of land and resources have being the ones so actively researching various oral histories to create their own make-ups.
For an island like Bougainville, population increase means society have to dig deep to learn its past and the way our ancestors had survived with dignity. But there is a systematic failure on Bougainville in the education system that does not support Bougainvillean epistemologies.
The education system does not create Bougainvilleans that should know and appreciate their island’s place in the Solomon archipelago and it rich cultures. But rather, it creates windsocks Bougainvilleans that wander and keep harming Bougainvillean identity and dignity under the western orientations of human rights.
But the concepts of Human Rights of free will and choice does not see the fact that, a Bougainvillean must be strong and free culturally, socially, spiritually, politically and economically on his island that also must be free from foreign exploitation, suppression and genocide to be functional in our globalizing world.