By PNG Echo
It is not only the 800 languages or the ecological diversity that makes PNG unique (although that too): it is also the rage of young PNG men, manifest and misdirected in extreme forms of physical and verbal violence.
And it’s not just me that’s noticed.
Journalist, Jo Chandler, in an article she wrote following the public burning alive of Kepari Leniata in 2013 said:
“[Father Jan Jaworski, Polish born surgeon working in Kundiawa] blames much of the escalating violence in all spheres on deeper social malaise, in particular the angry frustrations of young men.
”They are without prospects in the new world, and without skills for the old one.”
Groups of vigilante males are employing extreme violence against ‘evil witchcraft’, known as ‘sanguma’.
Routinely blamed for every unexplained misfortune befalling a community, especially sudden deaths, Sanguma nowadays, is no more than a convenient excuse for drug-fueled sexual sadism and voyeurism – occurring with alarming frequency.
For while there is still much ignorance of the modern world in the more remote parts of PNG, there is certainly more awareness than there was when customary retribution lacked the nasty elements of torture.
Then there are the vicious groups of young ‘raskols’ who roam the streets of the capital looking for opportunities to release their frustrations – mostly, although not exclusively, on those weaker than themselves: females.
What’s more, the young PNG male hunts in packs, always ready to vent his spleen on someone perceived to be injured therefore a ‘soft’ target. It’s why the women accused of witchcraft are rarely (never ?) women with strong male ties.
This savage is not noble!
The ‘pack mentality’ also reigns on many of PNG facebook discussion sites where verbal violence is in a league of its own.
I have read some frightening examples of the rage unleashed on anyone who would dare to disagree with the testosterone saturated (and arguably ignorant) opinion of the writer, especially if the person dissenting is female and especially if he (although it can also be ‘she’) has the mob on side.
One such diatribe was unleashed on me on the popular facebook site Sharp Talk when a ‘God-fearing’ young PNG (Morobean) man of my brief acquaintance, David Ephraim, ( an entrenched member of the Barmy Army) went for the ‘slam dunk’ of winning his argument with these words:
…when you get cancer in your body and it eats away your body slowly, remember Papua New Guinea.
Another Morobean,( judging by his pseudonym of Benjamin Zgia – Zgia being a Morobean tribe, they tell me) on the other hand was not going to leave my demise to chance. He threatened:
We work for Belden Namah soon you will find out when your face is smashed!”
Still not content, he went on:
I work for Belden Namah soon I will put a bullet through your brains.
…Talk too much you get your mouth blown up!”
Ironically, it is not unusual that the violent verbal venom comes from the mouths of those who would consider themselves pious.
Convinced they have God on their side, they have completely missed the principle tenet of the religion they’re espousing.
The good Father from Kundiawa however hasn’t and he…
… worries that the rage of young men will one day propel the community back to the tumbuna – the time of the ancestors.