David Wissink, the spokesman for Morobe Mines Joint Venture, asked the question of yesterday’s historic protest: ‘So in reality what was gained?’
Most Papua New Guineans know the answer to this question. But for David’s benefit, let’s spell it out.
1) We showed the government that they are accountable to us.
Now the politicians realise we are not going to let them get away with blatant disregard for us and our rights.
2) We showed solidarity.
Good things start to happen when ordinary Papua New Guineans stand together and start talking about issues we share as a nation.
3) We showed that we are better than them.
They are violent – they let our people be murdered for LNG. They don’t respect our rights – they rushed through an unconstitutional Bill without asking us at all (and now they want us to stop talking about it). They try and divide us and cause conflict between us. WE are peaceful – we marched peacefully, as a nation, and started talking about a better way for all.
David, and mining companies like the one he works for, doesn’t like it when Papua New Guineans speak out. It makes him nervous that Papua New Guineans are thinking for themselves. He thinks: “Maybe they will realise they don’t want or need companies like Newcrest telling them what to think.
“Maybe they will realise they don’t need to support the corrupt government which makes so much money for the miners.
“Maybe they will realise they don’t need mining or foreign companies at all, because they have a better way of making a living (it’s called land).’”
So WE say congratulations to the protesters, who love their country and believe foreign corporations like MMJV and the government they corrupt are holding us back from a better way (our way). And don’t let them try and tell you that you are violent trouble-makers. They are the violent ones, stealing your land and your money. You are the peacemakers: and the future.