Fr. Robert Plews Laka, SVD (My Suggestions)
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Date Posted: Tue, Jan 02 2007, 11:39:19pm
In reply to:
Fr. Robert Plews Laka, SVD
's message, "Can Tribal Fright be Eradicated once and for all?" on Tue, Oct 17 2006, 01:56:55am
My dear brother and sister Engans.
Many seasonal greetings of peace. I was silent for sometimes after proposing the topic of Tribal Fight in this forum. I had reasons for being away. Firstly my academic work. I am now in the Philippines to finish my PhD. At the same time, I have been working on my PhD Dissertation, which I am happy to share with the like minded Engans and Papua New Guineans when I have defended it. For those who might be interested in my topic, I am working on: Empowerment, the “Tapping” of Innate Power for Participatory Development. Well, this is not the issue here, though it has kept me silent for some times.
My dear Engans. I am very much blessed to have your thoughts expressed regarding the topic. I noticed that many of us, almost all of us in this forum have expressed our thoughts against what had destroyed the image of our beloved Enga. After reading your much appreciated thoughts and contribution, I feel that, our approach to the said topic would be participatory in nature. By this, I mean, we are to go back and start with our people. We are live with our people, educate our young brothers, cousins and uncles. Nobody will not listen to us the learned children of our villages. After reaching certain level of schooled people, I believe People will listen to us when we go to them. When we talk with them and listen to them I believe there will be the respect we earn. By doing so, we would help them to make informed decisions that would one way or the other contribute to peace making process. When this approach is taken, I would give a second thought in terms of location. Thus, POM, Madang or other places besides Enga would be ruled out, although, thoughts, suggestions and opinions coming from these areas would be highly appreciated. Wabag would be an idle location, if I may say so.
The reason is my beloved Engans, we all are products of Engan Blood and we have the spirit and charisma of any peace loving Engans who disgrace Tribal Fights. Though we may be victims of the said topic, yet the quest for avenge of the lost of our loved ones still linger in our hearts, whether we like it or not, whether we are aware or not. People would put pressure on us to take revenge. My father was shot, my uncle was slaughter and I remember carrying the dead corpse of my step brother to be buried. The pain of revenge boiled down through my nerves, yet, I told my own brothers and tribes men, “one life is lost, there will be no more lives being lost”.
Dear brothers, dear sisters, conflict resolution talks and other possible talks may help. We must also make the distinction between conflict and violence or tribal fight. Conflict is not synonymous with violence. I read the book by Archbishop Doug Young of Mt. Hagen, titled: Our Land is Green and Black. He talks about conflict resolution, where preventive measures have been taken, but this seems to be forgotten. People lacked interest, but that does not mean that people would not step in when need be. The idea of conflict resolution is very much appreciated. It would arm a person to stand in as mediator for any warring tribes but I believe it all begin in us. The biggest question I would like to pose here is: if it happens to me that my loved one is killed, would I as an educated person of my tribe challenge my people to lay down their weapons? I salute those who would. I believe by doing so, we might eradicate tribal fight in our province.
Further more, for those who have suggested me to be the chairperson of the interim committee of this topic; I appreciate your opinion about me. I will not let down your thoughts about me, however, I would like to see this as a voluntary work, simply because I as a son of Enga wish very much that my people live in peace and I will take a voluntary approach to intervene if need be. I have done it before and I will do it. To do this, I prefer to stay back in PNG. At this moment, I am out of the country, but sooner I will be going back home, PNG, to Enga if and when I am released by my superiors for my research. I will do a little bit of awareness campaign about the election that people make informed decision to vote for their leaders. I will also use my position on occasion that are necessary to talk on issues on tribal fight. An informed decision to be made by our people through us by our awareness talks and campaign is the vital point I see.
But in the mean time, if anyone living in Wabag would wish to take any action plan, I would very much appreciate it. I will share my opinions on this.
The late Andersen Aipit’s contribution in this forum is very much lauded. I believe, people like him in public/political offices, would be in some position to really carry out action plans. We may hold meetings for awareness campaign, going to our own villages and giving talks. To travel from one district to another would be costly, thus, to make use of radio Enga for talk back programs would be necessary but again, I don’t know if radio Enga is on the air after its transmitter station when down to ashes. We need people in public offices to really make this a policy, to stop trouble fight once and for all through executive decisions.
However, what would be necessary primarily is to make our own awareness campaign from where we come from. Maybe we would exchange ideas and points to talk about, but the initiative to organize a public talk in our own districts would be a good starting point.
Another possibility would be that, sometimes during the election time, a public talk in Wabag town would be great. If everyone is in favor of holding one grand rally in Wabag Town, then let someone in Wabag start sending notes to the people of Enga. I may not make it due my superior’s decisions. I will come if they give me the permission to travel. However, I will write to the 17 catholic parishes in Enga for a grand rally if someone is willing to initiate it. For my brother/sister Engans of other Christian faith like Lutherans, AOG, SDA and others, you may also do the same. Let us set a date for a grand rally. One day’s talk at a grand opening and later on following it up in our own districts would be good.
Dear Engans, I have talked too much, sorry for that. But what am I saying here? Two points:
First: If we want a grand awareness campaign, someone in Wabag please organize a date and place and let us know. I will contribute by writing email to my brother priest in Enga to pass the message for this event. This can be done when the country and the province is going into polling.
Second: Not all of us are in PNG, nor have the same time for break and holidays after studies and work. The issue about Tribal Fighting is a sickness that is imprinted in the hearts of young and old Engans, which can be eradicated once and for all. The big responsibility remains in us schooled Engans. We ought to take a personal initiative and interest in our own districts and villages to start an informal campaign about the consequences of tribal fights during our own time. Let us express our regrets and hopes when we go home for breaks. Let us make our young and old know that we as learned children of our villages do not like it. Let us express our sentiments to our own people; I know they will listen to us. Let us put our heads together in the little way that we can think of.
Grand rallies and talks can be organized when those living in PNG and those living abroad who could make it during Christmas come together. A good timing for a grand rally is tangible.
Em tasol and I am looking forward to hear from you my dear brother and sister Engans.
Note: If I am given the permission to go to PNG for my research and data collection, I will organize a rally before the coming polling begins. I will take the initiative to pass the message around, in EMTV, FM and AM radios for the invitation. I wish to ask those in this forum to make a sensible, reflective and thought provoking speech in this rally if we push through. We will invite all intending candidates if they want to be part of it. Enga needs change from her children like you and me and we’ve got to make our Enga Proud of Us. May God bless Enga, May Tribal Fight be stopped for the good of our children.
Fr. Robert Plews Laka, SVD
University of the Philippines, Los Baños.
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