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Paradise Destroyed

Paradise Destroyed

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Published by Suzanna Burke

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Published by: Suzanna Burke on Sep 06, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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I have had the privilidge of living in Paradise. I have hadthe gut-wrenching experience of watching it turn to hell.I have lived on both sides of the razor wire, as one of themajority race in my own land. Moreover, I have lived asthe white minority in somebody else’s.This is not intended to be a history lesson; no nationalgeographic photographs accompany it. It’s my personalrecollections, backed up by fact.Many of you will have seen ‘South Pacific” the movie.Do you remember the scenery? Hold that awesometropical setting inside your mind. Visualize the beauty of the mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and rivers. Imaginelong stretches of golden sand where footprints would notbe found.That, my friends is something that comes almost close toPapua New Guinea’s majesty. A tangible, breathablekaleidoscope of color, sound and an indefinable magic.Those of you who have not seen the movie, or havenever gazed longingly at travel brochures of tropicalparadises, will need to take my word for it.
This place was a close to heaven on earth visually as Iwould ever get.****Papua New Guinea is an island divided. Papua is ownedand governed by Indonesia. New Guinea in 1972 wasgoverned by Australia; we had annexed it as a Territory.It had been an Australian Protectorate since 1920.In 1943, the Japanese occupied the island. After theJapanese surrender, Australia was again givenprotectorate rights.New Guinea obtained Self Government in 1973 andIndependence on 9/16/75. .This place is filled with ancient superstitions, and evenmore ancient tribal traditions and customs. There at 850known dialects.Many villages have yet to see a white face; their isolationwithin the mountainous terrain is assured for a long whileto come.Even the capital city of Port Moresby is not connected byroad to any other city in New Guinea; engineers have yetto find a way of doing it.The geography of the island is spectacular.Two villages discovered only in the past two decades,were a bare four miles apart...and knew nothing of the
others existence. They worshiped different Gods--andspoke a different dialect. The only common thread wassimilar diet, and longevity.Instead of a network of roads, you have in excess of 500airstrips, most of them un-paved. These are capable of taking small planes only. The capital Port Moresby andthe much smaller cities of Lae and Rabaul are the onlyplaces where large jets can be accommodated.So--you have an island lost in time, whose peoplesshould have been left to discover their own path, in theirown way. That didn’t happen.The resentment brewed slowly over time, in a cauldronmixed with fear to make a potent, deadly, toxin. Itsimmered and then began to boil. The steam and thepressure continued to build.Touchdown Port Moresby...February 1972.I lived in that incredibly beautiful place; I was able to seeit before Independence was granted. When it was stillregarded by many of its white inhabitants as a colonialoutpost. This included their own version Of ‘Raffles’ hotelin Singapore.The New Guinea version was called the 'Davara'. Itwas situated right on the beach with balconies all round,allowing clear views of the magnificent South PacificOcean in all its turquoise wonder.

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