Reflect on our country’s journey


INDEPENDENCE is a good time to reflect on and rededicate ourselves to the principles on which this nation and our government were founded.
As we approach another independence anniversary, we’re reminded of how our country is free – free of dictatorship, free from foreign occupation and free from the threats of invasion and military domination.
Perhaps those freedoms amount to little in the minds of some.
That is because most have been spared the horrors of warfare. Most have not seen soldiers butcher members of their families in front of them.
Next Monday, we will celebrate the 44rd anniversary of this nation’s Proclamation of Independence – the introduction to the establishment of our government.
While all of us can find fault with government leaders and policies, few of us would trade our system for any other in the world.
Indeed, many of us dream of a country that is free of corruption, crime, ethnic violence and other non-appealing aspects of modern-day PNG but that is an ideal environment that will be somewhat difficult to realise in the immediate future.
We are free to elect our Parliament, and the members of that body are free to govern this nation in the ways in which they see fit, guided at all times by our freely created Constitution.
We are free to speak, and to write, and to meet together.
We are born with a vast network of tribal beliefs and customs, the inheritance of countless generations of ancestors, whose strengths give pride and a sense of belonging to a place and a time.
We are proud, we have survived through many a century, and we can make of the future what we will. We have an abundance of the good things in life.
How then is it possible for many other countries to see us as a failing state, a warring collection of uneducated tribesmen and women?
And why is it so hard for us to move forward in unity, with the confidence borne of a new awareness that we are one people, in one place, for all time?
We rally against those who dare to say anything adverse about our beloved country – yet within that same country, we see ourselves as Highlanders, or Tolais, or Sepiks and rarely indeed as Papua New Guineans.
It is tempting to say that PNG is far less united today than it was on Sept 16, 1975.
Criticism and ambition are the two emotions that trigger our hidden sense of unity.
Faultfinders can be assured of a hot reception from all sections of the PNG community, no matter how accurate the criticism, nor how mild its presentation.
Sadly, most of our politicians fail to see the importance of being Papua New Guineans first, and representatives of their own people, second. Poverty has become a reality in our country, and that’s an outrage.
We have the land, the crops and the social structure to ensure that not one person in PNG ever goes without a meal.
But in our haste to better our own individual circumstances, we have forgotten the oldest and most potent cornerstones in our traditional foundation – the abilities to care and to share.

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