LAND: That is what makes us special

By Martyn Namorong*

What is the first question a Papua New Guinean would ask another when they first meet?

“Where are you from?"

This question as innocent as it may sound had major consequences during those days of tribal warfare. For it was forbidden that one should trespass in another’s land or extract resources from it. The penalty was DEATH! That was the Law of the Land.

However, even our so called kanaka forefathers who are referred to as ‘savages’ weren’t absolutely savage. It’s hypocritical that Europeans would call them savages when Europeans were trading African slaves and committing genocide against indigenous communities that they colonized. Who are the real savages then?

Many Papua New Guineans live with the inferiority complex gained from the biased brainwashing they receive at school. Even today many so called educated elite are suckers to foreigners. Politicians and Public Servants still say ‘yes Masta’ to so called Consultants also known as Technical Advisors. What's the point of having an education if you’re still going to behave like a colonized kanaka?

Just recently, our Prime Minister shamelessly went to Australia to get foreign neo-colonialist to come and make all the Public servants go gooogooogaaagaaa yes Masta.

So what makes us special?

Over 80% of our population are rural subsistence farmers. They own land and they live by the land. And they do not say yes Masta to any foreign crackpot. They were never colonized and they are never slaves to neo-colonizers. They are independent sovereign peoples.

Now you colonized elites call them whatever you want and say they are a problem because of what to term as ‘landowner issues’. They see it differently. They’re defending their sovereignty over the land. They’re protecting their identity as a people. An identity that is link to the sacred sites, hunting and fishing grounds, the environs and the activities that calendar trees tell them to do or prepare for.

And they’re asking you, ‘where are you from colonized mind aka intellectual elite?’

The land belongs to us. That’s what makes us special. And no amount of compensation can cater for the loss of culture and societal existence. When we protest against cultural genocide you call it ‘landowner issues’ when you’re the one tearing up our heart and soul.

* You can follow Martyn on his own blog - The Namorong Report


Great article thanks Martyn!