The political situation in Papua New Guinea remains tortured but one thing is constant; resource exploitation.
PNG’s Gary Juffa writes in a powerful Facebook post that history appears to be repeating itself and disaster capitalism must be resisted:
It appears that the lessons from Bougainville have yet to be learned. In an announcement this week, the Papua New Guinea Government has ordered military troops to the Southern Highlands to quell land owner threats and secure the project site for oil giant ExxonMobil. One wonders if this is the right thing to do. The information surrounding the deployment of troops suggests that the deployment is also for the purpose of preparations for the elections. If this is true, then why only Hela Province is the next logical question.
The deployment of troops in developing economies to quell civil unrest, landowner issues, tribal concerns and so forth is nothing new worldwide. One only has to examine the events past and current surrounding oil, gas, gold, diamonds, copper, timber and other such resource developments throughout the world especially in developing nations and one can see parallels to what is happening in Hela. Ever since men became fascinated by the treasures of the earth, on it and in it, man has gone to great lengths to satisfy his curiosity and satiate his fascination, exploring, speculating, digging, mining, extracting, building, inventing, processing, manufacturing and all along the way, waging war and killing his fellow man. History has been filled to the brim with man’s violent and destructive antics on earth ever since he realized his superior intelligence to all creatures.
History certainly provides lessons for all who examine the subject of the Bougainville Civil War. In Bougainville 20,000 lives were lost in a horrible civil war that lasted 10 years stretching from 1988 to 1998. There are a variety of explanations given for the war but fundamentally, the war was waged for economic purpose. Really, in retrospect, everything else is merely relative to that primary reason. If one were to examine the story of “Brokenville” more explicitly, one is led to conclude that the war was a result of hasty attempts to kick start the mine again by a government egged on by big business, to ensure the continuance of operations and therefore the continuous generation of profit. Profit, history teaches us, has been the major reason for wars since the first time man took a club up against his brother. In the case of Brokenville, the guilty parties are both Bougainville Copper Limited (the mining company operating the mine) and the Papua New Guinea Government. The Australian Government was unusually silent during the developing stages of the Bougainville War, although their media like to claim that they had a hand in alerting PNG Defence Force about the engagement of Tim Spicer and Co. This seeming lack of overt input by the Australian Government continued up until the Sandline Crisis, ending only with the offer to broker a peace deal after the expulsion of the mercenary force engaged by the PNG Government to eradicate the rebels on Bougainville.