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June 18 2010 at 7:45 AM
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Why should anyone have to SUFFER for the greater good [as Papua New Guineans are told to do everytime a new mine, logging project, or other resource development starts in PNG]. [This demand to give way for the greater good is stated] as if it is a given, a reality of life not worth challenging. "Suffering" is far worse than being inconvenienced or sacrificing as is more true in countries where people must give up their land for the greater good. In those countries, people are highly mobile, they mix, land is bought and sold readily. None of this is true in PNG.

The model being imposed on PNG by which some people (always villagers) must suffer so that others (nearly always towns people) can benefit has enough sad results in the so-called developed countries. The scenario fits our melanesian culture and traditions even less. When the people of Panguna lost their land, they suffered. They cannot just pick up and leave like Europeans are accustomed to doing. They either are yanked out of their ples, destroying their cultural roots as they are resettled elsewhere, or they remain in place and are thus exposed to all the horrors of seeing their land polluted if not destroyed.

In NO society should anyone have to suffer like this for the greater good. It is not a mark of being advanced or 'civilised' to allow such a conditiono. If the situation exists, then something is wrong and the rules of that society should change.

PNG has enough challenges with our own current cultural norms, such as domestic violence, to deal with without needing the additional, massive complications imposed by foreign resource developers.

Finally, let's put an end right now to the notion that "the people support these resource development projects" in PNG. No, it's not the people. It is a few conmen from the villages, often in combination with town wantoks who push the whole agenda. These people either want to escape village life or they longer depend upon the land and thus have lost respect for it. It is these two groups of landowners, both out for their personal financial gains rather than the betterment of their people in the village, who combine to lobby the majority of villagers to put up or shut up, sign the agreements and welcome the 'development'. Once the resource royalties start flowing in, it is these same individuals who invariably steal money meant for others in the community, shoot off to Moresby, and squander away all the wealth of the land, some of it non-renewable and never to be replaced, on wine, women and gambling in the Ela Beach, Crowne Plaza, or another of Moresby's hotels. They fritter away what is often an opportunity of eternity. The village people suffer. To what end?

Nothing of this common, sad scenario argues that we should fund Waigani's pockets with the wealth of the people as we do through mining, logging, even fisheries projects. If the government was using these funds in useful ways, at least their would be a counterargument. But it does not. The government wastes and squanders, paying attention to the towns but not the villages, offering everyone an illusion of health care (misdiagnoses are the norm) and a piss-poor government education that prepares no one very well for any kind of advocation (witness the government's invitation to Fijians, Bangladesh citizens, and Australians for fast-track jobs with the LNG project). Government workers rarely work, offices are empty. The whole ambiance is that of squandering money, spending as if there is no tomorrow. There is no motivation in Waigani to develop the nation except in the abstract. That attitude will never change until government workers become fearful of keeping their jobs, and the fat cats above them are replaced. Until then, let's not even entertain supporting that rotten to the core establishment. Instead, let's direct our efforts to empowering the village people so that they once more (as they once always did) bring their conmen wantoks back under control.

This message has been edited by 7milebeach on Jun 20, 2010 12:30 PM

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