Why SOE is Bougainville 2.0 and why leadership is needed | By Jaive Smare

When I was young boy, I witnessed a leader of the moge tribe in hagen stop his ten thousand strong tribesman by almost sacrificing his life. It was a bone chilling, terrifying experience, a display of leadership that was is a truly cultural phenomena of Western Highlanders.

He stood before them and the path to their anger, and he said “Kill me first” He meant it. His own tribe men were so conflicted, some wanted to kill him. I wached as my mothers people came inches within killing him.

In the end, they cried out of frustration and turned around. He was their leader. A true big man in Western Highlands fights for peace above everything else. Kanges are aggressive. One Kange in the middle of a thousand Engans or SHP will still go toe to toe.

When a Kange wants to fight, there is no backing out of it. Stopping a whole tribe of Moge’s was force of leadership. It was not an isolated event. A decade later, a jiga leader was saved at the last minute after he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, trying to stop his tribe from starting a war that would have decimated Hagen.

He said if you want to fight, then I will die first. If it wasnt for his nephew who hit his arm, deflecting the pistol shot that the bullet grazed his temple, he would have been dead.
Around that period, I was in Bougainville and the late great Patrick Ita told me how he negotiated down to the last day, what he saw was an industrial dispute in Bougainville.

When he saw the Soldiers coming off the boat, he told the DF controller, “You have killed me. Soldiers are not trained to negotiate, they are trained to fight. You have killed me.”

The BRA dragged Patrick Ita off the dockyard to be hung and Ona cut him down that day.
Decades later, we could lose Bougainville. I dont want to. You dont.
We could lose bougainville not because they want to leave. We could lose bougainville because the leadership perspective that soldiers on their own people has not changed at all. Patrick Ita recognised the problem as an industrial dispute and land rights. Not an armed conflict. Not a rebellion or successionist movement.

There is an SOE in SHP. Their are soldiers up there. Our boys and our girls, to kill our boys and our girls. Like Patrick Ita, the one voice of reason, the Police Commander Joseph Tondop, who is seeing the problem in Southern Highlands as a Leadership problem, and not a secessionist problem, has been fucking sidelined. I know Scott Waide that calling it another Bougainville is premature. But I am calling it. This is another Bougainville.

And we are in the fight for our young democracy and we dont even realise it. Southern Highlanders can fight. And all roads lead to Hagen. Bougainville is an island. God gave us a chance to learn, to fix a great wrong that we committed
Peter Oneil is not my Prime Minister.

I come from Warriors. My great great grandfather cleared the coastline that we call our home. My mothers father started Hagen Kofi. My father was the first national administrator of Western Province, Manus, and Western Highlands.

He physically arrested warring Manusians, cult leaders, cannibals, Jiga’s in the middle of killing people. I am not even making this shit up. One of my uncles tells me his favourite story of my dad. The shock of seeing this coastal guy running into the battle field to arrest him and hundreds of others and ship of to Manus to strip the World War 2 excess and build proper roads for that town.

My grandmother walked from Boiken, East Sepik, to Bulolo, and up through the Kuli Gap to marry my grand father who was station in hagen. My GF who would years later, die and be buried in Matupit because of injuries sustained during the war from saving allied troops and civilians (he was a national police officer).

Yeah. my dad and his people built this country. My mother, the teacher and her people built this country.

No Southern Highlands Son or Daughter should die by the bullet of a PNGDF soilder. Bougainville started with sabotage. Patrick Ita, God bless his soul, called it right. Soldiers and police are not trained to negoiate. Thomas Eluh is the wrong person for the job as controller up there.

Bougainville had a massive resource project that was causing problems. SHP/Hela does. Bougainville started with Sabotage out of frustration because of decisions made in Waigani. Tick. Waigani appointed a controller from NGI. Tick. Bougainvilleans dug up guns from Torokina and armed themselves. Tick.

This is not an isolated incident. Too many details are lining up.
Peter Oneil is trying to politicise the issue by saying people are politicising the issue.

Go lo ples blo yu na toktok lo ol lain blo yu. Na sapos ol traim yu, em i orait. Em ol lain blo yu.

Steven Biko said there is no success with struggle, and no sacrifice without struggle.

We are dearth in leadership in PNG today. There is a vacuum so large and wide that we will lose Bougainville and we will lose SHP and we will lose more than we care to imagine

I look at my freinds, all of them, and within my closest circle, there is absolutely none of them I can call a leader.

In Parliament, Bryan Krammers post about his direct handling of the Madang crisis, reminds me of the ethos of my uncle who stopped his tribe, my father who stopped warring tribes, partick ita who negotiated to the last day at the wharf in Kieta as the sunset in Bougainville for its longest night.

The sun is setting on our young democracy, and we have to ask ourselves, are we ready for night. We have to ask ourselves which leader will we follow, whose post will we share, who’s fake account will we block, which of our friends will we dump, who will we love the most tonight.

300 people died on a boat to mainland PNG, and there is still no justice. Kato Ottio died of negligence and thousands are dying of negligence and there is still no justice. We have alcoholics and drug bodies ruining our villages and our neighbourhoods and there is still no justice. There are schools with no desks in POM and PNG and there is still no justice.

They burnt a plane in Mendi. Because they want Justice.

No Southern Highlander should die in this SOE. No Papua New Guinean too.

3 comments on “Why SOE is Bougainville 2.0 and why leadership is needed | By Jaive Smare

  1. So sobering and bone chilling. History of yesterday can repeat itself in SHP and HELA. Resource curse and death. Its not a law and order issue. Its political. I wonder how much was exchanged to keep the SHP MPs shake hands in Waigani while frustration and anger has been watered down, but uprooted. .. time soon will tell


  2. I.B Mautu

    That’s the issue here, always watering down the seriousness of every issue and blanketing every effing problem! When are they gonna stand up to their problems and be ‘leaders’ for once! Say it like it is Jaive. Excellent piece.


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