Last year photojournalist Ben Bohane was in PNG for the Pacific Institute of Public Policy’s Melanesia Face to Face forum. Among several Melanesian issues on the agenda at this forum, the West Papua issue was to be raised and it was agreed that Governor Powes Parkop would be the most appropriate person to speak on this issue in PNG due to his long history with the issue and his position as a member of Parliament.
Ben had also wanted to present to Parkop a book he had been involved in producing titled ‘West Papua, Follow the Morning Star’. Unfortunately due to clashing commitments on the night of the forum, Governor Parkop was unable to attend. But last week Governor Parkop finally advised that he would now be free to look at that book presentation and so we conducted a little media do at the NCDC Nature Park yesterday.
The book, ‘West Papua, Follow the Morning Star’, features photographs and stories collected by Ben and fellow renowned photojournalists Liz Thompson, with an historical and political overview by historian and Pacific art’s specialist Jim Elmslie. All three had spent several years travelling throughout West Papua, so this book presents their unique perspective on this beautiful but troubled part of our PNG island.
I made it quite clear yesterday that I was not presenting the book to Parkop as representative of any organisation but as as a representative of Ben Bohane who for 25 years has covered a wide canvas of issues in our region. Ben, like everyone involved in the book is passionate about the issue of West Papua and presenting it to Parkop was a show of appreciation of Parkops comitmment to the issue at the political level and our hope that West Papua can soon be a part of the Melanesian Spearhead Group so that (as a Parkop phrased it) a ‘Just Solution’ could be found for the people of West Papua.