A short history of two acts of international bastardry

I grew up with Melanesians (Greek for "black islanders") around and rather like them. They originate from the island of New Guinea, which is much larger than Britain and is in fact the world's second largest island. It is located immediately to the North of Australia. Melanesians (or TIs, as we called them) are generally in my observation a people of excellent physique, good-natured and not afraid of hard work. They have one large fault however: They cannot get on with one-another. More precisely, there are at least 400 different tribes of them, all speaking different, though related, languages. And what governs their relationship with one-another is whether you are a "wantok" (Pidgin for "one talk" -- i.e. same tribe) or not. You have great obligations towards your wantoks but all others are totally fair game for anything. So when people of different "wantoks" mix -- as they do in the city of Port Moresby, the level of crime and violence is incredible. Which is why Port Moresby was recently rated as the world's worst city to live in.

At war's end in 1945, the Western half of New Guinea was a Dutch colony and the Eastern half was an Australian colony (Yes. Australian, not British). And that is when the first act of international bastardry occurred. The Dutch had been kicked out by the Japanese during World War 2 and nobody much wanted them back, so all the wiseheads of the world decided that W. New Guinea should be "given" to Indonesia, a huge, mostly Muslim archipelago immediately to the West of New Guinea, which was at the time ruled by a Left-leaning despot -- Sukarno. Sukarno was doing a bit of saber-rattling over Indonesia's "claim" to the place and the Melanesian population was still pretty much in the stone age. The fact that Sukarno's Javanese could hardly be a more different race to the Melanesians (both genetically and culturally) was not of course considered. There was a farcical "act of free choice" wherein the Melanesians were supposedly "consulted" but it consisted mainly of rounding up a few Melanesians for the newsreel cameras who would mumble something vaguely approving. And the Melanesians have been fighting the Indonesians ever since in an effort to get them out -- but with no international support and virtually no technology, they've got Buckley's. And the Indonesians have behaved as you would expect Muslims to behave.

So we come to the second act. When Australia got its first Leftist postwar government under Gough Whitlam in 1972, Whitlam promptly "gave" Eastern New Guinea its independence (translation: said "f*** off. The only help you will get from us in future will be money") even though there was no visible agitation for it and even though many foresaw the anarchy that would result. Eastern New Guinea (or Papua New Guinea as it is now known) had been making steady progress under Australian administration and tribal warfare had been pretty-well eliminated. And it was foreseeable that when educational levels had risen to something approaching Western standards, there could be a peaceful and orderly transition to self-government. But Whitlam wanted to play the big Leftist hero so he cast the Melanesians off to sink or swim. And they mostly sunk.

And how do we know that they would have done better with a longer period of Australian administration? We know because one part of Melanesia is still under Australian administration: The Torres Straits Islands -- only a few miles South of Papua New Guinea. And they are perfectly peaceful and prosperous, have considerable local self-government and the same voting rights as any other Australian. And I have actually been there to look around so I am not exactly talking through my hat. They show what might have been in New Guinea if it had not been for an arrogant show-off Leftist bastard.

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