Today, is so unlike the 1980s when blissful ignorance (in retrospect) was sweet.
Even with the US and the USSR in a cold war, Papua New Guineans read news that was already days old by the time it reached them.
As the two superpowers fought proxy wars in Latin America and US-supported military dictators rose to power, Fidel maintained a firm hand in Cuba and remained a staunch comrade to the Soviets.
Papua New Guineans cared little about the Spanish speaking brothers thousands of miles away.
In the 1990s, we saw the first Gulf War on television as Bush Senior’s America bombed Saddam’s Iraq. We watched as the bespectacled, cigar-smoking, Iraqi Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz, denied reports that US troops were at their doorsteps.
The billions made by arms dealers was the stuff of conspiracy movies that Hollywood fed to the masses in America and countries like Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guineans lived in the comfort of a bubble. Shielded from the realities of the cold war, we as kids, discussed the possibility of nuclear war between the US and Russia. War was glorified and weaponry and military technology worshiped.
Of course, Rambo defeated the Russians in Vietnam and then in Afghanistan. This was documented history. Rambo 1, 2 and 3! Shoulder mounted, heat-seeking stingers and insect like Russian helicopters were the topic of discussion.
Then came the end of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany. It heralded the end of the Soviet empire and the drawing open of the iron curtain. At least, that’s what the media told us.
Fast forward to 2007, the arrival of Digicel in Papua New Guinea gave people access to near real-time news and information from all over the world. Within three years, news was accessible on personal devices,
Fast forward again 10 years to 2017… I think that’s when my depression and anxiety began.
2017 is the year of Trump and Kim. Two rich kids entrusted with deadly military arsenals of the their respective countries. Someone asked me: “What I thought about Trump and Kim?” I said, while scrolling through the BBC website on my phone, “They’re two children with loaded pistols who care only about feeding their egos.”
China has been like an older big sister to North Korea, trying her best to talk her dangerously armed kid brother out of a playground fight with an even bigger bully… She has had little success.
While the nuclear titans squabbling in the north, a tiny minnow in the Pacific fires off a diplomatic note hoping it will reach the house of Kim’s lowliest serfs.
I become more depressed. Embarrassed, even. We become the butt of jokes on the British tabloids which has pictures of half naked archers and a derogatory headline, poking fun at the sovereign state of Papua New Guinea.
In the age of mobile phones, social media and the internet, gone is the blissful bubble of ignorance of the 1980s.
As soon as Kim farts and Trump tweets, the rubbish is sent straight to our cellphones.
Kim wants to stay relevant in the world around him. Without nukes, he’ll be just another dictator capable only of killing his own people to stay in power.
And Trump? Well… he needs to make money from the South Koreans. He already said so himself.
When I go home, I switch off the TV.
Forget Al Jazeera, BBC and CNN. Someone said they are addictive pills that cause you depression and anxiety. A weekend of watching the news topped of by reading through Facebook updates on North Korea and Trump are enough to make you reach for the bottle to numb your sorrows.
So to end, I echo what my dear wise friend said this week….
Let’s pray for Kim and Trump while meditating on Psalm 109:8 which reads:
“LET HIS DAYS BE FEW, AND LET ANOTHER TAKE HIS OFFICE.”