The rage within

By PNG Echo

Just one of 800
Just one of 800

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.”

Torturing of a witch - now a spectator sport
Torturing of a witch – now a spectator sport

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.

Dons 585”, 9 Mile Settlement, Port Moresby. (Vlad Sokhin)
Dons 585”, 9 Mile Settlement, Port Moresby. (Vlad Sokhin)

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.

facebook-logoI 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!”

Peace and love
Peace and love

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.


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5 thoughts on “The rage within

  1. In traditional societies, issues of sorcery, witchcraft was handled by matured men and leaders. What is described here is scary and real with disillusioned youths pumped up with achohol and drugs to target the vulnerable both male and female.

  2. This is far from the truth. These so called Rascals are merely frustrated young people who feel no “hopers, losers, rejected and unwanted” by the total lack of opportunities after they finish their high schools. Please I ask that care and empathy is taken when we are reading these rascals minds. And the fact is this is only a “minute” group of these guys from parts of highlands who are 2 to 3 generations brought up in the towns and the major cities. They do not represent the buld and major population of youth. Most youth affected by these sad state of affairs are trying to upgrade their marks through the help of their parents and trully out there trying to make an honest living. Without prejudice

  3. Iam a regular echo png visitor. my comment.
    1. iam working on the volume2 of my book series: PNG- The Writing is on the Wall, Vol 1 on Corruption already out now.
    2. The PNG Executive arm of govt need change from Westminister to Presidential.
    3. Hon Theo Zerunoc started as the Head of Legislature by cuting down the grand hall totem pole at the Parliament House by the House Committee approving the new National Identity and Unity pillar.
    4. The base will be inscribed the Word of God, the revise Constiturion, the Peoples revised Pledge and the New Covenant with God signed by Sir Michael Somare on the 26 Aug.
    In summary: Our problem in PNG is spiritual, not physical. If PNG with over 1000 ethnic tribes speaking over 850 dilects like the remains of the Tower of Babel: How can you bring unity and law and order to a nation only 40 years old by 16 Sept. 2015? It is only by teaching our younger generation the Word of God. Prov.9. The fear of God is the begining of wisdom. And Prov. 8-Jesus is the Wisdom of God as the Word of God.
    The House Speaker is right. Iam 100 percent sure in believing God for PNG to turn to God this term of O’ Neill Govt.
    The youths burning woman on stakes in the name of wichcraft and forming rascal gangs, rape, stealing and so on is of the past. Where there is corruption in the law enforcing police and govt, the outlaws will suddenly become heros. This was the life of Late William Kapris and his gang. We are not going to have any more such rascals in PNG in Jesus name!
    I visited China and other countries and what we take as Unemployed rascal youths(male and female) those nations by direct govt intervension ;economic SME and training institutions turned their liabilities into national assets.
    Our leaders now are greedy which is idolatry, this is selfish which causes all these problems.
    We have a small population and K15 billion budget targetted on construction. Yet whose companies are awarded those mega contracts?
    I will discuss more details in my second book. But those that want to read the Vol 1 on Corruption, buy a copy for K20 at our Internet Cafe at Boroko Front shop Garden City building.
    I wish to discuss more but have to rush to another appointment.
    May God bless you PNG Echo and all readers and contributors to this forum. From David Herman Nime. Team Leader Help Ministry International Foundation Inc. President- PNG Indigenous SME Foundation Inc.

    • Just to remind PNG Echo readers: Tomorrow 11th Feb 2014 will be the session of PNG Parliament. Hope all MPs discuss the change of the Totem pole debate.
      This will lead to our revision on the PNG Constitution because in our present original form Section 45 allows freedom of religion, allowance is made in Section 38 for revision. Also Schedule 2 of our Constitution allows for parliament to make laws to define our culture and customs.
      Perhaps our Speaker is not a Cultural terrorist but Cultural reformist. He is the brave hero with the house committee championing the national transformation. Thus my earlier comment: where there is corruption in govt and police, outlaws (terrorists)become heros.
      I have to leave this page because when PNG echo touches the youth subject, Iike every parent, I have 7 children. 5 teen agers and two kids. What if I do not do any thing for them by cleaning up this corrupt mess, their lives in PNG will be barbaric and will they ever make it to Heaven where I and mum will be?
      Very goog PNG citizens, let us share ideas and get our elected leaders to act now. Can your MP vote for the Speakers transformation of PNG as the head of Legislature and your MP as legislators.
      Cheers in Jesus name. David Herman Nime

  4. What a bad image for the majority of youths. I think the so called youth federation, community development etc should address this issue seriously. Send them back to their home provinces and teach train them and give opportunities to develop their province than making niusance around the place.