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Traditional Death Penalty Practice to Restore Law and Oder in Papua New Guinea

Updated on January 5, 2014
Kerenga Kua-Attorney General of PNG
Kerenga Kua-Attorney General of PNG | Source

I am not sure if this letter will ever reach you. Let alone the good Lord decide. If this letter reaches you one day, please accept in your heart to read from the start to the finish. I know I have a point but the highly brutal police force won’t allow me come anywhere near to speak to you. I could have gone to the media but nothing productive is sure to happen as you will regard my writing as just another Papua New Guinean writing. Maybe I should live the letter in a signed enveloped “Attention: Attorney General of PNG” with your secretary but then I am not sure if your fancy secretary would be considerate enough to pass the letter to you. Therefore I wrote to Hubpages.

Over the months I have been reading your press releases on daily newspapers and like everyone else formed my own opinion. Not many are taking your call to implement death penalty seriously. Many Christians are arguing against your call. But let me ask them “was there something like eye for an eye penalty in the bible? They may be right! I don’t know. I am just a poet. I may be right, I don’t know. They are just Christians. And that is the funny thing about human beings.

My opinion unlike that of others is strongly based on my cultural background. I come from small indigenous tribe called Zia that inhibit the little stretch between the borders of Oro and Morobe Province. Mr. Attorney general, ours is a history of tribal fights and cannibalism just like any others in Melanesian society. But ours evolved around very civilized yet simple social structures. I am sure yours is no different from mine with common leadership universals.

The key ingredient that held the Zia tribe together and in order was discipline. Take everything away from a society including their material possessions and love and they will still find ways to survive how severe the situation is….But take away discipline and every individual break down to nothing and so the society.

In the Zia society, we had only four clans. Wapo represented by eagle, Bego represented by Hornbill, Sakia represented by White Cockatoo and Yewa represented by bird of paradise. The four clans were represented in the house of assembly called Bui. In the Bui, death or life of individuals were decided. Good governance was paramount. Like in the bible, every sin carries same weight. Murder or steal from other garden both carried same penalty. I am talking about sanctioned death my good attorney general. It was happening on our soils well before the Westerners arrived with the so call ‘Human Rights and Religion’

The most interesting part is how death was sanctioned. Maybe understanding this highly intelligent system of Zia would give you some clue as to how you can mobilize other attorneys and interested individuals to drive your message to the wider mass. When someone was found guilty of misconduct, a team of highly intelligent officials were used to swiftly terminate the lawbreaker (s) without trace. The practice was called Butu Dao. No one lawbreaker’s body was ever found according to history. Even the bones were not found until today. Even no one dared to ask why, where, how and who…It was highly confidential. I am thinking aloud why this isn’t possible now. It happened in the past and it worked. We can learn from that and modify the system to suit today’s legal needs.

They didn’t have attorneys like us today but only relied on the four tribal heads in the Bui. The system worked wonders. It was a successful system in that time and in that locality. Their high level of discipline and intelligence saw them rose to fame defeating and claiming victories in areas they walk and fought. So we ask, are there lessons to be learnt from Zia people? Yes I say.

PNG is heading down a path to total destruction and chaos. Discipline is the key thing that will bail us out of this chaos. Politicians steal people’s money, policeman drink and drive in police vehicle and bash innocent people, rascals break and enter and kill and rape…Innocent people are being deprived of their rights to own greater wealth and abundance. Our seas and land are mined with no thoughts about the future generations. It is a shame to see other attorneys blinded by money to support lawbreakers. It is even a uttermost disgrace when these lying tongue attorneys walk away smiling with their suitcases of lies when they falsely argue and win cases for lawbreakers.

Before I finish, let me say something about the much publicized Human Rights Law. To me its sounds crazy to talk about human rights in PNG. Human right is just an abstract idea. It is funny in PNG to talk about human rights because we haven’t reach the stage where majority of people in the society are economically, politically and mentally independent like other developed nations like Australia, USA and New Zealand. These giants are well developed so they can sit down and play around with ideas like Human Rights and shoved into down our throats.

We need to discipline our people to restore order before we can talk about Human Rights. Otherwise, why keep people who are continuously disrupting the good and hardworking nation builders? Why keep these unscrupulous participants in the name of Human Rights? Mr. Attorney general, you have the power to decide. Talking about human Rights is the final step we tend to bring first. But if Human Rights is preventing you from restoring order in the country, use Butu Dao practice of Zia people.

Thank you my good attorney general and I pray this letter reaches you one day.

Ian D. Hetri


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    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Ian.....Thank you for responding to my comment. I have taken the time to read your hub once again. It helped me to focus more clearly and to understand your intent.

      It is sad to me that you feel so helpless and doubtful that your letter would not be delivered to whom you direct it, nor even considered by a staff member to be worthy of consideration.

      I see that you are disillusioned by the breakdown of your beloved society. I also see that you feel a need for discipline to be enforced amongst the population, in order to deter the lawless.

      This does not differ much at all to the thoughts of many in my country of the USA.

      However, we believe that without recognition and adherence to basic human rights, there would then be lawlessness by all, everywhere. This simply would not help nor improve any issues we continuously deal with.

      I can empathize to a certain degree why you plead as you do. I also understand the examples of history involved in your opinion. I would suggest respectfully Ian, that as man evolves and progresses, it is often realized that what worked well in the past, can no longer be accepted as societal norm or as humanitarian.

      I respect your views and thank you for sharing them with us. I wish for your country the improvement and advancement your people strive to have.

    • Ian Dabasori Hetr profile image

      Ian D Hetri 3 years ago from Papua New Guinea

      Hi fpherj48,

      I am glad you have a liberal view on my discussion. I wrote this not for fun but I am sure if it ever gets to the right people, maybe and let me repeat, maybe...something can be done. It can be done because it was done...

      Let me hear from you


    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Ian.....a fascinating hub. I'm feeling at a loss for sensible comment because I have little knowledge of your Country, it's laws and current status. In fact, I am actually wondering if your letter to the Attorney General is in all seriousness or if you are making this suggestion with tongue-in-cheek.

      I apologize for having to ask this, but are your readers to understand that you are sincerely "in favor" of the possibility of re-instating Butu Dao practice? I realize that in PNG, this is equal to a Country's Capital Punishment (however different) but it is difficult for me to accept that this would ever become reality in your Country again.

      Thank you for this PNG education. I enjoy your writing skills...Up++

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Traditional Death Penalty Practice to Restore Law and Oder in Papua New Guinea is an informative and interesting post on this unique topic.

    • Ian Dabasori Hetr profile image

      Ian D Hetri 4 years ago from Papua New Guinea

      Thanks MG Sigh. Kind regards

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 4 years ago from Singapore

      Its a beautiful post. Thanks for all the information