By MICHAEL DOM – posted on PNG Attitude blog
LAE – Power, power, power. Yeah, sure.
In Papua New Guinea subsistence agriculture is a basic mode of living, resources are communally shared and political power is gained and maintained by the assurance of mutual benefit for all.
It can be challenging to understand that the infant national character (that which emerged through parliamentary democracy) doesn’t know what to do about the vast wealth made available to it.
It has been that way since Somare.
The wealthy know what to do with wealth. The poor know only poverty.
Where does Papua New Guinea sit in reference to these two poles?
Only Bougainvilleans reverted to their true character when they realised that the power structures created by Western imperialists and adopted by PNG elites were leading to the destruction of their homeland.
That is why Bougainville wants independence and why their people bled for it.
They have learned a better way and their national character is born of harsh reality.
Bougainville is already independent.
The PNG government and the rest of the naysayers just haven’t realised it yet because they cannot.
They have a different character.
It may be suggested that according to Melanesian society’s rules of cooperation, PNG should allow Bougainville independence, since no one is coerced to join with others if they don’t want to do so.
Power forces its own way. Mutually assured destruction is its natural outcome.
Observe PNG’s resource use – from Somare, the other guys, to O’Neill and now Marape – but still no sovereign wealth fund.
Power in the hands of the people should not be power for its own sake, it should be the power of cooperation for mutually assured benefit.
I think that is called the Melanesian way.
Two central questions for exploring new governing structures should be: how do we facilitate a return to cooperation and what means do we adopt to keep power responsible?
And I think we’ve been struggling with these questions all along.