Obama the PNG Witch Doctor

By Emmanuel Narokobi

Okay so maybe US health care protesters don’t know where PNG is to bother, maybe it was a convenient image to use. Maybe it’s even racist? But for us in PNG who are clearly having our image abused, well would’ve been nice if they just used something from Kenya instead of PNG.



37 thoughts on “Obama the PNG Witch Doctor

  1. I guess we can calculate the damage in pig valuations according to those most effected. This is a Huli Wigman, so perhaps the population of the Huli people people multiplied by the population of the US should give us an indicator of the amount of pigs.

    Once the pig amount is settled then we can look at how this will be delivered. Do they purchase the pigs in the US and ship them across? Or do they TT the cash to us to buy the pigs locally?

  2. Clearly shows that some Americans are still coming to grips with having a black president and are using the facade of health care to launch racist and xenophobic attacks against President Obama. How sad! and what’s more is that they’ve used a totally wrong image (not even a damn witch doctor from Kenya or Africa) to portray President Obama.

  3. ..on a less serious note, without a racist connotation, I’m now thinking of having that image printed on T-Shirts with the title “Obama – Mangi Huli”

    1. Yeah Solo,

      ‘Obama – Mangi Huli’ sounds like a good catch phrase.

      There are two sides to the coin and we could turn our dilemma into some gains if we use this image to tell the world about who we are.

      I’m sure the Tourism Promotion Authority could never ask for a more powerful image to promote the Huli region and PNG in general in the american market.

      1. I’d be very interested to see what you come up with.

        You might like to consider Jes’ comments below about how dorning the famous Huli wigs denote wealth, pride and prestige in our culture. From Papua New Guinean (Huli) eyes, Obama is the hero of american health care.

  4. For those anti-Obama health regime Americans is a facade of racial connotation because as a PNGean, adorning a huli wig such as in the photo is wealth and pride held in great esteem.

  5. With all the knowledge and power they have on most things, they are sadly lacking in this one. Half-baked! They are not mocking PNG in this example but their own Big Man – shameless! Not even promoting PNG but mocking it! Aaahhh mi les long dipela kain pasin….Anyway, Manu if you can do something to reclaim our Huli-ness then power to you.

  6. Dragging one of Papua New Guinea’s timeless cultural symbols (The Huli Wigman) into the US Health Reform Debate by the American Republican Party backed Tea baggers is plain insanity. It is disdain and wrong.

    Thank God, Papua New Guinea is not a Muslim country. Otherwise the US Embassy in Port Moresby will be inundated by mass protests, chaos and backlashes – the usual type of ills President Obama is brilliantly trying to fix worldwide through his reset and re-engagement policies.

    The act by the Anti-Health Reform Team is clearly disrespectful. It smacks of their deficit in global cultural knowledge and tips the scale on ignorance barometer.

    Either the Republican Party don’t understand what it means to have a broken health care system or they don’t have a clue on how to fix the spiralling costs brought about by the Health Insurance companies there.

    Our revered and sacred culture needs the same kind of respect that the, Jews, Muslims (their Koran), and other important symbols deserve.
    The Huli Wig, stone axe, shells and dressings feature proudly on our nation’s currency notes and in other facets of life in Papua New Guinea.
    They do not qualify for any fool’s confused campaigns.

    We would appreciate an immediate apology on this please.


    Patriotic Papua New Guinean
    Port Moresby

  7. The white US racists are getting crazier and crazier. They can’t stand having a black man as president. There are more complete dickheads in the US than in any other country!

    From crikey.com –

    Obama is an alien: the top 12 Barack rumours doing the rounds
    by Crikey intern Nina Nicoll

    The claims against US President Barack Obama continue to get loonier. He hates white people, he isnt American, he isnt human, he supported infanticide as a senator, etc.

    Former President Jimmy Carter identified racism as the root cause of many of these allegations. But Obama himself is more cautious about making the link. In a chat with Letterman a few days ago, he threw away the racism angle with a joke: I was actually black before the election.

    And turns out American wingnuts were nutty before the election too. Crikey decided it was timely to put all of the wackiest theories about Obama in one place. Or could there be something to them? We report, you decide:

    1. Obamas czars believe that animals should have lawyers to sue their owners. This would render the United States into a nation run by animals. Animals have more rights than people, says Donna Biscontini (Tea Partyer).

    2. The birther argument: there is overwhelming evidence that Obama was born in Kenya. Its just not right to have somebody just walk in and throw the Constitution on the ground like its a piece of crap, says Henry, a Birther who has lost his job to immigrants.

    3. The advanced birther argument: Obama is guilty of not being born in America or why would he spend so much money on his defence? Philip J. Berg, Esquire (creator of obamacrimes.com) says that Obama has spent over $1 million dollars defending all the lawsuits that have been filed since my lawsuit (against him) on August 21, 2008.

    4. The extreme birther argument. Obama is an alien, as in from outer space (!)

    5. Obama was sworn into the Senate using a copy of the Quran. This is a fact, but it is referring to Congressman Keith Ellison being sworn in with the Quran, who really is a Muslim and was sworn in on January 4, 2007.

    6. Obama is a cousin to Vice-President Dick Cheney. Obama is actually eighth cousin to Cheney, according to research by the vice-presidents wife Lynne. The two men share a common ancestor in a 17th-century French immigrant.

    7. During Obamas dark, mysterious years at Columbia, he was involved in domestic terrorist bombings. The mainstream media ignored the fact that Obama must have been involved in some fashion in domestic terrorism because he was interested in South African divestment.

    8. Obama is a philanderer. Obama had a girlfriend that his wife found out about and forced her to move to the Caribbean.

    9. The rumour with everything: drugs, sex, limousines and disability. Larry Sinclair alleges that Obama had cocaine-fuelled homosoxual acts with him in the back of a limousine, as reported in World Net Daily.

    10. Barack Obama had an underage, gay affair with a paedophile. One of Obamas childhood mentors wrote a semi-autobiographical book that includes passages about sex with an underage girl. The conservative blogosphere collectively made the next logical leap that even the Enquirer was too skittish to make: Obama must have had sex with this man when he was nine-years-old.

    11. There is a direct correlation/causation between Obamas rising poll numbers and the fall of the stock market. And there are graphs to prove it.

    12. Obama is a Marxist. While in high school, his mother developed an affinity with a teacher who led readings from Marx. She became an atheist or agnostic and met Barack Obama Sr. in a college Russian language class, circa 1960. So Obama must be a marxist

  8. Bringing Papua New Guinea into this..clearly indicates that the picture was racist, they didn’t really care where the photograph was from as long as it is from a black country..

  9. Hi all, just a thing thing. Who was the man take pic? (fine him , tell him to sue the Republican Party for using his pic. And used the money to Promote Huli peoples and places)

    let used the PNG way to get money..hehehe

    have a nice day all…:)

  10. People, please note this.

    There’re smart and proper ways of doing business. Leave that out for now.

    The issue at hand is not about compensation, pigs, money and all the conjured reprieves.

    This issue is about the stain on “mutual respect” for other people and their cultures and proper misunderstanding in the global village.

    The peddlers of this nonsense need to be told in appropriately worded diplomatic terms that ours is “not a play thing” and they’re fundamentally wrong on this.

    Hope PNG’s Ambassador to the US is taking up the nation’s concerns.

    As a private and patriotic citizen, I have emailed the US Embassy in Port Moresby expressing my disgust on the whole matter.

    Patriotic Papua New Guinean
    Port Moresby

  11. Thanks Patriotic Nationalist, you’re right it isn’t a joke and something we need to take seriously, once again like Jarred Diamonds lies and the bilum labeled bag company in France and even with our Solomon Island neighbour’s situation where a traditional song was turned into the million dollar song ‘Sweet Lullaby

    Countless examples of Pacific images and cultural intellectual properties are abused year in year out. The only difference is that we are a connected world now and we know what is happening on the other side of the world. So the sanctions should ideally be allot easier to demand.

    I’d say that after an apology comes through or maybe if it doesn’t a cultural registrar or body needs to be set up to guard and fight these issues. Something like a regional National Cultural Commission of sorts. Chasing monetary compensation may be tricky but certainly bringing attention to their ignorance would be worthwhile.

  12. Yes Emmanuel,
    That is the sensible line of thinking. Ours is a dignified and timeless inheritance.

    Just because they have not been patented (or yet to be), they are not freely available on the shelf for anyone’s picking and make them an item of scorn, joke or whatever.

  13. Thank you Patriotic Nationalist, Iam with you.
    To those of you who have posted comments on compensation, this is not a joke so stop the nonsense of monetary, pig compensation stuff. The likes of Robert and Emmanuel.

    This is about RESPECT of ones culture and heritage. Its not just about offending the Hela Huli people, this is PNG we’re talking about. TPA, the government and others need to do something, like take legal action or demand for an apology or organise protest march to the US Embassy right here in down town POM.

    These racist, stupid dickheads who call themselves the Tea Party are so self-centred that they don’t even know PNG, Pacific, the African and the other cultures of the world. They are just into themselves (America)..I mean up themselves… and they think they rule the world.

    Infact the Tea party have made a fool of themselves by potraying Obama as the African Witchdoctor (na ol no laik tok -Hela Warrior).
    On a positive angle, their mistake of potraying the Huli Wigman as the African Witch doctor is a credit to us. Its advertising PNG esp Hela Huli Warrior, the land of the unexpected and the billion dollar project- LNG.

    Hopefully, the Ambassador Ivan Paki will do something in America about this cos he is a Hela Opena, son of Hela…

    Iaro ma catch mulai na varmari piram.

  14. Thanks Solo, I just watched the video and I must admit they do sound as though they don’t really know all the facts of why they’re even on that march.

    The sane Americans would do well to lock up there longlong wantoks before they cause anymore damage

  15. Many people from within the US and all around the world know that these people called themselves republicans from mainly the south are on one hand Christians, going to church every sunday, even to the point of sending missionaries to preach love to the Wigman culture. Yet their own backyard is full of mentally retarded, hateful, slave loving creatures themselves. What we are seeing by way of their ignorance of the whole creation of God is their unfortunate sickness(mental) that is now evident on their outbursts of HATRED for an intellegent, servant hearted, sacrifical world leader in the form of Barrack Obama. Maybe it’s just pure jealousy of the extreme because Obama is just too, too good and too cool for their sick state.

    It makes me SICK to know there are human beings of such low capacity in this beautiful world.

    I hope some of these hateful republicans read this!

  16. It’s disgusting really.
    The world including Papua New Guinea knows that the US Republican Party
    pilled up huge financial deficits (US$9 Trillion).

    That Party’s cultural deficit makes them look even more embarrassingly shameful.

  17. Just entertain the Americans by lining up 10 or so Huliwigman, fully attired in their gear in front of the US Embassy in downtown Port Moresby.

    Lets get the attention to promote PNG more to the US and the rest of world.. Let the Americans worry about their own politics.

  18. Hi All Wantok

    I guess this is a blessing in disguise.

    To the Hela brothers, please do not get offended, but I guess we can use this as an opportunity to tell the world mroe about ourselves.

    We could organsie one big Huli wigmen dancers and ask the Americans to come and see it for themselevs.

    Then they can see that we are no longer withcdoctors or whatever they may think black man are.

    If we ask compensation and apology, they will not even apologise as some do not know PNG way of life and will not have enough pigs to give us.

    Tell the Tourism promotion guys to use this as a way to promote the Huli dancers as well too.
    I heard the Hela Gibu Asociation leaders plan to take a protest seeking apology to the US.
    Sounds a dream but let Americans play politics themselves and lets go on about our lives


    1. I’d say do both.

      Kick up a dust by demanding an apology first. Demanding an apology from the world’s ultimate power will certainly raise a few eye brows!

      Once everyone’s known who sought the apology and most importantly for what, then can we have an icon to sell ourselves.

      Get RECOGNITION of the icon first. Then use it to land americans and other tourists at Hela and the rest of PNG. Let’s strategise and play our cards properly. What a great window of opportunity!

      Our oder of events shoud be: (1)Get Dept of Foreign Affairs and TPA to sit down and strategise. (2) Then back the charge by Hela Gimbu to get recognition of our icon. (3) Then get TPA involved once we’ve gotten the recognition we wanted.

  19. Understand it like this.
    Your wife or sister gets raped by an influential person. You fronted him up and ask for mega sum compensation money or whatever for the rape. Another Joe Blow rapes the same person again….and I know what you’ll do…go after compensation again.

    Get away from getting things murky. Let’s think straight.

    A dignified culture has been RAPED, PROSITUTED, DISRESPECTED, and made to be something it’s clearly not – a plaything. That dress culture is revered and is an honorable thing.

    Stand up and demand a firm apology.
    Let it be recorded for now and the generations to come. Let the world know that, this thing cannot and must never be messed around like that. It’s about Papua New Guinea’s identity in the global context….not an isolated Huli culture only.

  20. All Wantoks! I have made one phone call to Tea bagger organizer and kindly told him of what I thought of their efforts to defeat Obama. Also written couple of emails to tea party event organizers on what we think of their use of our God given culture and point to them that they are bunch of LOSERS. They had 8 years with their own and could not achieve anything except misery and now they want to attack Obama with this kind of campaign.

  21. Tru tru, a blessing in disguise, so TPA should use the opportunity while the Huli Obama witch doctor issue is hot on.

    Apology is whats needed. (Set presedence).

    And thanks to all your good comments.

    Nalix Yet

  22. The problem with us is that we tend to oppose anyone with a different opinion on the issue. In America, if a black man votes Obama, he is most welcome, but if he votes against Obama, he is a traitor, even if he has his principles. When a white man votes McCain, he may be a racist and if he votes Obama, he is most welcome. I am an all round highlander, but wear the clothes and use electronic gadgets designed by the white culture. That is an extension of the white culture whether one likes it or not. Have you ever ridden in a car, a machine created by the white culture, or a plane? This language you are using to accuse Tea Party organisers originated from England where tea party culture came from. Yes English, em kalsa bilong waitman. You would be up in arms also is some Huli tokples was (ab)used by the white men. The whites are not running after us for abusing their English and clothes and shoes for God’s sake. In fact if they wanted their culture back, we would surrender our political systems, our universities, our court systems, our clothes, our everything until we were tru tru Huli, Samarai, Tolai, Hagen, Sepik whatever tumbuna dress your ancestors wore. On the political note, America is waking up to its greatest mistake ever in its political history, by voting in a leftist socialist that will ruin everything that made America Great. They want their nation back from socialists. I dont call that racist. Its an ideology battle and many blacks are speaking in Tea Parties against Obama’s socialist policies. And bear in mind, you boast about your God-given culture, God gave them greater blessings with inventions and technology which we use without ever thinking. It is all part of their God given culture, too.

    1. John Kross,

      Have you not gotten the gist of the picture?

      They are portraying our culture as inferior to theirs by showing Obama as a witch doctor. Who says witchdoctors can’t cure? I come from a beautiful culture in Morobe where I grew up watching and experiencing witchdoctors perform healing rites over our sick and suffering. AND THEY GOT HEALED. I GOT HEALED.

      I don’t care if they superimposed Obama’s face on a white, black, green or blue man’s attire. The crux of it is they are mocking that man’s culture as inferior to their own.

  23. Check out this comedy skit mocking the Jackson Five.


    These were actually a bunch of Indian doctors taking the mickey out of the Jacksons and was quite funny.

    This has been called racist and the TV network has apologised.

    I personally thing Jackson is a ripe target for comedy, but is this going over the top? One of he funniest sketches I ever saw was Lenny Henry (black UK comedian) taking off Tina Turner. This was a black man doing “black face”!

    Have we got too precious with our sensitivities, or was this really racist? What do you think?

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