As Mothers of the Land: The Birth of the Bougainville Women by Josie Tankunani Sirivi, Marilyn Taleo Havini

By Josie Tankunani Sirivi, Marilyn Taleo Havini

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Extra resources for As Mothers of the Land: The Birth of the Bougainville Women for Peace and Freedom

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These insurance representatives were looking for an expert Bougainville witness. Moses heard what they were saying with regard to the ‘insurrection provision’ in the insurance policy arguing that the crisis had now become a war. Bougainville’s grievances and the State of Emergency was indeed far greater than a private company trying to claim insurance damage to mine property. Moses agreed with this finding because, as he had noted in his diary on 3 March, 1989, the first deployment of the PNGDF on Bougainville constituted the start of war operations.

Our house was ‘staked out’ and we were obviously under nightly observation by people unknown to us. Rocks were thrown at our house and vandalism to the fibro created holes in the office and storeroom walls. People came to visit us from the bush to say we were on a list of suspects and they stayed and prayed with us for our safety. Moses was indignant that young Bougainvilleans, his own kin, did not know they could trust him not to collaborate with the opposing forces. He decided to walk up into the mountains to attend a graduation ceremony for young farmers who had trained at the Mabiri Catholic Agricultural School.

It was very crackly on the line. It was a stranger called Martin Miriori who was asking to urgently speak to Moses. I told him to phone back later as Moses was at night lectures and would be available after 10pm. He said he would try but he didn’t know if it would be possible, as all communication from Bougainville to the outside world was to be cut off by PNG at any time within the next few hours. Martin told me that his reason for calling was to ask Moses to become the voice of Bougainville to the outside world from beyond the blockade.

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