Below is a piece from crazy Claire – A Bougainvillean writer, social activist and a few other things. She writes:
“The following was my attempt to be recognized as a serious Papua New Guinean author, I entered it into the 2013 Crocodile Prize Competition with PNG Attitude.
Inspired by three women that look pretty ordinary and even a tad bit ‘ples type’, pushover but trust me it’s all an act covering up an acute razor sharp intelligence. I am humbled to have been able to count them as colleagues.
Dedicated to Maureen, Rosa and Serah!”
Lay back, close your eyes and let my words roll over you, soak into your head filling it with the images I breathe into life as I speak…This is my story about us, each a vine fondly reminisced and woven into this majestic basket of memories of the proud people we once were.
Black earth, black sands and black skinned people, amidst lush green jungle, clear blue skies and a cacophony of birds, insects and cold clear murmuring rivers. In our very own Garden of Eden we were a proud people!
Communal integrity and pride was an important aspect of us, one people with a myriad of relationships that functioned so that the elderly, women, children and the vulnerable were safe and cared for. Justice was about healing broken relationships and resolving problems, not punishment, revenge or justice being served.
We were at one with Mother Earth; the rhythm of her seasons was one with the beat of our hearts. Readily she gave herself to the tender toiling of our hands, giving birth to healthy and abundant crops. We respected her not forcing her to yield too often too soon. Allowing her time to recover until she would push forth a certain plant, which would be a sign that we could work her again.
We respected that there were greater forces in the universe. Our people of the sea knew her winds, stars and seasons like they knew the palms of their hands, they would confidently navigate across thousands of deep blue kilometers to trade.
We were a symbiotic people that truly knew what it meant to be independent. Trade was about seeking what we lacked and giving what we had in abundance so that everyone had enough. Wealth and prosperity weren’t measured by individual wealth but by how much one was able to contribute to society. Everyone shared the burden of ones misfortune.
Our moral standards made sense and were consistent. We looked upon those of few words but with many kind and courageous deeds as leaders. Vision was not restricted to now or the next generation – rather vision was about the future that was beyond our grand children’s lifetime. Outsiders or those who sought power, prestige, recognition and self-gain had no influence or power in our society.
Yes indeed we had it all in our Garden of Eden but now…the blue skies, black sand, the black soil and our black skin are the only remnants of our Garden of Eden.
We raped Mother so Earth savagely with our technology that dug, blasted, and amputated so far, deep and wide! Strangers, a people who will never contribute or affect our lives daily, deceived us into thinking that we needed more in order to be truly sovereign. We lost our lush green jungle, the birds, insects and cold clear murmuring rivers in the process of becoming independent.
Some of us saw this happening and fought a war that was rightly ours to fight, sadly the terms and rituals of peace that comes after the war was not ours. We were broken and humiliated. We lost our integrity and moral compass. Truth and what is right is unattractive so that lying and omitting the truth have become our second nature. The elderly, women, children and the vulnerable are preyed upon, violated or neglected; no one is safe anymore.
Our systems of justice, leadership and trade that worked and sustained us for many millennia are now labeled as backward and primitive. We choose leaders that have selfishly gained and amassed and give purely in order to further their individual gain. We judge by standards that don’t have substance or make sense.
Yes we were a liberated people living in harmony with Mother Earth. We were a people of integrity, peace, justice until chaos was strewn.
The challenge is for us to emancipate ourselves from the imprisoning alien ideals of democracy, national sovereignty, Westminster Systems of politics and justice, modernization, foreign investment and that diabolical obsession that mineral resources equate to independence. Let us return to who we truly are and be a people of standard, who value integrity, truth, what is right and justice with a functional society where everyone is safe, cared for and has enough.