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Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Arawa’s facelift is painful to a few

Leonard Fong Roka

After the devastating setback of the 10 year Bougainville crisis from 1988, the once booming provincial township of Arawa is getting back to the appreciative status in terms of its economic and social activities.
This month it had hosted Bougainville wide soccer tournament where soccer teams of both man and woman teams from across Bougainville came flocking in for some 9 days of games. It is fast becoming a center of Bougainville activities; or for travellers, a transit point. With banking services by the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) established, most central and south Bougainville people do business here. Business activities had increased and non-Bougainvillean population is rising and getting old Ambrose Taruko worried.

There are now a number of Asians and a handful of redskins (erereng) that Taruko really is not interested in for he and his family did suffer on their hands before 1990 where the Bougainville conflict kicked them out of Arawa to their relieve.

Of the nearly 55 residential areas of the former Arawa town, the areas known as Section 17 (host to former Arawa General Hospital), Arawa High, Section 19, Section 37 and Section 35, Taruko is known to be the majority traditional landowner.

In the post conflict Bougainville, such landowners like Taruko are respected by the government but before the conflict the Bougainville Copper Limited, the PNG government and the provincial government paid no heed to them.

Far worst, to Taruko, the erereng illegal visitors brought in by the BCL and the PNG government robbed them their life and it was the Bougainville crisis that rescued them from extinction so he has respect to the late Francis Ona and the young former combatants.

‘Me and my family were saved by the war,’ he said, ‘from losing all our land. The little we had after the PNG government and the BCL robbed everything, was being taken over day by day by the reckless spread of the slums by the erereng.’

He is more worried not of Asians but of the increasing erereng population.

‘The Asians,’ he said, ‘dwell in the urban areas and do their business activities that help us but these erereng they are like the flood that runs everywhere. This town had seen a number of them being killed recently but they are coming; they are shameless.

‘There is a couple who are renting a house in this section and selling their goods, mostly secondhand clothing in the Arawa market nearly every day. But our people are running after the Chinese well the real enemy that destroyed us is here; they are coming as teachers, missionaries, contractors and our students going outside to study in the  universities are bringing them here in marriage.

‘The good comfort one feels here and tells his villagers back home will bring the whole tribe into Bougainville. That is the trend me and my family suffered in the past.’

In the 1960s Taruko was a young man and watched the development of the Arawa town. It brought in many companies and all these contractors brought in the erereng to work and not Bougainvilleans, the owners of this island.

The few erereng then brought in their relatives or few married into the local population. In a few years, the township of Arawa was not a town on Bougainville but a town in some parts of PNG. To Taruko history is repeating itself.

He said with frustration, ‘When the BCL began to built the Section 35, the moved us further away; satisfied in number of years, they came for more area thus my family have to move further away. They did not respect us as humans.

‘Later they brought in the erereng illegal settlers. These people took over our gardening land with threat and intimidation. Every day they claim a land area, I went to draw a line that they should not cross. But the next morning they unrooted the sticks I buried and slashed them to pieces.

‘When I went to see their leader and settle the dispute, they terrorized me with knives or they went more reckless. They stole our cocoa and coconut plantation and raped our women. They also looted our gardens and fruit trees, too.’

Taruko and a few other landowners of Arawa are worried. The Bougainville government is not concerned about the welfare of the Bougainvilleans. It is not creating a conducive environment where Bougainvilleans can advance themselves without the infiltrating erereng people.

To them the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) has gone off track from the very reasons why Bougainvilleans had gone to war and died. To them, the current kind of leaders must be changed for the betterment of Bougainville people.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Homeward Bound #Poetry

Leonard Fong Roka

 Rivers flood a brawl but they ease a peace

Somewhere where the road is matured a bloom in the sun

For not all seasons are rocks

That smiles away the rage of the winds.

Thus I am not a boulder to sit idle in the strangeness of Madang

To be robbed by street thugs that civilization

Had forgotten…

I am not an insane to be intimidated by a Madang man

That say he cares for me as if I got no Bougainville to call home

That is mine since I paid for it with pain and loss

Under the PNG blockade of exploitation and cruelty

I am going home…I am going home…

To my freedom land Bougainville

The island in the Solomon we died for so that the world

Know it was our island...

Our island in the Solomon

I am going home; home sweet home

Bougainville, with my heart in peace

And my hands on the flag of my Bougainville

And this light knapsack

For my Bougainville…

A wind of joy to see Bougainville

Leonard Fong Roka

Away from home for almost 9 months in the Madang Province of Papua New Guinea has being too much pain of home sickness for Timothy Poroda, a 21 year old student from Malasang village on the Buka Island of Bougainville.
Mr. Poroda completed his secondary school at Hutjena Secondary School in 2012 and currently is a first year student in the Department of PNG Studies and International Relations at the Divine Word University on a degree programme that goes on for 4 years. This means Poroda will be flying in and out of his Bougainville for almost four years till 2016.

Timothy said he really enjoyed the year making new friends in the school. ‘Divine Word University is a small university thus everyone nearly knows who is who here,’ he told me. ‘I know most students here like every boy-girl relationships here is a public knowledge; nobody hides.’

He said he enjoyed the year from the start but in the middle of the year he began to turn lazy at school work. ‘That is the trend,’ he laughed, ‘we are humans and tasks like studying for example makes us weak and turn lazy. But we need to work on for that is why parents exhaust themselves sending us here.

‘We got no choice, when the Bougainville government cannot build us a university, we will forever run to universities and colleges in PNG to be educated.’

The student body of Divine Word University sat for their examination since last week and this was the last week of the two weeks. Most were looking forward to going home next week but the university surprised them over the week end that they were now going home.

Timothy was roaming all over the dormitory area with the Bougainville flag attached to a stick.

He packed his belongings and traded the rest for other goodies to bring back to Bougainville.

Early yesterday at 6:30 AM Timothy Poroda and other Bougainvillean students left Madang transited at the Port Moresby’s Jackson Airport and arrived in Bougainville’s Buka airport at 10 o’clock.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Bougainville Manifesto 9: Ona-Kabui Power play

Leonard Fong Roka

The late Francis Ona’s will to reign over Bougainville met disaster early in 1990; and the BRA strategist, Sam Kauona’s smell of Bougainville’s political jeopardy, was too late to rescue the then 100 000-plus people of Bougainville with the Panguna brothers, the late Joseph Kabui and Martin Miriori, included.
But in this chaos, two figures stood out over Bougainville and outside of the island as the key leaders of the Bougainville rebellion. But each leader’s introduction into the crisis and the overall responsibility and view of the conflict were not that harmonious between the two Bougainville crisis-time leaders. This did greatly affect the Bougainville people.

Each leader saw different events unfolding around their personal lives as Samuel Kauona of the BRA and Leo Nuia of the PNG government signed the ceasefire (Niugini Nius, 1 March 1990, pg 1) that is worth an analysis to glean where and why the whole political struggle and division should have had originated from.

The now late Joseph Kabui got into the wheelhouse of the provincial government in 1987. He may have not seen a milestone of his leadership when the year 1988 brought challenges with militancy against the Panguna mine and the PNG government apart from the arrival of the MV Sankamap, a coastal passenger trawler that was to serve the Bougainville Atolls and Torokina.

From late 1988 his office was flooded with letters or proposals from Bougainvilleans and non-Bougainvillean ordinary people and leaders and national government leaders seeking help, compensation on personal properties and harm or ways to address the conflict situation on Bougainville. With these responsibilities for decision making weighing on him, he took his first brutal bashing up from the PNG police on the very first day of July 1989 whilst returning from a church service in Arawa (Niugini Nius, 2 July 1989). But he staggered on.

Furthermore, with the reaching of the ceasefire on 30 January 1990, saw a stream of compensation claims for damages and so on to the premier’s office by the 4000 Bougainvilleans who were now returning home from the care centers where they were ordered to by the PNG government.

But the PNG’s NEC suspension of the North Solomons provincial government on the 29 August 1990 might have relieved Kabui, but angered by the PNG’s Australia supported total blockade that was known about in May 1990.

In the weeks leading to Sam Kauona’s invitation, Kabui and his elder brother, Martin Miriori were subjected to a number of BRA harassment and looting resulting to a formation of a BRA contingent from his home, Tumpusiong Valley, to protect him.

On the other side, Kabui’s counterpart, Francis Ona, was a hero. He deserved no flood of claims to his Guava village. People saw him to have had a divine right to liberation and rule of Bougainville.

After the 17 May 1990 UDI, Kabui was in action as the vice president of the BIG (Bougainville Interim Government). The BIG soon established its Honiara office with Martin Miriori heading it. At home, the BIG was equipped with the Radio Free Bougainville that was donated and set with some Australian sympathizers to spill its political discourse.

Without the presence of the BRA supreme commander and BIG president, Francis Ona, Joseph Kabui attempted to establish order on Bougainville. There was a police establishment; a military academy, known as the Erama Barracks, where young men were trained by Bougainvillean former PNGDF soldiers.

But all these developments were happening without Ona and with other popularly BRA greats like Ishmael Toroama, Glen Tovirika, and Chris Uma and so on had already created their private little armies executing their own rules in the name of Francis Ona.

According to the Australian government appendix D article, Outline History of the Bougainville Conflict (n.d.), in July to August 1990, Joseph Kabui led BIG to sign the Endeavour Accord with PNG to restore services on Bougainville; in 1991 January, Kabui led BIG to signing the Honiara Accord, again on PNG to allow services into Bougainville. And in August 1991, he led BIG to the hearing of UN Committee on Rights of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Geneva, accusing the PNG of atrocities.   

In his return, he did an all-Bougainville speech tour; they did the much of Central and South Bougainville where he was being attacked by people for not being capable of delivering services. The North was not toured since the invading PNG army was there in most areas.

All these BIG achievements was without Ona who always maintained that such was the roles of the vice president and often accused Kabui of trying to betray Bougainville; often leading to heated debates in the 2-way radio networks the BRA/BIG had.

As the vice president led, the PNGDF also snailed closer to the heartland of Bougainville politics, Kieta and the civil war began nastier and nastier whilst Ona kept silent. He never came public on the Radio Free Bougainville; the little secessions he made were all have to be recorded in his Guava village and brought to where the broadcasters were stationed. 

In October 1992, when the PNG army landed on Tunuru and the Morgan Junction, Kabui had a two-front political war to wage; he was attracted more to ‘peaceful means to address the conflict’ because there was disorder in the BIG/BRA and there was also the problem of getting the founding master of the conflict, Francis Ona, to get out to the midst of the people and lead.

Kabui travelled from village to village in central Bougainville encouraging people to stand firm in the moment of PNG attacks and fear. In all these tours he had to call in at Guava to brief the ‘boulder’ that never moved where often his entourage when hungry because of no proper care was given (personal experience in 1992).

Thus Kabui was lured by engaging in peace with the Australia-backed PNG government. This led to the Honiara Talks between Sir Julius Chan and Sam Kauona in September 1994 where an agreement on ceasefire was reached and pavement for further talks set later leading to the formation of the Bougainville Transitional Government (BTG) in April 1995. All these of course in slight isolation of Francis Ona.

The moment of shock for Francis Ona came in September 1995 when the BRA/BIG and the BTG met in Cairns, Australia. He began to set his teams on speech tours throughout BRA controlled areas of Bougainville especially inside Central Bougainville.

He even began to engage in his own international deals and also began paying visits to communities outside of his Guava village. In one of these tours he visited Oune village, where he attacked the peace lovers with Kabui as ‘betrayers’ of Bougainville.

His men led by his commander, Moses Pipiro, also terrorize people from the Panguna area who were going seek vital services like health and education; or get a share of the Red Cross supplied basic household goods in Arawa.

Following this political nightmare, where his vice president and most of his best BRA commanders had isolated him, he formed his Meekamui Government and Meekamui Defence Force. He was also got himself a radio station then known as, Radio Meekamui that aired from Guava.

After the successful BRA defeat of the PNG’s military operation to neutralize Central Bougainville of the BRA, Operation High Speed, the BIG/BRA established their base just next to the former Aropa International Airport in a place known as Kangsinari in 1997. The spot was easier for negotiations with PNG controlled areas like Arawa and travels across to the Solomon Islands in the peak of negotiations and peace talks.

With Francis Ona’s anti-peace campaigns gaining momentum in Kieta, and leaders like BIG leader, Premier Theodore Miriung and peace negotiator, Thomas Batakai, being murdered by the PNG government,  the BRA/BIG called for a meeting with the Meekamui to reach a common ground for a better Bougainville.

The talk was held but, like in 1988 or 89, Francis Ona, was not that satisfied and walked off. Thus the break-up of the Bougainville leaders into Meekamui and Bougainville People’s Congress that was pro-peace, is so often locally referred to as the Kangsinari Coup that happened in around 1997.

Francis Ona protested influencing the likes of Chris Uma and Moses Pipiro to his side and strengthened his Meekamui Government and Joseph Kabui went his way with his sheep behind him pursuing his peace efforts on Bougainville.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Combatant: We need to steer ABG the Bougainville Way

Leonard Fong Roka

On the shimmering streets of Arawa, jubilating were a bunch of former BRA fighters last Saturday (12 October), reading Wednesday (9 October 2013) Post Courier article entitled, Asians warned to leave (pg 23) in the Bougainville Today section.
So joyous was Francis Duaung (pictured) who is known as the only wounded fighter in the early 1990 dawn raid on the former Kuviria Detention Center 30 kilometers north of Arawa that saw the killing of six non-Bougainvillean warders and their family members in January 1990. Duaung was shot in the head in action and survived in Honiara, Solomon Islands, after a medical operation to remove shotgun pellets stuck in his skul.

In the Post Courier story, the Bougainville Veterans Association, that is an umbrella body made up of ex-combatants from North, Central and South Bougainville who have fought in the Bougainville ten-year civil war, called on the Asians operating business singly or in partnership with locals to pack up and leave from Bougainville.

The story said, ‘The foreigners, especially Chinese nationals, were involved in retail, wholesale, and fast food, which local businessmen were in. The association said this posed a threat to the peace process because locals tended to take sides—some with foreigners while others opposed foreigners. This has brought instability to some parts of the region, especially in Central Bougainville.’

The veterans like Duaung are now joining hands with local businessmen of Bougainville claiming that the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) since taking office had let Asians and other foreign business to rob Bougainvilleans and give back nothing just like what the Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) did.

In the paper the association is said to pressure the ABG, in its October 15 deliberation, that it must look at and pass the following as reserved business activities for Bougainvilleans. As listed, businesses that the ABG must protect for Bougainvilleans are:

·         Retail trading, including trade stores, canteens and takeaway food bars or eateries;

·         Supermarkets, liquor supply and import including brewery and distillation of liquor;

·         Guest houses and hotels up to three star status;

·         Wholesaling and merchandizing in any white goods, consumables and building hardware materials;

·         Fuel supplies and fuel stations, including import of oil products

·         Alluvial mining and gold trading,

·         Commodity exports of cocoa and copra primary and secondary products;

·         Cocoa and coconut plantations and other cash crop development;

·         Dealings in handicrafts and artifacts including the export of such items;

·         Timber production and exports;

·         PMV and freight transport including trucking and earth moving

·         Marine products extraction and exports;

·         Fisheries and fish exports;

·         Tourism and tour operators;

·         Any manufacturing, including cottage industries with cash capital value of K100 million or less is also prohibited and exclusively reserved for Bougainvilleans; and

·         Partnership and joint ventures in any of the above activities is prohibited.

The fighters have called on the ABG not to issue any trading license to Asians and other foreigners in any of the said activities and also said that all Asian and foreign businesses must shutdown and moved out of Bougainville.

According to Duaung, the main concern is that the ABG is really not protective of Bougainville. ‘The ABG knows we fought and died,’ He told me, ‘but it is not interested into upholding the reason our 15 000 people died for. We died for independence and that means we must be self-reliant and not be like PNG that these Asians now control; and this drive aims to protect Bougainvilleans to teach themselves how to do business and be self-reliant to built our country.’

To the many people like Duaung, the ABG is selling Bougainville away to the dogs by fearing the few foolish people on Bougainville as threats and not recognizing the strength it has with the majority of us it has behind it. Political creativity is a lack in the ABG that could make the government maneuver through loopholes using the threats as opportunities for Bougainville.

Now that the warring combatants of Bougainville, Ishmael Toroama, Chris Uma, and so on had reconciled recently, veterans say the ABG is now safe.

And according to the Panguna man Francis Duaung, the veterans have more plans to save Bougainville: ‘We have presented these demands to our government. Once done, we will then remove the Asian and other foreign parasites from Bougainville; the next lot to pack and leave are the redskins that are coming searching for jobs shamelessly as if they had compensated us for killing us on our island and blockading us for ten years as if we were destroying some parts of their country.’

Francis Duaung lost his blood brother and three other cousins to PNGDF bullets and says he is not satisfied with how Bougainville has being driven by the ABG and PNG.

Friday, 11 October 2013

My Country Solomon #Poetry

Leonard Fong Roka

The PNG constitution tells Bougainvilleans they are not Solomon Islanders. 24/7, a Bougainvillean is told to accept himself a citizen of PNG; he is told not to be racist or undemocratic, the very acts that would unfold the reality of PNG indoctrination of Bougainvilleans.

But stand a Bougainvillean and a PNG man together and ask ‘Does their skin color look the same?’ Do New Guineans dance the kovi and sing the siriroi so common across Bougainville and the Solomons? Stand on the Lontis Point of Buka Island and look out to the sea; do you see any PNG islands? Stand at Deuro Ridge and look beyond the plains of Olava, what do you see? A mat of a hundred islands of the Choiseul Province and Western Province kissing with the south Bougainville coast!

This is the real Bougainville!


One day sitting lowly on Deuro road

I watched the calm sea before me

Smeared by a hundred dots of pure green

Those pure green islands where my progenitors

Departed from to conquer my Bougainville from the gods

Those islands were my ancestors’ roots and inspiration for ages

To cut this cruel sea before me to colonize my Bougainville

But now colonization prevents me to love you dearly

I know my skin color and songs but the aliens say

My eyes and grandpa had tricked me long

Long by feeding me charcoal to hide

My true colors and songs

But why these islands

Kissing my Bougainville always?


Kavarong: In Search of my bed #Poetry

Leonard Fong Roka

In the 1960s when BCL landed on Bougainville, the Kavarong River sucked all the dirt created upstream in Panguna. In million tons per day it went down the river altering it old beauty and bed. After the Bougainville conflict that shut the mine, the river is now eroding its siltation in search of its original river bed as we watch. In doing so, however, the Kavarong is changing the Banoni coastline from Matupina to the Koiare area.

Sand and dirt of the white-man I sucked 24/7

To fill the belly of the red-man from PNG and not my Solomons

I could be proud if it were the Malaitans

That traded me duku for my daughters

And dig my gems for the grooms in San Cristobal.

But my sons fought the looters of PNG and saved me

From the aliens that raped my virginity to a village spittle

Thus I am recuperating from agony of my lover’s rejection

Day by day I am weeping in search of my bed with my children

The sun pities me as I rummage the gravel lawns of mystery

The rain cries in mercy and my children help me

To search for my bed

Where I could rest forever and bless my people

Who have suffered and died for me

But we are digging and digging

Shipping the affluent to Marau that is crying

But I tell her not to cry; I will free myself and help her out; so

Days and nights, we are digging history

Discovering new worlds that suffered

From the raping by aliens

We are digging

In search of my bed.

Combatants and Politicians are Liars and Cheats #Poetry

Leonard Fong Roka

In 1988, the BRA stood to fight for Bougainville freedom; but then divided Bougainvilleans, so Bougainvilleans fought each other for the good future of Bougainvilleans on both side of the conflict. When peace dawned, the combatants forgot the cause of their recent past and run after money! They want to be paid for their efforts during the war. Why did they con us, Bougainvilleans? We watch as they disturb the peace and social, economic and political recovery of our Solomon Island of Bougainville.
They—Bougainville Revolutionary Army and Bougainville Resistant Forces and politicians—are liars and cheats!


Bougainvillean combatants and politicians

You go reckless after the government for money; money

For the days you fought each other,

Yet you said you were fighting for the freedom of all Bougainvilleans.

You go insane corrupt neglecting the promises you gave

The Solomon people of Bougainville; what does the San Cristobal

Fellow say to you? He calls you

A liar and a cheat to his brothers and sisters of Bougainville!


Bougainvillean combatants and politicians

You make Bougainville sick in shame;

You deny our land the freedom it deserves after ages of adversity

In the days you fought each other, you said

You fought to liberate Bougainville from suppression and exploitation but

Now you are the suppressor of Bougainville and the rest of Solomon.

You are the robber, looter…you are the corruption

You are the warlords of disharmony and violence; a

Liar and a cheat to the Bougainvilleans!


Shame, shame, shame…Shame on you!

One Way to Peace and Prosperity in Papua New Guinea

Leonard Fong Roka

When the sun rises in the east, every citizen is thinking about what the day has in store for him or her. And what do you think the day has for him or her PNG? Every day life is a search and clash for all citizens in PNG.
Across the land and seas of this beautiful country, there is the scurrying, rollicking and blustering wind of inequity and inequality that is widening the social, economic and political gap amongst the populace in every village. So, all in the house of piercing commotion of the periphery, look to the seats of political setups in desolated portions of the country’s core as the sole sources of livelihood.

Thus every man, woman and child rummage the country looking for green pastures leaving their backyards to dereliction. In their new land they become the dirt and cruelty to the indigenous fellow citizens there; they are the injustice and exploitation, in the name of that freedom granted upon them by the strange Eurocentric state belief Melanesians were not with, before colonization.

That canoe, PNG, has paddled idly and ignorantly through the tempestuous sea of globalism too far; the shore is far, and the horizon is far. Thus, let her reach out to both sides of her journey to help her keep afloat and move with the current below that is heading away from the shores.

Since time immemorial in PNG there were independent tribes, clans and family networks. These establishments were sovereign; they had territorial integrity, they had laws, they pursued trade and diplomatic relations. There was order and those orders were sacred to the man and beneficial to the land. Thus harmony and survival were sustained within the territory.

The key for survival was respect and enrichment of inter-clan or tribal relationships.

But the tide of modernization has disrupted the epistemological world of PNG. The barter system of trade is no more; a marriage for peace is no more; a feast for land dispute settlements is no more; a pig as a token of appreciation is no more; grandpa-children storytelling is no more, since all now needs money to give service to a fellow PNGeans.

As a state PNG was founded on sand and without a clearly defined political roadmap; most state strategies are created from foreign advice or guidelines that does not reflect any PNG relevance or reality. Therefore, in PNG every new government equals new policies that kill the former into oblivion and finally, fate.   

In doing so, the state creates its own enemies; the very people that mandate it to power turn against it with dissatisfaction, then they run back to the old Melanesian institutions as boundaries to disrupt modernization and cause injustice on their own people and country.

Citizens harming citizens and country in PNG clearly show the broader confusion of people who are surprised by the clash of their not-lost Melanesian imprints and the Eurocentric modernization with its enforced ideologies and institutions.

PNG is country that cheats itself with all the imported ideologies of politics, economics and society despite the fact that such institutional norms clash with Melanesian realities. But the elite PNG minority benefit thus PNG had to be tethered for them. 

Intellectually PNG was not prepared to be a country in the Eurocentric world order; and its celebrated founders, were Melanesians engulfed by the sweetness of turning PNG into a state in the western world concepts. Thus they were blinded to see the massive tasks of dragging with them tribes of conflicting dreams in that canoe they built in 1975.

In so far, development in PNG has become the exploitation of PNG by its own arrogant and selfish elite! Massive foreign own investment energize corruption; and the social, political and economic breakdown for the majority of the citizens whilst the few elites bag the wealth of the country from their urban safe havens.

This leads to the citizens seeing peaceful and harmonious life in the struggling urban communities of PNG and with their Melanesian ways; they are sucked into the cities and towns, causing more harm to the ecology of societies and the state system.

A peaceful PNG shall be reached with the calm and open amalgamation of the Melanesian Way and the introduced Eurocentric norms that a now part of the global system. Both realms must be engaged for a mutually acceptable and respectful manner for the betterment of PNG to run parallel to globalization.

In the pre-contact Melanesian world, territorial integrity was the fundamental norm; no one came into a territory (land, river or sea) without any advance notice. For example, for land use for garden purposes, the intending user gave notice to the owner and uses the land temporarily.

After usage, like garden harvesting, a gesture of thanks like a bundle of a first ripe banana and some meat then was given to the landowner first, and then the user continues harvesting for self. This was respect within the society and people.

But in modern PNG, the few elite law makers laugh the old ways as barbaric! But in reality, there is good for the modern PNG canoe.

PNG today, need to revisit all provinces and re-draw all colonial boundaries. This time it has to isolate every single tribe or clan networks and their territory under the dictates of all myths and oral histories in existence; then search for the related neighbor (s) and group these into districts (if too small) or provinces.

Waigani should be the umbrella government keeping the states overseeing mostly international obligations and defense of the PNG canoe.

This done, the next move is to class all related provinces into federal state governments with the highest forms of autonomy endowed with controlled freedom of movement and all other powers and functions. That is all these states must have in place strong vagrancy laws right from the provincial level of government.

Today, the PNG canoe needs a little pain to create long term happiness for the country.

And for the PNG canoe, the states are all obvious. They are the Papua, Highlands, Momase and Islands. However, the present need some re-structuring since there are loopholes, example, the Siasi islanders are culturally more aligned to West New Britain then Morobe thus they had to be returned.

With this the old Melanesian rule of territorial integrity is back and people are safe within and respected from outside because the state government is bold with the autonomous powers and functions.

 After this, the next step is to adopt the most realistic models of Eurocentric development for each state according to the needs of the people within and not the entire PNG canoe.

As seen from a Google PDF article entitled, Six Development Models, the Human Capital Theory that states that ‘improving human capital (education, health, fertility rates) is necessary pre-requisites for economic growth’ in collaboration with the Welfare Concept of Development that says that ‘true development does not consist in increasing the amount of consumer goods but to provide for everyone’s needs for good health care and education and protection from crime’ is the best approach and strategy for all states of PNG.

And these two models are the bases for sustainable development where there is harmony between the man and the resources for the long term benefit of all present and future generations of citizens.   

This is tangible with the little income PNG is and will be generating in/with the mining and petroleum and gas boom currently underway; supplemented by cash crops from the local citizens and nationalization of all firms buying cash crops that rob farmers.

Such a step increases local incomes for villages and increases their buying power thus leading them to progressive drive for positive change. This individual change spreads from the tribe to the province then onto the state.

In doing so, we uphold the old Melanesian concept of utilizing whatever resources available to us for our survival. And when there is a lack in the district, we forge trade relations with the next district; if there is still scarcity, the province come into action by trading with another province within the state; and if one state cannot, then we go to another  state.

This strengthens the domestic economy of the PNG canoe that has long being lied to and robbed by the parasitic concept of ‘no man is an island’ that is suitable for the First World and a few stable countries who have healthy and sound foundations for their countries.

Here PNG’s four states should meet all the needs and wants of their citizens. If they grow peanuts let them process tinned peanuts; if they have cocoa, let them produce cocoa powder for the PNG Highlands state; if they grow coffee let them manufacture coffee for the island, Papua or Momase states.

Where one resource, example timber, is equally distributed across PNG, let the central government distribute product items that a state must work on so that the flow of the domestic market and trade is not disrupted. Having in mind the need for export earnings as well where surplus is attained in production.

Waigani should always be proactive in managing the four states for it is the strength of the four states that strengthens it politically, socially and economically.

All states should have own education systems, too, to create citizens that know the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats of their respective states. Each state must have own tertiary institutions with laws that have its citizens to graduate and serve his or her own district or province for a period of time then decide seek employment in another province, state or overseas.

Citizens need to know their states well so as to be good decision makers in their respective state governments and society. Such could have each state knowing which state to look to when need arises before looking overseas.  

With such we hold the will to defend our own territories or states as our progenitors did for their territories in the dream times.

In summary the re-creation of the PNG canoe with a safe and empowered tribal and clan systems; we hope for a stable provincial governments that bind together to form powerful federal state systems for a harmonious and peaceful PNG where equity and equality should rule.

 All four PNG states ought to be autonomous in their social, economic and political decision making for the good of their citizens; this creates free and satisfied PNG citizens who care for each other, their province, their state and their PNG at large.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Bougainville Manifesto 8: The 1990-1991 Crisis

Leonard Fong Roka

To the state of PNG, Rio Tinto and BCL, Bougainvilleans were nobodies of the Solomons that have to be raped off their resources to finance PNG and its citizens who are not at all geographically and ethnically relatives of Bougainvilleans.
But the trio did not know that Bougainvilleans were humans that are adaptive to negative or positive changes; whether the adaptation is planned or not, they need to change to cater for the externally driven changes on their land and society.

The late Francis Ona with every available pressures of change on his shoulder did rush at his numerous goals and history should agree that his ambition for a better Bougainville were not that strategically concrete. Bougainvillean teacher, Lance Itta in his article, A civil war of resources (Post Courier, 23 August 2013 pg 10), implied an organized maneuver by Ona when he tasked a Philip Takaung in recruiting militants; but one as to ask why this turn the crisis of Panguna into a civil war.

The answer is simple; the players were practically incapable of politically leading Bougainville out of the vacuum created by the departure of the PNG state institutions and the demise of the provincial administration.

Let me go to my PNG ATTITUDE article, We don’t want Bougainville as a land of warlords (2012), and start with this scene:

‘All these great military men of Bougainville - although at first fighting to get rid of Bougainville Copper Limited, Papua New Guinea and its Redskins - went off-track in mid-1990.

This divide was created by the late Francis Ona’s inability to administer and control his men and therefore to control Bougainville.

Fighters forgot our cause of freedom and went for war-gains. Think about Ishmael Toroama’s words in the video documentary Coconut Revolution: ‘When I fought everything got into hands…’

Did we fight for personal property or peoples’ freedom? Often, at gun point personal property was removed from owners or guardians; Bougainvillean women were raped, innocent persons were killed….’

According to a BCL webpage post entitled, Chronology of Peace Process (n.d.), on May 1989, the Panguna mine was closed and PNG declared a state of emergency on Bougainville and sent its undisciplined PNGDF to fight Bougainville rebels. But on March 1990, a ceasefire was reached and international representatives were observing the withdrawal of the PNG security forces. 

If Philip Takaung was recruiting the BRA then, what structure was he placing them into? What was his power of influence over these men? Chinese revolutionary leader, Mao Zedong, had Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse Tung (1964) to back his political drive to change China but sadly Bougainville did not have such a determined leadership from the late Francis Ona.

So in March 1990, when the PNG government state of emergency created care center occupants began to head home to their PNGDF burned villagers, the militants headed into the urban areas to experience a lifestyle they had never had before and now they deserve it as heroes or liberators of Bougainville.

One witnessed scene: In one of these days, my parents were in an Arawa clothing shop known as Haus Bilas when a band of BRA men entered. They stood watching as they took new shoes and began helping themselves saying to themselves: ‘Wear shoes boys, we have frozen in the bush fighting for this land’. Rotten opposite!

But in Panguna, Francis Ona, after returning home from his hideout and turning his Guava village into the seat of Bougainville power disregarding Arawa, was creating a power structure and order for his militants amidst tension he was the catalyst to.

Francis Ona, who was now the supreme commander of the BRA, organized the BRA structure with his followers in Panguna. The men were stationed there living and eating like gone BCL employees in the company facilities.

In Panguna, the whole BRA companies were given specific sections of the township to reside on. There was law enforcement on the ground; also, with this each BRA unit leaders were provided with the BCL vehicles to perform their duties. But this was military jobs defined by the leaders and absent was the political structure all these make-ups could function within.

Francis Ona was not prepared to give away his hard-earned glory to the known political personalities like the late Joseph Kabui who was now doing nothing in Arawa, the capital.

His prestige was to be protected outright. He was guarded 24/7 by armed men and women at his village; he also had a unit of witch doctors that also guarded him from sorcerers and kept evaluating his health. With that his home was being maintained. A few BCL plants were ordered to upgrade his hideout and he also took ownership of a number of expensive BCL cars and others.

All these happened as the entire BRA and opportunists watched in disbelief.

So Francis Ona opened trouble. BRA men and opportunist fought each other over the BCL properties in Panguna, especially vehicles at first. After the BCL goodies were done with, the reckless BRA and other rascals ran for private properties as Francis Ona kept silent.

The recklessness also disintegrated the big BRA men into creating own spheres of influence in the fight for personal gains. Vehicle after vehicle and other properties appeared in the backyard of individual BRA commanders and those few dangerous BRA man. But all BRA and opportunist of Kieta had gained something for himself.

In Panguna, the Guava villagers used guns to control Panguna for themselves or scare away people whom—gaining nothing against the armed men—begin dismantling BCL houses and so on, to replace their homes back in the villages that the PNG government had burn.

Seeing this chaos, the former PNGDF soldier and BRA leader, Sam Kauona who had also left Panguna for his home in Tororei, then decided to involve the Panguna brothers Joseph Kabui and Martin Miriori who were doing nothing in Arawa as the result of the August 1990 suspension of the North Solomons (Bougainville) Provincial Government by PNG.

Kauona also got the brothers connected with Francis Ona and in 17 May 1990, the second UDI in Bougainville history happened in Arawa with the creation of the Bougainville Interim Government (BIG). But the BRA engineered chaos was already out beyond the perimeters of Kieta and out of reach from the BIG.

Whilst UDI celebrations was on in Kieta, Kieta BRA and opportunists and their followers in other parts of Bougainville were out disturbing peace and justice on Buka Island and much of north and a few areas in South Bougainville and central Bougainville.

To all these the Buka Islanders, according to a online Australian government house committee appendix document entitled, Outline History of the Bougainville Conflict (n.d.), re-invited the PNG army on 13 September 1990 under the blessing of the NEC and eventually leading to the signing of the Kavieng Agreement on the 5 August 1990 calling on the PNG government to establish rule only on Buka and let go Bougainville.

Francis Ona now had some myopic reasons to talk and accuse fellow Bougainvilleans whom, he himself cannot provide the leadership to, many now saw as being betraying Bougainville or much popular phrase then, ‘Salim Bogenvil go bek lo PNG na BCL’ that was known well on the Radio Free Bougainville campaigns and news reels.

The BRA then went reckless as a ‘secret police’ tracking down moles inside Bougainville with orders from Francis Ona. Many innocent Bougainvilleans met their fate; lost their property that were confiscated as punishment by BRA elements thus, leading to spontaneous birth of anti-BRA groups the very first of which was the Buka Liberation Force (BLF) that was created on Buka Island.  

Under the very nose of Francis Ona and his BRA, Bougainvilleans turned against each other; the BIG was late with its leader, the late Joseph Kabui, to exercise power over Bougainville for the now considered military hand of BIG, the BRA had already scared away the Bougainville people.

Bougainvilleans were hunting and killing each other throughout the island as were Francis Ona and Joseph Kabui were playing their own politics in Kieta without control over the whole island of Bougainville. 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

A Panguna kid falling in love with business

Leonard Fong Roka

For Paul Monoung (pictured with his canteen below) he was not there before 1990 to witness his Panguna District so cursed with squatter settlements by non-Bougainvilleans of PNG that sailed to his island to exploit its wealth of opportunities and suppress the indigenous people of Panguna.
Born in 1998 with the peace process after the PNG army had satisfied themselves from shelling his island with Australia supplied mortar bombs and gunships from coast to coast, he did not see the pre-crisis reality that caused the rebellion that eventually killed some 20 000 of his people; one of whom is his blood uncle, killed by the PNG government in Torokina’s Papona village.

Drive in a vehicle from the village of Maingku where the Panguna District starts from on the port-mine-access road into Panguna mine site and down Tumpusiong Valley to Jaba where Panguna District meets Nagovis of South Bougainville and one could work out why young Paul Monoung is significant to Panguna.

Along this section of the Arawa to South Bougainville highway you won’t go hungry or thirsty for retail outlets are lined from the Maingku area (Pakia) into Panguna mine site and down into the Tumpusiong Valley by the road side.

The road side business activities within the Panguna District is raising; there are retail stores, tyre services, fuel stations, vehicle workshops, liquor outlets, traditional food and goods stores, cooked food bars when you eat and markets for fresh garden produce that south Bougainvillean travellers help themselves with.

And this change in the Panguna people is being driven by the money culture backed by the alluvial gold mining in the district.

Our Monoung did complete elementary school in 2010 and should be in Grade 5 now but he is forever on and off from school. He spends most of his time panning gold in his Tumpusiong Valley. He is one of the many kids known in the Tumpusiong Valley as the ‘koro batauinanunaving’ which means ‘gold chaser’.

These kids inherited this tag because of their attitude whereby whenever a gold miner taps more gold in a particular spot along the BCL polluted Kavarong river banks; they are seen to migrate there with their home-made equipment. They will stick around the spot till the gold infested block runs dry and they move on.

In the 2012 Monoung made some K5000 and decided to compete with three other kids of his age who also had canteens nearby who were also members of his gold chasing gang.

He ordered his elder sister’s husband to hand-lumber his timber; purchased a few old roofing iron sheets at K600 from his father’s kitchen hut, and with his brother-in-law they began building his semi-permanent house for his canteen.

He is now shelling all goods except refrigerated goods since he has no private mini-hydro of his own but he plans to buy a generator in Arawa which will be dismantled and place in the water system to be built soon to operate a freeze he plans to buy soon.

‘Nephew, that store you photographed me when you helped me to weave the bamboo wall is doing fine,’ he told me over the phone. ‘Stationeries are doing well because of the students at Kavarongnau School. I just purchased a big stereo system to lure customers here and it is happening. My money is growing and I will build myself a permanent house soon after constructing the hydro electricity.’

He said he loves his business but his mother and sisters angers him a lot by doing a lot of credits in his canteen.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Avakori Culture in Bougainville

Leonard Fong Roka

In the Nasioi society of Bougainville there is a saying for males that goes: ‘when you fuck a woman, you must know that you are fucking a garden, a house and everything that will sustain you both’. This is associated with marriage.
This wisdom really is a norm in Central Bougainville to South Bougainville; unlike the north, it is not that evident. And in the proverb above, it is the situation where it tells a man that ‘he is fucking a house the moment he is naked on his woman’ that is the catch phrase here.

In most Bougainville communities in Nasioi, Koromira, Eivo, Nagovis, Banoni and Siwai (areas I am familiar with) the village concept is dying out rapidly. In the post crisis Bougainville, hardly there is a village community in existence in these communities.

The 10-year Bougainville civil conflict did contributed to the rapid dying of the village systems. The crisis scattered people into refugee camps away from the coasts or into the PNG held care centers thus disturbing the harmonious progress of village living.

But in Buin I discovered such massive villages especially Oria, Laguai and Malabita but the proverb still is prevalent in these villages.

In today’s Bougainville homes are being erected within the extended or nuclear family circles. Males in the family turn to make these isolated and family based homesteads into something of a village scale to the distant eyes.

In the Nasioi society it is evident that little boys as young as six years turn to force their parents or brothers to built them one-room houses. This is a culture referred to as avakori in Nasioi which means baby-works (both boys’ tiny houses or girls’ little gardens are referred to as avakori).

Avakori, especially for younger girls’ gardens, when their brothers or parents support it, contribute to the sustenance of the family.

There is this spirit of independence or self reliance for the youngsters with the old tradition of avakori. Males are equipped to built own homes and females are real independent to make gardens that sustains their families when marriage is reached.

For myself, I did begin to do avakori in the peak of the Bougainville crisis in 1992 in the Kupe village.  Influenced by my peer grouping, I began making my own garden backed by my mother and late in 1993, I began a house of my own supported by a relative.

In my Tumpusiong Valley with modern materials and money from gold is at hand, male kids are well engaged with avakori of little houses (as photographed (above) is my cousin, Tabekau, in his own house that also has electricity supplied ) and females also running parallel with their interests.

This has led to change in the said areas where the young are becoming the breadwinners since in their families or they are more financially independent and not being fed by their parents.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Road of Change for Avaipa: Tumpusiong-Paruparu Road

Leonard Fong Roka

The Avaipa area is landlocked by ranges that sprout west from Bougainville’s main backbone, the Crown Prince Range in the Panguna area. It consists of six major villages namely Kosia (near and borders Avaipa to Panguna), Sipuru, Mainoki, Sirovai, Siuema and Kaspeke before the Bougainville crisis but today it is dotted by hamlets.
Geographically the area is all plain that is sourced from the Banoni coast of South Bougainville but protected by the Crown Prince Range to the north, the Kosia ridge to the east and the Piruo Mountains further west towards the Karato area. It was not linked by a road even though it was just near the multi-million kina Panguna mine that promised Bougainville so much and gave nothing.

The center of activity for the entire area is the Paruparu Catholic station (sub-parish of Deumori), primary school and health center. Popular during the peak of the Bougainville crisis as an educational facility for training health workers and so on, the peace on Bougainville demised it as it pulled people towards the cash economy.

The Australian Panguna mine for funding PNG gave nothing to Bougainville’s Avaipa area as usual. To access government services the Avaipa people walk kilometers across rivers and mountains for hours to Tumpusiong in the south-east or Borumai in the north-east.

But it is the post crisis Bougainville, a Bougainville without a multi-million dollar Panguna mine, that finally blew a wind of change to the people; their hours of shouldering wet-bean or fermented cocoa bags, will be history; stretchers for their sick and death back home will no more because of the newly constructed road from the Tumpusiong Valley into Paruparu.

The road was first dreamt of by the 2005-10 Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) house. This government funded a survey from Borumai and over the rugged Crown Prince Range into Paruparu that cost some K100 thousand in 2009. The surveyors, however, upon completion discovered that Paruparu was so close to Tumpusiong and a road from Tumpusiong would be less costly than what they have done from Borumai.

Thus, the surveyor with local community leaders then did another surveying from the Tumpusiong’s Pingnari section where one of the local leaders, Wendelinus Bitanuma, had his home at a rough cost of another K100 000 of public money.

The surveying team made up of members from the Arawa area of Kieta and Siwai in South Bougainville were rich with two rounds of surveying within 2009 and early 2010. But land related conflicts on the areas the road would run through created by community leaders between the innocent and development needy landowning villagers scared the ABG away and the project was called off; and the village leaders also were not to be seen.

However, in mid 2012, the national MP for central Bougainville, Hon. Jimmy Miringtoro came to the rescue. He allocated some millions for the death project and it was revived to the joy of the people.

The surveyors came back to life with another round of surveying. Groups of people from Avaipa cleared the jungle trail they had used for ages now for the bulldozers to employ to dig up the top soil for the trucks to dump gravel from the Tumpusiong’s Panguna created tailings.

The contract was awarded to Kompaini Transport, a local company from the Koromira area of central Bougainville. They did not waste time when the funding was delayed, but use own money to start the work to liberate the Avaipa people from being slaves of own survival and the state later reimbursed them.

By the Christmas of 2012, transport vehicles were already visiting the Pangtaresi ridge (photo a vehicle on Pangtaresi) that is a center point on the Tumpusiong to Avaipa trail. Situated high on the ridge, walkers rest here having a cool view of both the Avaipa area to the north-west and Tumpusiong Valley to the south-west before continuing their journey neither way.

Rumors also are wide spread that a few Avaipa people and groups were gearing to purchase vehicles that once they had no choice for there was no safe place to keep since their homes were kilometers away in the bush.

Thus the road could be said of as a road of change to the Avaipa people and those peoples surrounding them.