SIMON PENTANU – in his tribute on Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, father of PNG nation-state:
‘Like a candle you grew from a flicker to a national light that made everyone realise arguing for independence was not evil or risky but inevitable’.
In 1968 he started hearing about an angry young man in Papua and New Guinea, and in the emerging politics of what was then pre-independence TPNG.
After independence in 1975 the incident of the murder of two national doctors from Bougainville who were working in Eastern Highlands, near Goroka, caused deep sentiments which challenged unity of the new nation.
Prime Minister Michael Somare visited Bougainville amidst the uncertainty, where the mother of one of the doctors, Dr Luke Robin, wept bitterly Infront of him:
‘ How will you bring my son back? You wanted unity and country!’.
Grand Chief Sir Michael remembered the episode. In his autobiography, ‘Sana’, he refers to the deaths of the two Bougainvillean professionals. And, was moved deeply. He thought about his own mother’s anguish if in his fight for the country it cost him his life.
The big picture lasted 84 years of a lifetime. We are 45 years on united as Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, ‘father of the nation’, wanted.
And, the challenges of independence and nation – building loom big, confronting. The glue is gone.