The legend of the "Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels"; forgotten founders of a free PNG.
It is well that we reflect on the recent presentation of medals to 34 of the
last of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels by Australia.
The "Angels" and the RPC members and the PIB members plus the New Guinea Constabulary members and others who came over the border into Allied territory to serve their country are all of similar status as returned
servicemen/ war veterans everywhere in countries aligned with the Allies
against the Axis forces of Germany and Japan.
They had records-of-service, many suffered wounds and serious illness, and many lost their lives.
At long last a few are being paid the honour and respect they richly deserve.
But the accolades come from another land, not from within their own nation.
These men, those few who survive, and their compatriots now long-gone, are
not given very much thought or regard outside their immediate families, in
the land they fought to save.
The land which became Papua New Guinea- a land free and independent and proud to stand among the democratic nations of the world.
The freedom and the independence now enjoyed by PNG would never have come about if the Allies, including the native-born conscripts and combatants, had not resisted Japan.
The rather silly, even demeaning imagery of the "faithful, simple, black Fuzzie Wuzzies", created in a poem published in the Australian Womens Weekly in 1943 is largely responsible for the myth that these men gave service and gave their lives for the Australians.
An image which conceals the reality.
An image which ignores the fact that these native-born men were fighting for the freedom and the future of the land of many tribes which would one day become Papua New Guinea.
That few of the ordinary populace understood this at the time makes no difference.
It is the truth.
Today's PNG youth and their parents have been led to believe that the war fought in their land was one between outsiders, having no relevance to the village people who were simply pushed about and suffered consequent privations for no reason of any validity to themselves
In fact, the native-born war-veterans are the true pioneers of the PNG nation, the true heroes, the preservers of freedom and the rule of their own society within their own land.
Forget about all the young men in long white socks and nylon shirts who sat up late in the 'sixties, planning their journey upon the developing pathway for independence from Australia.
The majority saw the pathway as one firstly for their own benefit.
For their own rise to privileged "Blakmasta" status, status which coalesced into today's largely selfish and under-achieving political class; the ruling elite with little heart for the people.
Few, if any at all ,of this generation of self-promoting "lidaman" have shown signs of incipient heroism, of a level of honesty,generosity and idealism which might have lifted the nation out of the deep, dark, smelly drain in which it walks today, onto a sunny, happy road which the old war-veterans had every right to expect.
Lets see some real respect and real regard expressed with humility by today's generations for the truth of the contribution to the nation of the Fuzzy Wuzzies.
Let's teach the truth in the schools as a measure towards the one-ness which is lacking in this nation of many tribes; let's have parades and services in every district centre on "the day" each year.
Respect for forefathers is embedded deep within the PNG psyche.
Let's focus this talent of ours upon the memory of the old veterans, and for our own sake.
We who have benefited from their service and their sacrifice.