Let warriors fight to bitter end

Editorial, Normal

The National, Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WE disagree with Kagua community leader Ben Magani, who has called on the two warring tribes fighting in the Southern Highlands’ Kagua district, to come to the peace table.
We agree entirely with the warriors of the Kandine and Mui tribes who are at war.
They have told the police and peace mediators to stay out of their fight, to leave them to do as they please.
What wise council. This is a free country.
Can the authorities not see that the tribes want to be left alone?
They never invited peace mediators or the police to be there in the first place anyway.
We disagree too with divisional commander, Simon Kauba, who wants the Southern Highlands provincial government to provide sufficient funding for police to camp for two weeks in the district to stop the fighting.
What nonsense!
Whatever for? What a waste of resources and why send good money after bad?
Government or church-built schools, roads, and health facilities have been destroyed or have been abandoned and employees dedicating their lives to serve these people have fled for their lives.
On top of all these madness, we have community leaders calling on government to go and stop the fights.
And we are sorry for the women and children. Yes, we are conscious that many innocent parties are caught in these conflicts but unfortunately it is happening way too often.
Despite mediation, despite police interventions, despite peace ceremonies, despite prayerful Christian ceremonies, the tribal fights flare up again and again and again.
As a wise highlands leader well versed in tribal fights once quipped: “The voice of reason comes from the throat which is a fraction of the distance between mouth and anus. The rest is excreta.
Speak once, if nobody will listen, abandon them to wallow in filth. The experience might be enlightening.”
Why not abandon the tribes to their own devices, after all this is what they wish.
It will not be long before one side or the other or both realise the futility, the wastage and the pain that comes with fighting.
When peace is realised at that point where each side is conscious of the cost of war, true and lasting peace will prevail.
In any case, there are not enough police personnel or enough money and resources to commit to such areas.
Send the resources to those communities deserving of such resources, to communities that are willing to look after government personnel and property, communities which are willing to volunteer labour, land and materials in exchange for services, communities who value peace and harmonious coexistence above violence.
There are enough such communities to be found throughout the Southern Highlands and throughout other parts of the volatile and turbulent highlands region of Papua New Guinea.
Make non-violence a condition of goods and services delivery. Services ought to be withdrawn from any community that chooses the path of violence and unlawful conduct.
They cannot embrace both violence and developmental efforts. They are incompatible but throughout history the go­vernment has stupidly been trying to make them compatible. Therein lays the crux of the problem.
The government has to come up with laws and policies that spells out clearly to the people that if they choose the way of violence, so be it. They will have to do without goods and services that improve their living conditions.
If a community wants compensation for a piece of land for schools or hospitals or any other government infrastructure, then the government should not build there at all. It is up to the community to get together and decide what it is it wants: Development or their piece of land. They cannot have both. One has to be used to pay for the other.
If a school or health centre is burnt down in a fight, the government must first claim compensation from the community for the cost of the building or government infrastructure. The compensation must be paid before any discussion ought to be entered into regarding any future infrastructure. That way the government recovers the cost of infrastructure to use elsewhere.
It has been dealing with its own people all this time and the government has again, stupidly, failed to learn from the experience.
The people claim compensation for everything so too must the government.
Set that in law.
Fair is fair.