Shedding PNG blood for corporate interest – didn’t we learn?

Bougainville ... "A crisis that could have been avoided, saving many lives and preventing the destruction of a people and their future had the Papua New Guinea government exercised restraint. Image: Gary Juffa/File

Bougainville … “A crisis that could have been avoided, saving many lives and preventing the destruction of a people and their future had the Papua New Guinea government exercised restraint”. Image: Gary Juffa/File

Gary Juffa | December 22, 2016

The deployment of military troops to Hela province is reminiscent of tragic events that unfolded about 28 years ago that sparked off a crisis and left more then 20,000 Papua New Guineans dead.

When Bougainvilleans decried the unfair treatment of landowners, pollution and lack of the government’s care for fairness and future, the government reacted by sending Mobile Force troops. Their brutal effort at reprisal triggered off one of the bloodiest moments in Papua New Guinea’s short history as an independent nation.

It is to be forever known as the Bougainville Crisis.

A crisis that could have been avoided, saving many lives and preventing the destruction of a people and their future had the government exercised restraint.

Instead, the Bougainville Crisis saw our blood shed for corporate interest in a bloody 10-year struggle.

We are still rebuilding, still recovering.

Will things ever return to normal? Who knows. We can only hope.

Fundamental lesson

The fundamental lesson from that terrible period for Papua New Guinea should be that such confrontations should be avoided as much as possible, and peaceful options be exhausted first and that human consideration supersede corporate interest.

Diplomacy and tact and traditional means of conflict resolution must be exhausted before any such decision is even considered.

Even then there are a variety of possible meditation platforms such as having third party negotiators and international organisations be considered to broker a peaceful way forward.

Some 300 shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) have left our shores with not a single toea returning to landowners. Of course there is bitterness and a sense of anxiety and much concern as to whether they will see any benefit at all.

What are the possible outcomes of the troop deployment?

Do the benefits justify the effort?

All it will take is one mistake that may result in injury or death and we will have another crisis on our hands.

And Hela has the grave potential to be far worse then Bougainville…no doubt foreign intervention would be on the cards.

I hope common sense prevails and we find peaceful resolutions and not the kind of use of force that may lead to regrettable events in the future.

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4 Comments

Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

4 responses to “Shedding PNG blood for corporate interest – didn’t we learn?

  1. Joe

    Corporate greed is one of the fundamentals in the mining industry and second is Foreign policy. Australia’s policy allows the deployment of troops. The divide and rule tactics.

  2. The word “crisis” only softens the intensity of the death of 20,000 people on Bougainville. It was out right “war”.

  3. It is important that we remain in solidarity with the People of Bougainville, but the current Bougainville News website, makes sure that “no comments” are received.
    This website makes out it supports everyone on Bougainville and “outside comments”, but sorry to say, that is not the truth.
    The quicker we get those who really care and get rid of this site, the better.
    White Man, in Canberra https://bougainvillenews.com/

  4. Simon Pentanau caused many deaths on Pok Pok Island.
    He invited the military to kill and slaugther his people. He had NO respect His pay packed was to support the mining company and the PNG Defence Forces.
    Not once did He ever consider his people. They hate him.

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