Freedom and the pursuit of happiness are basic human (not just men’s) rights

By PNG Echo

I was appalled and concerned to wake up this morning to Post Courier front-page headlines: ‘Aussie stole my wife’.

Mr John Kundil Goimba
Mr John Kundil Goimba

Firstly, the story is not news – Mr Goimba’s story has had a considerable airing over the years on various blogs that will mindlessly publish anything.

None, to my knowledge have ever questioned the paradigm that Mr Goimba is entitled to have his wife back – even if it would be, clearly, against her will.  Although, I would have expected better standards of analysis and social responsibility of Post Courier.

This is a long-running domestic saga where Mr. Goimba has been trying to manipulate a positive outcome, for himself, for, at least, six years – which is getting his wife sent back to him – as if she’s his possession that he has a right to.

It’s become an obsession – and it shouldn’t be encouraged by front-page, uncritical headlines.

Over two or three years, I have been given this story many times, quite possibly by Mr. Goimba himself – but who can remember, it happened so long ago.

I declined to publish every time because the issues that Mr Goimba wishes to pursue are so mindboggingly twisted – his sense of entitlement to another human being so very warped and, sadly, so symptomatic of PNGs problem with domestic violence.

Australian protection

Fact: Mr Goimba, no one “stole” your wife. Your wife has left you. That she has never attempted to get in touch with either yourself or her children since she initially fled suggests she had some compelling reasons to do so.

As it’s only a select few that are privy to her reasons, including the Australian Refugee Panel, one can only guess at them.

But let’s be logical here. “A loving wife” (Mr Goimba did not call himself a loving husband) does not leave a marriage and children for nothing and seek a protection visa overseas. It’s hardly likely that she was kidnapped by Australians, is it?

At the very worse, she is an unhappy but calculating woman who has manipulated the Australian authorities to grant her a protection visa for her own selfish reasons – maybe in order to find herself a better life.

But the chances of this scenario are negligible.

Any PNGean who has ever tried to obtain any sort of visa from Australian authorities will attest to the rigor of the process. Many complain that the process is unreasonably onerous. What’s more, with the refugee situation in Australia being a political hot potato, there is no way that this woman’s claim would not have been minutely scrutinized before the visa was granted.

So, chances are she has a genuine claim.

Australia is a signatory to the International Convention on Refugees that explicitly outlaws “refoulement” or repatriation to a country where the refugee’s life is in danger. This is likely the scenario that the Panel found.

Consequences of an unresaonable sense of entitlement

Either way, this woman patently does not want is to be married any more to you, Mr Goimba. And she is entitled to both her freedom and her pursuit of happiness – as a human being not as a chattel of you, her rejected husband.

To have pursued this matter so vigorously, without giving up in six years, I find frightening.

This puts Mr Goimba in the ‘stalker’ category, by any reasonable measure and his behaviour would, by now, be ringing many alarm bells with people who deal with domestic violence on a day-to-day basis.  He’s clearly obsessed.

The attitude: she’s mine, I want her, she has to stay put, or else is a very dangerous one for the women involved.

I mean, what does Mr Goimba intend to do with his reluctant spouse if she is made to return to him? Will he hold her captive? Will he assault and murder her if she tries to leave him, again?

Because this is what this sense of entitlement often leads to – the statistics of the occurrence of the murder of a female by her intimate partner or former partner are frightening in Australia, who knows what would be found in PNG if statistics were kept?

Mr Gomba, you need to accept that your wife was, at the very least, unhappy being your wife and was wishing for her freedom. That’s not a crime. What is criminal is that you are trying to demonize the Australian authorities that have given your wife protection – most likely from you.

All women and indeed human beings have the right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness – Mr Goimba, you need to respect that is what your former wife is pursuing – without you.

Post Courier – wake up to your ethical and journalistic responsibilities

Post Courier should be ashamed of themselves for their lack of analysis concerning this matter.

Presenting the story, on the front page, as if the complainant has a genuine gripe against the Australian authorities when, in this instance, they are merely fulfilling their international obligations under the refugee convention is unconscionable.

Post Courier by their tacit sympathy with Mr Goimba’s plight to have his wife returned just perpetuates the attitudes that keep many women subjugated, beaten and broken in a society where many believe there is not a lot wrong with that. She is not a human being, but a possession.

You are feeding Mr. Goimba’s obsession and that’s, at the very least, cruel.

Could it be that some PNG men see that their unhappy wives and partners have now identified a viable road to freedom and they want the pathway blocked lest it upset the very favourable-to-men status quo?

Why is Post Courier uncritically aiding and abetting this agenda?

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How will they know? The dilemma of foreign affairs journalism

By PNG Echo

In an earlier atrocity, the crowd watched as they burned, young mother Kepari Leniata alive. She had been accused of witchcraft
In an earlier atrocity, the crowd watched as they burned, young mother Kepari Leniata alive. She had been accused of witchcraft

She had been hacked with a machete – opened up from her sternum to her pelvis. Her intestines were exposed and spilling out from her cut abdomen. She’d been disemboweled.

The graphic pictures that appeared on Facebook came with the explanation that this was done to her, by her husband, in retaliation for adultery.

Were it in the Middle East, we’d shake our heads and maybe say: “It’s typical of those radical Muslims with their Sharia Law and their lack of respect for women,” wouldn’t we?”

Well it wasn’t. This occurred in a stridently Christian country from where it is said that at low tide, one can walk to Australia

It happened on Australia’s doorstep

It occurred in Papua New Guinea – where atrocities against women happen regularly and despite being Australia’s closest neighbour and the recipient of upwards of $450 million of Australian aid annually, these things are seldom reported.

What’s more, the PNG press themselves are often apathetic and fail to report. There is not nearly enough outrage. The PNG press contains a cross section of the community at large, many who’d consider that the arbitrary punishment fit the crime (and would be able to quote the bible passage that backs their assertion.) The status of women in PNG is abysmally low.

Continue reading How will they know? The dilemma of foreign affairs journalism

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