Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Power

This piece is dedicated to all my friends, sisters, daughters, mothers, grand-mothers – all the women who have walked ahead of me, beside me, behind me or on a different path with just a glimpse in my direction. I am you – you are me, we share this fierce power.

The Power

Ever since I have been able to understand power, influence, authority, responsibility and dominion.

I have had this urge to prove to my sisters, mothers, friends, colleagues; especially those women whom I have by chance encountered - who make me feel angry that they have been made to feel so powerless!

I want all women and girls to know that you are not as lowly, powerless, meek, impressionable, naive and utterly clueless as our modern history depicts women as.

My soul weeps when I meet a woman who has lost all sense of her power to a man because she fell for the illusion, the lies and the deceit that he wove so cunningly well.

Is it because we have the capacity and strength to endure extreme human anguish? Is it because we have these flawed 'rosy' lenses that allow us to only see the good in man on constantly?

Has society and the church that I believe in (all the philosophies despite all the negativity it breeds) made women to be the lesser of the mortal?

Are all men genetically inclined to attempt to crush the power, spirit, love and intelligence out of women?

Or is the truth more sinister? Could there be a power so raw, formidable, and extensive; this power only found in the X chromosome? 

With men having only half this power and some man figured that out somewhere in history and conspired to enslave us women so that men could feel worthy to procreate with such a powerful, beautiful being?

I believe, after all that I have read and heard from many different cultures in Papua Niugini that there is a secret that all women will eventually come to realize. Once this realization happens – sore long ol man! Especially ol displa husait save bossim displa Haus Tambaran long Waigani! Bai nogat power blo ol!

I hope that this realization happens during my lifetime but perhaps it will happen in a time where I am just an echo from the past.

Without a doubt I believe that at some point in all the history of us in Melanesia, man stole a power that rightly belongs to women-kind.

This was a power so wonderful it made the wielder happy, have a sense of everlasting content with life; this power was held since the dawn of humanity by women.

Man saw that power and wanted it, lusted after it and connived to take it from her.

Man stole it so deceitfully that he convinced women that we had stolen it from a higher being, that women then fed this power to man and making the higher being angry and banished all of humanity from a perfect state of being.

This story is repeated time and again in different forms, different beliefs time and again.

In my Christian faith, we are told the history of Adam, Eve and the serpent, BUT what if the truth is that ONLY Adam was never supposed to taste of the fruit? What if Eve already knew and her sin was allowing Adam to know too?

In the Highlands region our sisters are so dis-empowered that so many of them in urban areas resort to killing for a man that doesn’t provide a shelter for her and her children, that doesn’t show love or support and most importantly ino save sapotim ol pikinini blong em in any monetary or spiritual or mental way at all! Nogat use blo displa man tasol sister blo yumi bai go pait nabaut wantaim ol narapla meri lo displa useless man!

In many highlands customs pigs are the center of the traditional economy and culture. Moka, Tee na wanem kain culture wok - sapos yu nogat pik yu nogat strong blong yu! Long taim bipo displa wok blong lukautim pig, was the woman’s responsibility. In traditional times if the women didn't create huge gardens for the pigs food, if the women didn’t nurse the pigs alongside her own children - bai nonap gat wei long mekim samting kamap!

Women had their voice and power!  Forget about Xena and the Amazon’s in highlands history there are stories of two great women that led armies to war to fight for tribal land and were powerful in the Moka and Tee!

Olsem na taim mi sa harim ol man highlands tok “Yu meri nating to their sisters or girlfriends – mi save belhat! Yu wanpla las bet lus man olgeta! Turangu long yu na yu ino save long history bilong ol pawaful meri highlands!

Much of the modern Tolai culture revolves around tabu and every cultural show throughout PNG we watch the dukduks and hear stories of the tubuan festival. Did you know that tubuan’s are all women deities? That originally women were the holders of this power? What we witness now pales in comparison to what the original power was like! Women were the stewards and owners of the land, the bearers of the children; lineage was determined by who your mother and grandmother were! Land is still owned by women but now planti ol barata na papa save laik bosim giraun blo ol meri blong ol!

What about ol sisters blo yumi lo displa mighty wara Sepik. The greatest and most powerful being in their history is Sukundumi! A Goddess! I have heard from numerous sources that the father of Papua Niugini, Grand Chief Sir Michael Sana Somare got his blessing, power, authority and recognition among his people by going into the Haus Tambaran and sitting on a chair that was carved to depict a vagina! Not a penis – a vagina! The symbolism for this is so powerful that you would have to be blind not to see it! The Grand Chief was given a blessing that was so powerful that to this day his people still respect him even if they don’t agree with his politics.

Imagine the day when all women happen upon that power once again! There will be no more abused children, there will be no more aborted children, there will be no more domestic violence, there will be no more rape, nations will talk to each other, nations will share food with each other, nations will be compassionate to each other, nations will gossip and lie but the war that ensues will be a war of words -  wars will be fought with no lives being lost. 

Yes when that power is re-taken by women imagine the difference in the way the world will turn?



Sunday, March 5, 2017

When the war is over...


When the war is over we shall have laughter and tears.
When the war is over we shall have a house with pretty flowers and no fences.
When the war is over we shall have no more fear and suspicion.
When the war is over our children will only cry when they hurt outside and there will be no more hurt on the inside.

Such childish wishes! Such fantasies! What hope is there that this war will be over? What hope is there that we shall all be able to just accept each other as different without trying to convince the other.

This war is tiresome.
This war is a bore.
This war is ruthless.
This war has too much collateral damage.

Let us choose to be silent.
Let us choose to give the other cheek too.
Let us not defend or deny when wrong has been done.
Let us end this war with love and light.
Let us end this war!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

WHY WORLD CONTRACEPTIVE DAY

I am proud of my faith, it has contributed in some way to this journey that I am on today. Faith or religion is one of those things that for most of mankind is a preordained aspect of your life. The majority of us are born into being Seventh Day Adventist, Jewish, Muslim, Latter Day Saint or like in my case – Catholic.

Most of my earliest memories are associated with some kind of church service. My father was in seminary, not to say that he was exceptionally good or kind, but in my world he was a genuinely good, giving, caring and extremely humble person. My father was a lawyer. He genuinely cared about people that he ‘helped’ as he termed his work. I never once heard him saying ‘client’ or ‘represent’ or any of that legal jargon that you hear on cop shows. To me the way he lived his life, the way he treated others, the dignity and simplicity he radiated are things that I can only hope to duplicate in my life. I hope that wherever my father is - he is looking on with some sense of pride in the work I am doing today.

Which brings me to the crux of the matter. My work. My faith. My work. To say that they are opposite is and understatement! Catholicism and modern contraceptive methods are like oil and water. Conflicting opposite beliefs and views. My church has a very firm stance against modern contraception. I work for an international NGO called Marie Stopes International. Marie Stopes provides informed, quality family planning. Family Planning. Contraception. 

Today the 26th of September a handful of international NGOs, government organizations and medical science organization will be commemorating the 8th World Contraceptive Day. A day where ideas, information experiences are shared to reaffirm and promote that every birth should be wanted, to empower young people to make informed choices for the good of their sexual and reproductive health.

So where do I stand? The statistics and the stories that many women have shared with me over the last 12 months, prove and confirm for me that modern contraception is a necessary tool. Like any other tool it can also be used as a weapon and be harmful. Like any other tool it is the wielder of the item that makes it either helpful or destructive. 

Like a bush knife. Put it in the hands of a subsistence farmer and it becomes a hoe, a grass cutter, a spade, a crow-bar. Put it in the hands of a serial killer and it becomes a weapon of mass destruction, a means of overpowering, a means of exercising dominion over another and the list of evil one can do is endless.

I have heard many influential and educated people blaming the tool for wielders individual choice and behavior. It is not access to contraceptives that makes one promiscuous! It is not access to contraceptives that make a man leave his wife for a young women! No! The thought to have sex, the act of getting undressed, the act of and sharing your nakedness and going through the process of having sex...the thought was always present prior to one seeking contraceptives! No! 

When we are blaming modern contraceptive methods for society’s moral decay and rot, let us remember the majority of women in our rural areas. These women come to seek modern contraceptives, these women listen to what can happen, what does happen and how dangerous STIs are. The majority of these women are faithful to their husbands, the majority of these women wake up at the crack of dawn to prepare food for their family before they go off to the garden! They spend hours without eating or drinking, sitting at a market to sell what produce they’ve worked hard to harvest so that their children can go to school and have the opportunities they wish they had. The majority of women that seek Marie Stopes services walk barefoot, on an average of two hours to get their nearest health facility to get their sick child medical attention, they walk hours to buy soap and salt and other necessities. The majority of women seeking and accessing modern contraceptives are the average mothers in the village, not your femme fatal that wants to get that super rich-old-married-man!

Yes! Yes contraception is a tool that must and should never go without in-depth and thorough counseling, and this responsibility to counsel and give information should not be the responsibility of the person giving the contraceptive! Oh no! That responsibility should fall on parents, on ALL fathers and mothers. All of us in society are responsible to make sure that all our youth understand that sex comes with a cost ALWAYS! It is never just a one-time thing, it is not ‘samting bilong pilai pilai’. As a society all adults have a role to play to ensure that our youth understand the consequences of sex.

I am Catholic. It is who I am. I work for Marie Stopes, that is what I do. I believe that contraceptives are a useful development tool that should not be denied to any woman or man that seeks them. In the end we all know what our thoughts, desires and future actions will be. As a society we are responsible to inform our youth on the dangers and reality of having sex. Let us educate our youth so they make informed and responsible choices, so that they have children by choice and not chance!