Friday, August 20, 2010

Papua New Guinea's great war: fighting for opportunity



We are on the verge of untold riches.

Gas, rocks, fish and our blue chip companies are raking billions of kina every year.

Our country will become an El Dorado where our cities will be perched with gold.

Our landscape will have opulent mansions and the people will have wealth like never before. 

Highways will be built and cars from every make will traverse on them.

 Super malls will spring up and they will be our playgrounds.

However, like the enchanted city, conquistadors will come from all corners of the earth to marvel at its spectacle and burn with lust to consume its riches.

They will shower us with their way of life, fill our bank accounts with emeralds and pollinate their beliefs.

In all, our way of life will change.

The question on everyone’s lips is the change for better or for worse.                                                   

  I don’t know but what I do know is that change usually attracts conflicts and conflicts if not managed properly, may cascade into a cesspool of war and destruction.                                            

 Anti-Chinese sentiments in Ramu Nickel, Highlands, Manam, Sepik and Porebada conflicts among landowners are all signs of conflicts.                                                                                                           Even conventional challenges such as crime are now moving into another realm, high flying executives, business tycoons and rogue politicians are now the new face of raskols.                      

  There is talk of the Yakusa, Triad and Mafia converging on our shores and taking a stake of our real estate.                                                                                                                                                             Papua New Guinea, the drums of war are reverberating in our homeland and they will no doubt threat our way of life.                                                                                                                                                     You see war is consumptive, destructive and for those unfortunate souls that have witnessed it, they have scars that will remain in their memories for eternity.                                                                     Carnage, the scent of putrification, destitution and loss, war is destructive.                                              

Although nations pledge to avoid wars, they have become an integral part of diplomacy, economics, politics and even development.

Like in ancient times, modern armies fight anything and anyone. 

From a foreign enemy, insurgent population to fundamentalists, governments have a powerful resource. 

Make no mistake; Papua New Guinea has this resource. 

The men and women of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force are trained killers. 

They have been schooled in the art of war.

 They have hid in pillboxes with future generals, flew in cockpits with top guns, sailed the seas with admirals and have been inside some of the most-secured facilities in the world where warheads contain a payload that can sink the Papua New Guinea mainland.

They are trained to have unquestionable loyalty to the people of Papua New Guinea.

 So when our elected leaders tell them to jump out of a plane to kill an enemy, establish a forward base to bring relief supplies to our people who have been decimated by natural disasters, catch rouge vessels that steal our marine wealth, they do it without hesitation.  Whether they perish in the swamps of Western Province, drown off Nukumanu or die in the cockpit somewhere in the Owen Stanley ranges, they live to protect the freedom we enjoy.  

So we have the capacity to fight.

Our boys and girls in uniform can adapt operational and tactical engagements but they still remain uncertain on one crucial intelligence: they don’t know who our enemy is and neither do we. 

An astute student of war will probe the question, remove the chain of command and the entire infrastructure will collapse. 

From hunting in the caves of Afghanistan for Bin Laden to bombing Hitler’s Eagle Nest, command control must be eliminated.

 So where is the command control in this case?

 Is it the Chinese, Sepiks, Highlanders, Porebadas, Manams, foreign governments, gangsters, raskols, businessmen, politicians?

No, the enemy is us. 

When we stand by and allow the fabric of our democracy to dwindle because of an old man’s insatiable appetite for power, denying health and education services to the masses because it’s not in my personal interest, fund gangsters to protect crime syndicates, we are all guilty of war crimes.

But there is a resistance and it is led by the millions of Papua New Guineans who rise up every day and pray for the peace of PNG. 

As they travail in the presence of God for hope and change, a new generation is rising.  From energetic human rights supporters, internationally-acclaimed environmental advocates, God-fearing CEOs, patriotic government officials, intellectual freaks, coffee growers, mariners, pilots, bankers, buai sellers, fisherman, they are rising to the call.

The battlefields are road blocks where a constable refuses a bribe and charges the driver for drink driving, board members vote against a unscrupulous deal, court rooms where prosecution of criminals is upheld, district treasuries where misappropriation is averted, primary schools where children joyfully recite there ABCs, aid posts where a mothers survive child birth.   

There is nothing to fear PNG being an El Dorado: this is our inheritance, let us cross the river and take charge of it.

 Sure, the current of corruption will be sting, the sharp rocks of death will spike our heels, piranhas of deceit will swarm us but it’s worth the fight because our people deserve a nation of opportunity, security and prosperity.  


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