THE Hela Gimbu Association (HGA), on behalf of the people of Hela, has taken a leading role in ensuring that an apology is given by the Tea Party organisation over the recent row of an image that incorporated US president Barack Obama and a Huli wigman.
The association said this after the Tea Party had “tainted” the image of the Huli by superimposing the face of Mr Obama on a picture of a Huli wigman and portraying him as a witchdoctor in a protest against Mr Obama’s health care plan.
The “doctored” image was placed on emails, on web sites and in the form of posters at anti-health-care plan protests for weeks, attracting adverse comments from Papua New Guineans abroad.
The association said in a statement yesterday that the ridicule done by the Tea Party would be felt in times to come “and our children will have to bear the brand name the witch doctor’s children”.
“This is the national brand name as well and this country cannot accept it,” the HGA said.
It said that its foremost objective would be to retain the good name of the Hela identity and the underlying values behind it, which is the most important concern that the Tea Party had tainted.
“We have never felt such discrimination to our cultural identity as portrayed before the world and we will not rest until we receive an official apology through the global media.”
The HGA called on the Culture and Tourism and Foreign Affairs and Immigration ministers to push for formal apologies for “the irreparable damages caused to our heritage”.
“This is a challenge to this country and we have to show that we will not accept such ridicule and discrimination dished onto our culture,” it said.