Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


We've seen the enemy and they is US!

"We've seen the enemy and they is US!"

By John Roughan

The above quote comes from a comic strip character "Pogo" when he worried out loud about the weakening environment of his swamp-home near the Mississippi River bayous. But he found out it was the very ones living in the bayous who were destroying them. This same quote says much to us today in the Solomons.

Harold Keke, for all intents and purposes, is history. Yes, he and his henchmen will stand trial and their evil deeds will be documented and a just judgment will be passed. His reign of terror on Guadalcanal's Weather Coast, thank God, has come to an end. Our national problem, however, is only a little bit closer to solution. Keke is not and has never been the problem. We are the problem . . . all of us.

Our collective hats are off to the Aussies for their tremendous job of collecting more than 2,000 guns in a little over three weeks. We couldn't have done it without their help. Thanks really! But the guns are not the problem and have never been the problem. It is we--the way we look at the world, how we think it works and use the gun to enforce that vision--who have been and continue to be the major problem.

Corrupt politicians, thieves in high places and fraudsters at all levels of society are currently running for cover. And best they do! Because, once the justice system kicks in and begins to work once again against the land stealers, bogus compensation claimants, gun intimidators and fraudulent conmen they will be looking at the inside of a Rove cell. But, in a real sense, they too are not the problem.

All these crooks, thieves and conmen took advantage of an easy situation they found themselves in. Our problem goes much deeper and is more profound than any military intervention, court system or new legislation can cure. We have to get a handle on how we look at the world, how it really works and what that means for a NEW Solomon Islands.

One of the first things we have to accept is that we, ourselves, alone, destroyed our beloved country. We weren't invaded by some hostile neighbor, nor suffer a natural disaster nor did a terrible disease carry away thousands of our people. No, greed, hatred of our own people and inept leadership were fundamental to how we drove the nation to its early grave.

Some like to blame those awful colonialists. In 1978 when they departed our shores and asked us to run our own affairs, these foreigners left us with a functioning public service, $24 million golden handshake and a peaceful, basically intact nation not wracked by social unrest, ethnic tension nor with grave war wounds to heal. Our first eight years, in fact, weren't that bad at all. We had no massive debt hanging over our heads and our currency was equal to that of the United States. Yes, the nation was progressing slowly, two steps forward and one step back. However, schools did work (not enough of them, of course), too few clinics but they were reaching out to the villager, jobs, few in number, were growing but most importantly, we enjoyed basic peace and order. No mean achievement!

But national rot set in about 1987 when the great forest rape began. Hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of round tree logs were sent overseas at a fraction of their real wealth. Leaders, local and national, reaped great benefit from peoples timber wealth through shady deals. Our recent Social Unrest period--1998-2003--really began during the 1987-1997 decade when it was thought that free money and easy wealth could be had without much work. It was then that the Solomons officially became the Land of the Short Cut!

The short cut way of life quickly grew into big and bigger short cuts. Wontok business became the favorite tool to secure questionable land deals, jump the queue for overseas training, make dubious compensation claims, pocket duty payments, under the table money schemes, etc. Poor folk saw their political masters growing rich without much work and they themselves fell victim to easy money schemes, e.g. Family Charity Fund. If cabinet members actually believed in RANK--a fugitive Bouganvillean promising BILLIONS of dollars--what hope did the little guy have?

Solomon's leaders and followers need a healthy sense of history to understand where our true future lies. We have tried the short cut but it only worked for the few at the expense of the many. Soon after many convinced themselves that the gun brings quick prosperity if not for the nation at least for themselves. In fact, the gun brought the exact opposite . . . suffering, misery and death. Both ways have proved to be disasters of the first order. Are we big enough to publicly accept that the last 15 years we ourselves have destroyed out beloved country? That's the first and most critical step. Without it, however, no other progress is possible!

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news