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T H E V I E W
_________________________________ News and Views from
Welcome everybody to our Newsletter for November/
It has certainly been some time since our last Newsletter
and I must say that, as usual, it is just great to be back in
touch with everybody once again. Please let me take this
wonderful opportunity to very sincerely wish everybody
all the very best.
My heartfelt thanks go to our many valued members
who have taken the time to write and for sharing so
much with us all. Words cannot adequately express
my deepest appreciation and gratitude for your most
welcome contributions and very kind support.
Once again, please join me in extending a very warm
and sincere Oceania/Pacific Island welcome to all our
new members who have joined us since our last
September/October 2011 Newsletter! I would most
sincerely like to welcome you all on board! As always,
please make yourselves feel at home, sit back, relax,
and may your stay and time with us be most enjoyable,
mutually beneficial and most rewarding!
The objective of this Newsletter is to promote
worldwide the Pacific Islands and, in particular,
the island people. In addition, the intention of
the Newsletter is to aid in the preservation of
our island culture, history, genealogy, mythology,
ethnology, anthropology, customs, etc. including
rituals and lifestyles.
In doing this, the Newsletter shares and makes
available a wide selection of rare, historical and
contemporary postcards, along with extensive
picture galleries of the countries and the people
of Oceania. These are still being extensively
upgraded and are of tremendous interest and
value to people who are interested in the history
of Oceania, as well as to our Oceania/Pacific
Island people who wish to gain a greater
appreciation of their beautiful island heritage. http://www.janeresture.com/oceania_resources/postcards.htm
In addition, the Newsletter introduces some of
the many lesser known beautiful, important and
very interesting islands and places of the Pacific/
Oceania region. http://www.janeresture.com/home/index.htm
NEWS AND VIEWS
The Pacific Islands Forum gathering in Auckland
last September was most notable not so much for
what it did, but for what it did not do. Indeed it would
be fair to say that the Forum ended with a whimper
rather than a bang given some of the most pressing
issues the region is facing were completely ignored.
Fiji’s suspension was not lifted, lacklustre Forum
Secretary General Neroni Slade was not replaced,
and delegates did not agree to back the placing of
French Polynesia on the United Nations' list of non-
decolonised territories. All three decisions reflect
the dominance of Australia and New Zealand over
the regional summit, which also brings together the
leaders of fourteen Pacific Island states.
In addition, West Papua’s self-determination failed
to rate a mention, in spite of a high profile protest for
human rights and a public plea for a United Nations
special representative. The communiqué released
mentioned nothing of the fledgling and troubled Pacific
colony ruled by Indonesia, despite the regional body’s
heavy rhetoric so far on human rights and self-
determination. This did not, however, prevent the
Forum leaders from considering French Polynesia
in its bid for decolonization. The bid was aimed at
getting Forum support for the territory to be re-inscribed
on the UN decolonisation list after being removed by
France in 1947.
Fifteen human rights and social justice movements
based in Australia and New Zealand called on the
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
to immediately appoint a special United Nations
representative to investigate alleged human rights
violations in West Papua and its political status.
Australian Prime Minister Gillard said no more than
that she would refer to the communiqué "regarding
applications to the Forum as observers".
On the issue of Tahiti independence, member churches
of the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) at their
recent meeting in Samoa have pledged their support
to Maohi Nui (Tahiti) in her struggle to gain independence
from France. 'Maohi Nui’ is a name that refers to the
indigenous people of French Polynesia in the language
of the archipelago's most famous island, Tahiti.
President Oscar Temaru of Tahiti, in a special address
to the PCC church leaders, appealed to the churches
of the Pacific to help in his country’s fight for independence,
by listening to and aiding the people of Maohi Nui in their
plight. Mr. Temaru presented the historic and continuing
oppression of the indigenous Maohi people at the hands
of the French authorities from 1880 to the present day.
President Temaru called upon PCC to actively support
Maohi Nui’s quest for self determination and compensation
for the nuclear testing during the 1970s. The church leaders
in attendance were unanimous in their support of this call.
Mr. Temaru noted, however, that: "Without the UN as a
referee between France and us, this is once again an unfair
and uphill battle. We seek a balanced evolution of our
relations with France, under the observation of the UN."
The PCC said that they would stand beside people under
colonial rule and walk with them in their journey towards
a future of their own choosing. It is unacceptable that in
this day and age we continue to accept the existence of
colonies in the Pacific region.
On the positive side, Australia has pledged $200
million to Pacific Island nations to tackle education,
health and environmental issues. The biggest component
of the spending is $152 million for the continued running
of a network of training colleges in Papua New Guinea,
Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu.
Australia will also spend $500,000 on encouraging the
people of Kiribati to play basketball, volleyball and
football as part of an initiative to address chronic
conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Australia would also spend $13.5 million on alleviating
the effects of climate change in the Pacific, including
the planting of mangroves on Kiribati and other water
supply, agricultural and coastal maintenance projects
in the region.
Also mentioned were the pressing issues of violence
against women and children, corruption, poor maternal
health and infant mortality statistics, governance training
and educational achievements. It was also recognised
that women were seriously underrepresented in Pacific
parliaments, and they have also struggled to have their
voices heard at the Forum. Where does that leave them?
Millennium Development Goals for maternal health,
infant mortality, access to health services and education
will never be achieved if women's voices are not heard.
Finally, one of the Forum's previous director of economic
governance, has indicated that the Forum's efforts to unite
and strengthen the region were pointless without Fiji's
involvement. He indicated that he felt that among other
things, the regional trade deal, cannot go forward, and
anything to do with integration cannot go forward without
Fiji, the largest of the Pacific nations and a founding
Forum member, was once one of its most active
participants. This time, however, a meeting was
organised in Fiji to rally support among island leaders
and to demonstrate that although Fiji has been suspended
from the Forum, and from the Commonwealth, because
of its government's refusal to countenance elections for
another three years, it remains the hub of the Pacific and
has considerable political clout.
The Prime Ministers of Papua New Guinea, Solomon
Islands and Tuvalu attended, as did the Foreign Ministers
of Nauru and East Timor -- though the latter is not a
Forum member -- and ministers or other representatives
from five more forum countries. Discussed was a plan to
build a regional police training centre in Fiji. Its progress,
and its potential sponsors -- including possibly China --
will be watched closely by Canberra. The fact the Forum
is alive and well 40 years after its creation is a mark of
success. However, it is most certainly past time for this
regional body to carry out a stock-take of its achievements.
This is particularly so considering China's influence is
growing in the Pacific. Also the Melanesian Spearhead
Group centred on Fiji, is now giving expression to a
sense of Melanesian solidarity that is in part directed
against Australia. In response, the US has rediscovered
the South Pacific.
The American aid program to the region has resumed
after a break of 16 years, possibly as an indication that
the United States seems to be losing faith in Australia
and New Zealand's ability to maintain its interests in
Influence in the islands is also being contested by the
United Arab Emirates who recently announced a
$US50m aid program, in an area where it appeared
to have no obvious interests.
All this leads to the conclusion that the Pacific Islands
Forum may not be as central to Pacific islands' concerns
and to regional co-operation as many, including Australia
would like it to be, and perhaps imagines it is. Indeed,
the recently concluded gathering in Auckland may well
have been a complete damp squib were it not for the
accompanying razzmatazz of the rugby world cup,
currently underway in New Zealand. On concluding
their fruitless deliberations, the majority of Pacific
Island leaders merrily dispersed to catch a game or
It is a sad fact that the women of the Pacific region
are among the most discriminated against in the world.
These women suffer shockingly high domestic violence
and maternal death rates, do most of the work for a
fraction of the male wage and have virtually no
representation in public office.
Just under 3 per cent of all elected leaders in the
Pacific are women - the lowest percentage in the world.
The region is now far worse on women's parliamentary
equality than the Gulf states. In fact, five of the nine
countries that have no female parliamentarians are in
Even Ban Ki-moon, during his recent visit to the Pacific
Islands Forum, became disturbed by the issue of women's
representation. He acknowledged that the situation in
Papua New Guinea in particular, disturbed him.
The problem for women seeking public office in the
Pacific region is quite complex. Apart from considerations
of traditional cultural values, there is straight out
discrimination and the refusal of men to vote for a good
woman candidate with endemic corruption is also being
a factor in some cases. Women with little access to wealth
(or pigs) are in no position to offer the traditional feast that
a successful candidate is expected to provide.
The women of the Pacific, and in particular the educated
women of which there are more and more, are all articulate,
intelligent and hard working. They are seemingly equipped
to run a powerful campaign and become great MPs, but
without intervention this will never happen. Also it has been
suggested that the greater the influence of women in public
life in developing countries, the less corruption exists.
To improve the lot of women in the Pacific will most
probably be a long and difficult journey, A good start
would be to tackle the problem of domestic violence in
the region. This is particularly so as 60 per cent of the
Pacific countries have no domestic violence legislation
and two in three women have reported physical and/or
sexual violence at the hands of their spouse or partner.
Perhaps then the next step would be to get some
women elected to the parliaments of Tuvalu, Nauru,
Palau, Micronesia and the Solomon Islands.
It is most pleasing to see that the Republic of the Marshall
Islands is now home to the world’s largest shark sanctuary.
The legislation passed by the Marshallese Parliament, ends
commercial fishing of sharks in all 1,990,530 square
kilometres (768,547 square miles) of the central Pacific
country’s waters. To put the sanctuary in context, it
covers roughly the same area as Indonesia, Mexico or
Saudi Arabia, and is about eight times bigger than the UK.
Key provisions of the comprehensive Marshall Islands’
law include a complete prohibition on the commercial fishing
of sharks as well as the sale of any sharks or shark products.
Its zero retention stipulation requires that any shark caught
accidentally by fishing vessels must be set free. In addition,
large monetary fines, of anywhere between US$25,000 to
US$200,000, would be incurred by anyone found to be
fishing sharks or in possession of shark fins.
The Marshall Islands follows the lead taken by Palau two
years ago, whose sanctuary was then the world's biggest.
Other nations including the Bahamas have since followed
suit. However, with the Marshall Islands as with Palau
and some other countries, there are questions over the
capacity of authorities to monitor fully such huge
expanses of ocean.
This legislation is particularly important as many species
of open ocean shark are under serious threat of extinction.
Among those listed as endangered are two species of
hammerhead shark, often subject to "finning" - a practice
of removing the fins and throwing away the body.
Indeed, sharks are "profoundly vulnerable" to overfishing,
principally because many species take several years to
mature and have relatively few young.
In addition, many pelagic sharks are caught in high seas
tuna and swordfish fisheries. Although some are
accidentally caught in nets meant for these other fish, they
are increasingly targeted for their meat, teeth and liver oil,
and because of high demand, particularly in Asia, for
It is also most pleasing to see that an unprecedented
agreement toward the cooperative stewardship of a vast
swath of Pacific Ocean has been reached, and
conservationists are heralding it as among the most
ambitious, innovative, and collaborative marine initiatives
At the recent annual Pacific Islands Leadership Forum,
held in Vanuatu, Heads of State and Governments from
15 nations endorsed a draft framework for the long-term,
sustainable, and cooperative management of 38.5 million
km2 (nearly 24 million square miles) surrounding their
collective islands - an area comparatively larger than the
land size of Canada, the United States and Mexico –
The Framework, called the Pacific Oceanscape, aims
to address all ocean issues from governance to climate
change, as well as design policies and implement
practices that will improve ocean health, increase
resources and expertise, and encourage governments
to factor ocean issues into decisions about economic
and sustainable development. It represents perhaps
the largest marine conservation management initiative
in history, as measured by countries and area, and a
new united Pacific voice on ocean conservation and
In a Communiqué announcing the agreement, leaders
from Australia, the Cook Islands, the Federated
States of Micronesia, the Republic of Kiribati, Nauru,
New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the
Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands,
Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu agreed to a Pacific
Oceanscape framework, and "reiterated the critical
importance of ensuring the sustainable development,
management and conservation of our oceans."
Introduced to Forum Leaders in 2009 by President
Anote Tong of Kiribati, the Pacific Oceanscape plan
was designed with support from Conservation
International (CI) which has also committed technical
and scientific assistance for implementation. These
historic measures were spurred by Increasing threats,
including climate change, to Pacific Island states.
Indeed, climate change threatens the very existence
of many island states. Rising sea levels, overfishing,
warming ocean temperatures pollution, and acidification
are changing our oceans in ways that our ancestors
could not have imagined, There is no doubt that there
is an urgent need for island states to join together and
face these common threats in order to successfully
manage and conserve the ocean's precious resources
for present and future generations of people."
Tong added, "The new Pacific Oceanscape will help
us build resilience in ocean ecosystems so that marine
life has the best chance of adapting. Only by doing this
can there be some assurance that the oceans, and
millions of people who depend on them directly for their
livelihood and well-being, will survive the onslaught of
global climate change."
Agreement of the Pacific Oceanscape plan this week
came on the heels of similar large-scale success in
the region as UNESCO named Kiribati's Phoenix
Heritage site. The designation makes PIPA's
408,250 km2 the largest marine World Heritage site
on the planet, and a natural climate change research
laboratory that offers scientists many opportunities
to study impacts of climate change, now and well
into the future.
With formal adoption of the new Pacific Oceanscape,
leaders of island states now hope their demonstrated
leadership and success in improving ocean health
will spur replication among other governments and
regions that depend on the many benefits of a
healthy ocean for their own national wellbeing.
Conservation International chief scientist for oceans
Dr. Greg Stone said his organization was committed
to the Pacific Oceanscape initiative and environmental
work in the Pacific. In cooperation with Dutch NGO
A-Spark Good Ventures, Conservation International
acknowledged their commitment with a US$100,000
grant to Pacific Oceanscape. Private US organization
MacArthur Foundation also offered support through a
$500,000 grant towards the initiative. Countries
supporting the initiative include Australia, Cook Islands,
Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New
Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic
of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands,
Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
A NASA image showing the deep canyons among glaciers along
the northwest coast of Greenland. Photo: AFP
The area covered by Arctic sea ice has now
reached its lowest point week since the start of
satellite observations in 1972 - a new historic
This is of particular concern as Arctic ice cover
plays a critical role in regulating Earth's climate
by reflecting sunlight and keeping the polar region
Retreating summer sea ice - 50 per cent smaller
in area than four decades ago - is described by
scientists as both a measure and a driver of global
warming, with negative impacts on a local and
planetary scale. It is also further evidence of a strong
human imprint on climate patterns in recent decades.
The sea ice retreat can no more be explained with
the natural variability from one year to the next,
caused by weather influence. Indeed, climate models
show, rather, that the reduction is related to the
man-made global warming which, due to the albedo
effect, is particularly pronounced in the Arctic.
Albedo increases when an area once covered by
reflective snow or ice - which bounces 80 per cent
of the Sun's radiative force back into space - is
replaced by deep blue sea, which absorbs the heat
instead. Temperatures in the Arctic region have risen
more than twice as fast as the global average over
the last half century.
In addition, the Arctic ice cover has also become
significantly thinner in recent decades, though it is
not possible to measure the shrinkage in thickness
as precisely as for surface area. Satellite tracking
since 1972 shows that the extent of Arctic sea ice
is dropping at about 11 per cent per decade indicating
said that summer ice cover could disappear entirely
by 2030, leaving nothing but heat-trapping "blue
There is no doubt that the stunning loss of Arctic
sea ice is yet another wake-up call that climate
change is here now and is having devastating
effects around the world.
This is particularly so for the low-lying nations of
the Pacific region including Kiribati, Tuvalu and
the Marshall Islands.
From Kiribati, we are indebted to our good friend
Atanimane Neeti for providing us with a little further
information on the recent visit of the United Nations
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his 30-plus
delegation to Kiribati to experience first hand the
impacts of climate change. This high-level UN mission
was expected to affirm issues and concerns of Kiribati
and small island States with climate change, hoping
to accelerate means of support needed within their
Apart from constructing sea walls, one option being
considered in response to rising sea levels is to move
the country's entire population (100,000 people) onto
artificial islands particularly as some villages in the
country have already been forced to relocate due to
rising sea levels.
It is estimated the plan would cost $2 billion and
was not Kiribati's preferred option but everything
was being considered as the country looked to
secure its future.
Certainly some atolls are showing early signs of
sea level rise with water tanks urgently needed
in outer islands suffering salt water contamination
in their wells.
An observer has recently indicated that the trees
are dying. And the local people indicating that the
sea is coming under ground and mixing with our
main subsistence food which is taro. The water
around the village is very salty and the locals
can not even wash or cook with it.
From Tuvalu, The Red Cross says the atoll of
Nukulaelae (one of the nine islands of Tuvalu) is
very low on fresh drinking water and has requested
government assistance. A joint assessment mission
was sent to Nukulaelae where the team also delivered
11,000 litres of water to its more than 300 people
residents that should last about two weeks. In an
information bulletin, the Red Cross says 90 per
cent of the population of Nukulaelae is being
rationed, with 40 liters [about 10 gallons] of
water per family per day.
Thejoint assessment mission has indicated that
several people, including children, are suffering from
diarrhea and vomiting, and about 50 per cent of the
people do not boil their drinking water, despite
awareness efforts to do so.
In addition, a state of emergency has been declared
for the next 14 days because there is a low level of
water on Funafuti island as well. The Red Cross
says the availability of water is critical as it is
impacting the local crops including taro, breadfruits
It says the Public Works Department estimates
that with the rationed amount, the community
will have a minimum of about two weeks with
the remaining water.
The government of New Zealand has responded
to a call for help from the Tuvalu Government by
urgently sending two desalination units to Funafuti.
As well, the United States Coast Guard has sent a
vessel with more than 100,000 litres of fresh water
to drought stricken Tokelau after the government of
Tokelau declared a state of emergency.
The lack of rainfall is also adversely impacting
on Samoa, American Samoa, Tokelau and Tonga.
Sadly, this situation is unlikely to improve in the
short term as a result of a lingering La Nina weather
pattern which looks to be redeveloping after being
the main weather influence last summer.
In addition plans are underway to resettle residents
of the flood-prone islands in Papua New Guinea’s
Autonomous Region of Bougainville to the Bougainville
mainland. These include the Carterets and other
outlying islands such as Nissan, Mortlock and
Tasman islands which are all experiencing a severe
In a classic case of David and Goliath, Palau, would
like the International Court of Justice to find that
nations have a responsibility to ensure that their
emissions do not have a negative impact on other
states, faces a long road to achieve its goal. First it
must persuade the General Assembly of the United
Nations -- which has the authority to request a legal
opinion from the Netherlands-based court - to approve
Legal experts on climate change say an opinion,
while it would not have a direct effect on any individual
nation, could help set the parameters for future climate
negotiations and influence litigation both between
nations and in domestic courts around the world,
including in the United States. In his statement to the
General Assembly last week, Palau President Johnson
Toribiong said it was essential that "we determine what
the international rule of law means in the context of
Palau, a chain of more than 200 mostly low-lying
islands in the Pacific Ocean, roughly 500 miles east
of the Philippines, is among the group of nations most
at threat from rising sea levels attributed to climate
change. The Marshall Islands, another Pacific Ocean
state, has joined Palau in making the request. The
General Assembly has been asked to "seek, on an
urgent basis ... an advisory opinion from the
International Court of Justice on the responsibilities of
states under international law to ensure that activities
carried out under their jurisdiction or control that emit
greenhouse gases do not damage other states."
At this time it is not yet clear if Palau's proposal will
win the backing of the General Assembly as Palau
has not yet formally asked the assembly to take
It is particularly disappointing to see that the recent
South Pacific Forum again failed to address the
problems of oppression and environmental devastation
in West Papua, particularly since that take over by
Indonesia in 1969. New Guinea, geographically as well
as historically, is Australia's closest relative. Separated
from the mainland during the last glacial period, the
waters filled in what now separates them: about 152km
of the Torres Strait. While Australia and New Guinea
both have enviable mineral stores, economic and
political exploitation has left the latter as home to
many of the poorest people on Earth. New Guinea is
also an island of two histories.
The eastern half forms the independent state of Papua
New Guinea - a status it has enjoyed since breaking
from Australia in 1975. With its natural resources of oil
and industrial metals, Papua New Guinea has long been
exploited for its minerals at places like Ok Tedi and
Both projects ended in social and environmental disaster.
The environmental impact of Ok Tedi was so great that,
in 1999, the then chief executive of Australian mining
company BHP, concluded that the mine was not
compatible with BHP's environmental values. But it did
serve the company's pursuit of profit. It was not until
the Ok Tedi environmental disaster three years later
that the true impact of BHP's mining practices came
to the attention of the global public. BHP subsequently
sold its interest, established a fund to restore the
sustainable development of the affected people, and
received immunity from further prosecution.
The western half of New Guinea has had a lesser-
known but equally tragic history centred around the
Jayawijaya Mountain, home to the Amungme, and
farther downstream, the Kamoro people. As with
much of East Asia, the indigenes were under Dutch
rule when a geological expedition in 1936 located
a significant ore mountain deep in the south-western
highlands. World War II intervened, and the Japanese
claimed Indonesia and some of the western parts of
Following defeat in the war, the Japanese were
marshalled back to their home territory, and Dutch
colonialism resumed. Importantly, when Indonesian
independence was obtained from the Dutch in 1949,
few knew of the mineral ore hidden deep in West
The Dutch began a ten-year Papuanisation programme
in 1957 that would see West Papua handed back to
the indigenes, and would create the independent state
of West Papua around 1972. Despite multiple territorial
claims, the ore mountain lay dormant for over 20 years.
On March 6, 1959, the New York Times reported
the presence of alluvial gold in the Arafura Sea just
off the coast of West Papua. Reminded of their earlier
discovery, Dutch geologists were said to be returning
to the ore mountain, now simply known as Ertsberg.
The indigenes, meanwhile, as part of their programme
toward independence, established a Papuan National
Council and provisional government as well as their
own military, police force, currency, national anthem,
and flag. At the time, West Papua's independence
was due before the United Nations Decolonisation
Commission, and representatives took part in various
cultural and political activities throughout the region.
By December 1, 1961, the West Papuan "Morning
Star" flag had been raised alongside the Dutch for the
first time. Many assumed that independence was
Unbeknown to both the indigenes and the Dutch, US
mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold
was negotiating directly with Suharto - at the time an
Indonesian army general - for a small group of its
experts to prospect this ore mountain. The path into
West Papua through Suharto promised to be fruitful
for Freeport, since its board was stacked with the
Rockefeller's Indonesian oil interests who already
were versed in the general's way of doing business.
An exploration agreement was reached, and soon
after a geologist from Freeport was forging his way
through the wilderness toward Ertsberg. West
Papua was about to change hands again.
Armed with Chinese and Soviet weapons, as
well as an increasingly public friendship with the
communists, Indonesia declared war on the
Netherlands. To protect Western interests from
the threat of communism, on August 15, 1962,
the United Nations and the United States
orchestrated a meeting between Dutch and
Indonesian officials during which interim control
of West Papua was signed over to Indonesia.
Six years of UN interregnum followed, after
which a plebiscite would decide whether to
form a separate nation or integrate into Indonesia.
All 815,000 West Papuans were to vote in an
Act of Free Choice. To ensure a favourable
outcome, the Indonesians worked to suppress
Papuan identity. Raising the West Papuan
flag and singing of the national anthem were
banned, and all political activities were deemed
subversive. Indonesia ruled through force, for
self-interest. Alarmed by ongoing media reports,
on April 5, 1967, in the British House of Lords,
Lord Ogmore called for a UN investigation. By
early 1968, with Suharto having assumed the
presidency of Indonesia, a US consular visit
almost unanimously agreed that "Indonesia
could not win an open election" in West
In a desperate attempt to secure West Papua's
right to self-determination, two junior politicians
crossed the border into Australian-administered
Papua and New Guinea on May 29, 1969. They
carried damning evidence of Indonesian repression;
the hopes of a yet-unformed nation rested on the
politicians reaching the UN. As Australia and its
allies were amenable to Indonesian control of
West Papua, the two were imprisoned upon
crossing the border until after the referendum.
Their brave plea was silenced.
Between July and August 1969, less than a
quarter of one per cent of the population-some
1,026 West Papuans - signed the country's
freedom over to Indonesia. The election, held
under the aegis of the UN, was far from an act
of free choice. The following day West Papua
was declared a military operation zone, the
local people's movement was restricted, and
expression of their national identity banned
under Indonesian law.
Control of West Papua proved a lucrative
business deal for the Indonesians. Two years
prior to the Act of Free Choice - coincidentally
on the same day the plight of Papua was raised
in the House of Lords - Freeport signed a contract
of work with the Suharto government entitling a
jointly owned company, PT Freeport Indonesia
(Freeport-Indonesia), full rights to the Ertsberg
mine. In return, Indonesia would derive significant
tax revenues and fees as well as a minority 9.36
per cent shareholding. Without the authority to
do so, Indonesia nevertheless cut itself into a
deal that sold large tracts of West Papua to the
US company, intent on sifting it for copper and
Although Ertsberg fulfilled its promise, as
production slowed in the mid-1980s, Freeport-
Indonesia began to explore surrounding mountains
and ridges for other reserves. As is often the case,
the best place to establish a new mine is next to
another. Sure enough, significant copper and gold
reserves were located at Grasberg only a couple
of miles southwest of Ertsberg.
Observing the Grasberg mine via Google Earth,
one sees a scar like no other: Located about
13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level,
open-pit (above ground) mining has bored a
hole through the top of the mountain more than
half a mile (1 km) wide. What they're digging for
is more than $40bn worth of copper and gold.
Every day the operation discharges 230,000
tons of tailings (waste rock) into the Aghawagon
River. This process is expected to continue for
up to six more years, at which point exploration
will go underground until there's no value left.
Freeport estimates that will occur by 2041.
The operation is so large that it has shifted the
borders of the adjacent Lorenz National Park.
Listed as a World Heritage site by the United
Nation's Educational, Scientific, and Cultural
Organisation (UNESCO) in 1999, the park is
"the only protected area in the world to incorporate
a continuous, intact transect from snowcap to
tropical marine environment, including extensive
lowland wetlands". For the Amungme and Kamoro
indigenes, corporate imperialism had replaced
European colonialism. The ramifications are both
environmental and social.
The social and economic condition of the
indigenous Amungme and Kamoro poses
fundamental human rights concerns. Although
Freeport-Indonesia directly or indirectly employs
a large number of West Papuans and is regularly
Indonesia's biggest taxpayer, in 2005, the World
Bank found that Papua remained the poorest
province in Indonesia. With a marked rise in
military personnel and foreign staff has come a
number of social issues, including alcohol abuse
and prostitution such that Papua now has the
highest rate of HIV/AIDS in Indonesia.
Indonesian control of West Papua has been
characterised by the ongoing and disproportionate
repression of largely peaceful opposition. Few
sustained violent interactions have occurred;
however, in one major conflict in 1977, more than
1,000 civilian men, women, and children were
killed by the Indonesian military in "Operation
Annihilation" after a slurry pipe was severed
and partially closed the Ertsberg mine.
More recently, in 1995, the Australian Council
for Overseas Aid reported that the Indonesian
army and security forces killed 37 people involved
in protests over the mine in the preceding seven-
month period. While the level of violence is difficult
to establish, academics at the Centre for Peace
and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney
maintain that up to 100,000 West Papuans may
have been killed since Indonesian occupation.
They call what's happening to West Papua
There are also two primary environmental concerns
over Grasberg. The first is that the mine discharges
230,000 tons of waste rock a day into surrounding
waterways; given the escalating rate of processing,
this rate is arguably above that allowed by national
law. Secondly, acid rock drainage - the outflow of
acidic water - has resulted from the disposal of a
further 360,000 to 510,000 tons a day of overburden
and waste rock in two adjacent valleys covering 4
miles (6.5 km), up to 975 feet (300 metres) deep.
The mine operators dispute both claims.
Riverine methods of waste disposal are banned in
every developed country on Earth. The World Bank no
longer funds projects that operate this way, due to the
irreversible ecological devastation, and the International
Finance Corporation requires that rock be treated prior
to disposal, which is not a practice carried out at
Grasberg. Since the mid-1990s, a number of
independent environmental assessments have found
unacceptably high levels of toxicity and sediment as
far as 140 miles away. Indeed, Grasberg's reserves
are so vast that extracting them is expected to
create 6 billion tons of industrial waste.
President Suharto, who is now recognised as one
of the most corrupt and tyrannical leaders in history,
renewed Freeport-Indonesia's exclusive mining
rights in 1991 for a further 30 years with an option
of two 10-year extensions. The license included an
option to prospect another 6.5 million acres (2.6
million hectares), as far as the Papua New Guinea
(part of this material has been extracted from the
book, Evolutions in Sustainable Investing: Strategies,
Funds and Thought Leadership, by NAJ Taylor to be
published by Wiley in December 2011.)
With rising sea levels making the low-lying islands
of the Pacific more and more uninhabitable, it is the
Pacific islanders that reflect the human face of climate
change and global warming. This is particularly so as
they often live on a mere spit of land in the middle of
a vast ocean which is lapping higher and higher on
their shores. However, many of our island people,
who predominantly subsist on fishing and often the
sale of fishing rights, are only now coming to the
realization that they may become the first culture on
this planet to be displaced by a global disaster that
is not of their making.
The people of the Pacific Islands have made these
low-lying islands their home for thousands of years
and in the process have developed a deep and
beautiful cultural heritage as well as a deep
understanding of the ways of the sea. There is little
doubt, however, that they will eventually be forced
to move to higher ground as the sea claims their
land as well as the bodies of their ancestors.
Finally, it is most interesting to see that genome
research has now found a relationship between
our earlier relatives Neanderthal man and Homo
sapiens. In fact, it was found that many of us are
As usual, Pacific Islands Radio is always keen
to promote our talented island musicians
worldwide in order to satisfy the continuing
demand for our beautiful and distinctive Pacific
Island music! In this respect, should you know
of any island artists whose talents you would
like to see promoted, please contact me on:
Our four Pacific Islands Radio Stations play the
enchanting music of the Pacific Islands 24 hours
MELANESIAN MUSIC (WEST PAPUA)
Like most indigenous cultures of the South Pacific, music and dance are integral to the West Papuan identity. Singing takes place at funerals, ceremonies, in times of suffering and in times of celebration.
Musical groups exist, both at home and abroad - even in the refugee camps, where suffering and worry are the people's daily food. Here they sing, form choirs, make simple instruments and continue their musical traditions as they have done for centuries.
It takes courage, however, to sing of freedom in West Papua - the territory that's been administered by Indonesia since the 1969 Act of Free Choice. Any cultural expression that doesn't fit neatly within Indonesian national ideology is definitely frowned upon by the Indonesian authorities.
Melanesian identity is certainly celebrated, by the West Papuan group, Black Paradise. Their album "Spirit of Mambesak" includes songs from different areas of West Papua-Biak, Manokwari, Merauke, Sorong, and Arso-and the diverse cultures of the islands.
A driving force behind the band is Ferry Marisan, who jointly produced "Spirit of Mambesak" with Australian musician David Bridie. Marisan graduated in anthropology from the University of Cendrawasih in Jayapura. Together, with most members of Black Paradise, he works with the Institute for the Study and Advocacy of Human Rights (ELSHAM), the leading human rights organization in West Papua.
This combination of academia, performance and human rights activism follows a path travelled by Arnold Clemens Ap-the famed cultural leader who formed the band Mambesak with Eddie Mofu and Sam Kapissa in the late 1970s. These early leaders of the Papuan cultural renaissance are now dead. Ap was imprisoned by the Indonesian authorities for alleged sympathies with the outlawed Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM), and was killed in 1984, supposedly while trying to escape from prison. Kapissa died of "food poisoning" in 2001, but many West Papuans believe he was murdered by the Indonesian military.
A central feature of Arnold Ap's work was to collect and perform songs in local languages-music that still unites the disparate peoples of a nation with more than two million people. Ap collected songs that fuelled a sense of West Papuan identity, from coastal and mountain communities and from east and west, songs that celebrate a connection with the land.
Twenty years after his death, the influence of Arnold Ap resonates through the music of Black Paradise. Their "Spirit of Mambesak" CD includes songs like "Tata Mena", first collected by Ap in the 1970s. Ferry Marisan's song "Mambruk ma Manyouri", sung in the Biak language, uses the Mambruk bird and the Nuri bird to symbolise Ap and Sam Kapissa, who also served as a mentor for Black Paradise.
Mambesak performed songs from around the country, and Black Paradise follows the same tradition. There are love songs like "Aye Nanaweye", the string band tune that opens the album, and music that evokes love of the land, the bush, and the mist on the hills. "Metamani", sung in the nawatan language, pictures the Metamani River.
This sense of place takes on a sharp political edge, at a time when politicians in Jakarta, Port Moresby and Canberra stress that West Papua is part of Indonesia. As David Bridie notes: "Something as innocuous as a song about the beauty of the mountains and the rainforest is quite political, because of the freedom of being able to hunt and farm on your own land. If you're denied that, the songs take on a stronger meaning."
Bridie has been a strong promoter of Melanesian music in Australia. His interest was sparked by visits to Papua New Guinea in the 1980s with childhood friend Mark Worth (the Australian filmmaker who tragically passed away in Jayapura). Bridie's former band, Not Drowning, Waving, recorded their 1990 album "Tabaran" in Papua New Guinea, and he formed a continuing partnership with Papua New Guinea musician, George Telek.
Bridie's visits to Papua New Guinea inspired greater awareness of the situation facing West Papuans across the border: "I was quite political, but it really struck me not knowing about this situation - knowing more about Nicaragua and El Salvador than I did about the history of West Papua."
Arnold Ap was a singer, guitarist and tifa drummer. He had intimate ties with customary leaders and other artists. He was appointed Curator of the Museum at the CenderwaseH (Bird of Paradise) university in Jayapura. He believed his role was to uncover, cultivate and develop Papuan songs, language, stories and arts which he believed were under threat. He saw the university as a "Khasana" - meaning a treasury or storage area for valuable objects. Ap was concerned to represent West Papuan culture as being with Melanesia rather than the rest of the Indonesian archipelago. He formed the music group Mambesak in 1978 which travelled the country recording the songs and dances of different regions, encouraging their continued performance
Mambesak was formed to uncover, revitalise and introduce West Papuan traditional artistic culture. They played songs of Papuan freedom. Their music was aired on local radio stations and on village tape recorders. Their cassettes were extremely popular amongst all Papuans. His producing and recording of songs in local languages rather than Bahasa was considered a political statement, akin to flying the flag. He was arrested in November 1983. He was seen as a threat by the military rulers such was his status. He was accused of writing songs that were intended to inspire the OPM separatist struggle.
On April 26th,1984, Arnold Ap was killed by soldiers. Allegedly as he escaped from jail where he had been detained since his arrest in November 1983. By his people, he was regarded as a "Konor", a philosopher, a saint with many powers. These people always think good thought, have a true understanding of life and can even foresee the future. Ap sang the song "Sup Moyiwa" (my ancestral land) just prior to his assassination which included the following lyrics.
"I am sailing away, I am sailing away to make my way To look for knowledge as a foothold in life for the time to come Clouds at the peak of the Blue Mountain, Sad hearted but joyful, In the land of my ancestors, On a certain day tomorrow, I imagine the suffering of my people, my nation, my mother, my father as well as my people that earthly; and leave behind with great yearning."
BLACK PARADISE SPIRIT OF MAMBESAK
This is an album of extraordinary beauty and integrity. I found the music to be rich and appealing, with vocals and harmonies that are melodious, pleasing and compelling.
This album successfully retains the values, colour and identity of each of the different indigenous groups in West Papua from which the music is derived..
Produced as part of a movement aiming to preserve and revitalise indigenous song and dance, this album successfully introduces the music and song of West Papua to the international community.
I think that, on its musical strengths alone, this album deserves to be heard and appreciated by a worldwide audience
FEATURE ARTIST ISRAEL KAMAKAWIWO'OLE
The gentle giant Israel Kamakawiwo'ole is regarded by many as the most honoured Hawaiian singer of all times. This gentle giant who sadly passed away in 1997 at the young age of 38 left behind a remarkable legacy of five solo albums and ten disks with his group, the Makaha Sounds. In a 20 year carerr,
Israel composed and interpreted major works of
contemporary Hawaiian music.
With an amazing vocal range, and the voice of an angel, he was an artist whose extraordinary talent left no listener untouched.
Following his death in 1997 at the young age of 38, the body of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole lay in state in the state capitol, only the second person to receive such an honour. Kamakawiwo'ole's appeal lies in his love for prestatehood, precondominium Hawaii. Iz sings with great passion about a Hawai'i of earlier times, before being overrun by mainland developers and Japanese tourists and, indeed, the regret of native Hawaiians over losing their sovereignty... The voice is supple, ethereal, with only a ukulele accompaniment and the expressiveness of his gently passionate voice can float through higher registers with ease, and can melt the hardest heart.
One of Hawaii's most beloved singers, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole made an impression on Hawaiian culture that will never be forgotten.
His untimely death
in 1997 was a national day of mourning, and rightly so. His work, not just in Hawaiian music, but also in keeping the Hawaiian heritage and culture alive, gives inspiration to all, and this collection of songs gives a great window into a truly legendary performer. Israel "IZ" Kamawiwo'ole, the man, may be gone, but his music has made him immortal. Even if you have never visited Hawaii or listened to Hawaiian music before, buy a copy this CD and it will immediately become one of the premier discs in your collection.
Soak in the enchanting sounds of the sun-drenched Oceania/Pacific Islands coming to you in 64kbps FM Stereo!
* * * * * NOTICE BOARD
It is certainly my great pleasure to be able to again introduce to you all our new and hopefully beneficial fourth Domain:
The name of our fourth Domain - Our Pacific Ocean - has been selected to reflect our close affinity with and our love of our vast and most beautiful Ocean. This Domain effectively sits across our other three Domains and, in doing so, provides updated information as well as ease of navigation via the alphabetical index provided for you and all our visitors on the Menu.
The above Domain has been successfully in operation since late 2008. Also, I have incorporated a considerable amount of new material including numerous postcards from the Philippines and the Pacific/Oceania. This upgrade also provides significant authentic and most colourful images of Oceania.
This Web site draws together a wide range of Oceania material in order to allow visitors to access this information from a common source. This information includes an extensive range of Oceania mythology, ethnology, tribal art, tattoos, postcards and picture galleries, as well as links to the home pages of the countries of Oceania, Pacific Islands Radio Stations Web sites and to other Oceania Web sites. http://www.janeresture.com/oceania_resources/index.htm
This Web site contains a short list of reference material that may be useful for people wishing to trace their genealogy, particularly if they are descendants of the early traders of Oceania. http://www.janesoceania.com/oceania_genealogy/index.htm JANE RESTURE'S OCEANIA PAGE
Jane Resture's Oceania Page was developed to present and highlight an extended range of material in conjunction with Jane's Oceania Home Page. In doing this, it will allow the visitor to readily access information about the Pacific Islands. http://www.janesoceania.com/index.html JANE'S OCEANIA TRAVEL PAGE
Jane's Oceania Travel Page exists to provide the traveller with information to assist in the preparation of a travel agenda. The information on these pages is complemented by links to the various travel authorities throughout Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia as well as other Pacific Islands. These authorities will be able to make available more detailed information as well as arranging accommodation and attending to the other needs of the traveller.
Throughout Oceania, there is a vast and comprehensive variety of attractions and interesting places to visit and see. From the ancient mountains of Papua New Guinea to the coral atolls of Tuvalu and Kiribati to the modern cities of Hawaii, please settle back and enjoy an armchair traveller's visit to the exotic, enchanting, mysterious and beautiful Pacific Islands. http://www.janesoceania.com/tourism/index.htm
The following are extracts from a few of the
many most interesting and often touching letters
that I have received since our last Newsletter. I
would very much like to share some of them with
you as I find these letters to be most gratifying
Please join me in thanking these wonderful
people for sharing their kind thoughts with us.
Should you like to get in touch with any of
the writers of the letters below, please do
not hesitate to send me an e-mail and I will
arrange a contact. Certainly, many of our
members and the writers of these wonderful
letters have been in mutually beneficial contact
with each other. Indeed, it is one of the aims
of making these letters available to our
members so that people can share their
common interests in the Pacific Islands.
As an aid to appreciating your most kind
letters, I shall also include, in conjunction
with some of the letters, the relevant Web
sites to which these letters relate.
Miss Jane Resture:I write from Mexico, I hope
you understand my English, it’s not very good.
I write because a few days ago saw an article in
TV about Kiribati, and I saw images, and the
preoccupation of the president Anote Tong by
the effects of the climatic change.In TV the
landscape is beautiful, I can’t imagine a fascinating
place. But today, I find the page of Kiribati, and
find your page, and I’m here to write to you.Thank
you by showing the natural beauty of the Pacific
Islands, because you give other reasons of care to
the planet, we live very far, but I think that I have
the obligation to express that you live in a special
place, to surround the nature, with ancestral
traditions that to keep up the identity of your nation.
Good day to all our friends here, on Facebook and
to all our many subscribers to our Jane's Oceania
Home Page Newsletter incorporating our Pacific
Islands Radio Newsletter.
It is most pleasing that the number of subscribers
has more than doubled since our last August 2011
Newsletter. No words can adequately express how
much I really do appreciate your welcome response
and I look forward to welcoming you all on board to
share our love for Oceania/Pacific Islands! Thank
I am so very excited about all of the above issues
and I invite
you all to
me in our
prior to the
2011 and the
to and for
go to all
may be at
this time -
you have all
I am taking
is the time
to do it
it is too
This can be