Thursday, 9 June 2016

Papua New Guinea - The Present Violence


You may have come across this story this morning (9th June 2016) the content of which I found deeply shocking although unsurprising in view of my studies and travels there.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/09/papua-new-guinea-shootings-at-least-eight-gunshot-casualties-but-no-fatalities-confirmed


The author Michael Moran on KarKar Island - happier and more peaceful times. Such a beautiful part of the world and such friendly people.

I find the present violence at the university in Port Moresby where demonstrating students have been shot by the police appalling. A desperate people simply protesting at their perception of corruption. The government and police massive response is tragic, misguided and inflammatory. 
It seems Papua New Guinea - well, Port Moresby anyway - has become very dangerous indeed. Although warned from all quarters against doing so, I wandered this city many times chatting to friendly locals entirely without fear. No, not at night..

I must say I really did not find PNG 'dangerous' at all - quite the opposite in the Island Provinces - but then I travelled there many years ago. 

I am sure the media reports are accurate but by their very nature unfortunately give a greatly distorted and myopic view of the country as a whole. It is a picture greatly at variance with  the majority of warm, hospitable and friendly Papua New Guineans I met on my extensive travels. Melanesian culture is one of the most ancient and most harmonious on the planet. 

PNG is an enormous place and cannot possibly be considered as culturally homogeneous. That is the problem. An inappropriate Westminster style of government has been grafted upon a culture made up of a huge number of significantly different tribal groups lumped together in a governable, utilitarian blanket concept known as 'Papua New Guinea'.



In my book Beyond the Coral Sea: Travels in the Old Empires of the South-West Pacific (London 2003 - and still in print) I seriously, rather than sensationally, examine in great detail the fascinating country and island cultures of Papua New Guinea. 


I wrote this book specifically about the rarely described Island Provinces of Papua New Guinea (as opposed to the Highlands). I was so proud the book was short-listed for the 25th and final Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. 

http://www.michael-moran.net/pages/books/beyond_the_coral_sea/index.htm

If you are at all interested in a more balanced view of this extraordinarily culturally diverse and beautiful place, please do not make severely negative general conclusions concerning the country from what you read in today's press, appalling as these events appear to be.

For my Polish readers the book has been translated into Polish with the title Za Morzem Koralowym (PIW) and is available at the Bookshop of the Muzeum Azji i Pacyficu in Warsaw, Allegro and direct from me if you email me.




Teraz dostępna tylko od autora
Email: mjcmoran@wp.pl