By Kalpana Nondopa – USA
I once was asked the question, what do traitors, prostitutes and lawyers have in common?
A fair question you might say. But when an American businessman asked that question, with two of his lawyer friends beside him in the midst of a dinner party, everyone tried not to look at the lawyers, while they, now obviously startled, shifted uncomfortably in their seats.
Our host, a business colleague, is a long term resident of Singapore and a well-known Architect about town, having had a hand in the design of some of the significant and innovative landmark developments in Singapore, and well-heeled in business, was just getting warmed up. Yet the two lawyers, Englishmen, who work for the host in Malaysia and Singapore, were not sure how this joke was going to end up, but having heard so many other American Lawyer jokes and seeing the other guests smiling coyly at them from across the way, they, like the rest of us, surmised the ending and braced themselves.
The table decided we will have some fun, so someone answered they (traitors, prostitutes and lawyers) were all very clever persons. Lawyers were intelligent and studied hard for many years to be smart, while a traitor (like Judas Iscariot of the bible) was a smart opportunist, and a prostitute always knows what rings a man’s bells. Well, plausible, but didn’t take the cake.
Another person answered, money was the common denominator. The lawyer always charges fees and for money he can do anything it seems, a traitor can be easily bought and sold, and a prostitute always has her price for her services. Everyone kind of nodded agreeably at the host; but he was not convinced.
A Kiwi businessman across the way offered the observation that he knew certain politicians that could easily be classed as traitors, prostitutes, and who happened to be lawyers. There was a general murmur of agreement. Everyone knew them. They appear to be common to all countries.
However, the world has not seen many professing prostitutes in Parliament. There was that famous Italian adult movie actress Ilona Staller or screen named Cicciolina in the Italian Parliament. She was brave, crass and brash about the way she ran her campaign and public appearances with one breast hanging, and deserved a medal for bringing so much light, fun and titillation into the Italian Parliament, the once ancient seat of democracy, today still known for drama.
Aside from Cicciolina, I don’t know any other, although in a recent international prostitute’s conference in Thailand where our own then Hon. Dame Carol Kidu MP was sponsored by Ausaid to attend, many prostitutes who were also lawyers or and vice versa, reportedly attended and even gave papers. It was a real eye opener for Dame Carol. She came back from Thailand greatly challenged and tried to get (Ausaid sponsored and drafted) legislation on legalizing prostitution, homosexuality and lesbianism passed by the PNG Parliament.
One of the reasons why the Australian government so keenly sponsored the legislation in PNG was because its own High Commission and the British High Commission are stacked with Homosexual and Lesbian couples at very senior levels. This has been going on for many years, and is the case even today. It has presented many serious problems for the British and Australian Governments.
Firstly, I am told their cohabitation is criminal under PNG law which deems same sex relations unlawful. Lesbianism and Homosexuality are treated in same category as Bestiality- having sex with animals. There is nothing unusual or sinister about the PNG legal position. The same was law in Australia and England only few years back. PNG adopted Australian law.
Secondly, as the PNG legal system does not recognize same sex couples and marriages, its immigration laws do not recognize same sex partners as dependants so as to accommodate same sex dependency visas. This has put a lot of strain on the relationships of many of these same sex couples in the Australian and British Foreign Service in PNG.
The British have been leaning heavily on the Australians through Ausaid to draft laws under the “Strongim Gavman” aid program to do away with PNG’s strong and strict moral position, which has its basis in Christianity, as recognized by the Constitution. Australia has been quietly trying to shift PNG’s Christian based moral parameters through the tool of aid, just as it has with treatment of strangers to our shores, and a whole heap of other initiatives relating to weakening our sovereignty. There is nothing wrong with the PNG position, as it has not suffered the level of moral decay the west has, in such a short time, at the instance of minority interest lobby groups.
The Australian and British governments live in fear of their officials being arrested and charged in PNG for various morally corrupt and depraved practises. Such acts although carried on in privacy of their bedrooms, are hardly acts of State that would attract diplomatic immunity from prosecution. Only a few years ago certain Australian high ranking diplomat was living in a Homosexual relationship, and was pressuring the PNG Foreign Affairs Department to recognize his relationship with his male wife. Around about the same time, the British High Commissioner had a homosexual partner who was still a student in Port Moresby.
It was reported that in Cabinet the former Prime Minister, GC Somare, sealed the fate of Dame Kidu’s Ausaid sponsored draft law by the retort: “ Aio yupela, em wanem kain lo ya!”. No wonder Mr Kemish the last Australian High Commissioner worked so hard to get rid of Somare as Prime Minister!
Lawyers, on the other hand, are everywhere in the Commonwealth Parliamentary system of government, and even in the great American Congress, and its Senate. Trading votes as a mechanism of choice to gain the lesser of two evils is made into an art form in the US, mainly in Congress and to a lesser extent in the Senate. There are dozens of lobby firms in Washington DC whose job daily is to pore through thousands of pages of Congressional and Senate bills, and Preparatory papers and policies, notices, endorsements, explanatory memoranda, proposed legislative enactments and amendments, newspapers, the internet, and strategize how to win or defeat a proposed law. Each Congress or Senate representative is weighed, hung and quartered, and sometimes the dissection may get so messy on an important vote that skeletons unknown are known to appear out of the blue on prime time television to sink a decisive vote.
Oftentimes in Congress, important matters of principle are betrayed for some minority interest like the powerful tuna or gun lobby. Puritanical principles on which America was established with its historical traditions have been known to be abandoned for the sake of being politically correct at the instance of, for instance, the gay and lesbian lobby, hard at the heels of Congress. Rights and Freedoms have been turned on their heads for a perceived common good, like the right to individual privacy was recently sacrificed at the altar of perceived public security.
Privacy is a right which runs concomitant with the notion and belief that every human life is sacred, and an individual’s world, space, or sphere of existence on this planet is deemed and held sacrosanct to underline this. However, both Congress and the Senate voted privacy out of the list of American rights in the aftermath of 9/11 out of fear of the unknown. No longer is human life sacred or its sphere of existence sacrosanct to American democracy. There was nothing brave about that vote which has eroded the principle of individual rights, freedom and happiness, the cornerstone of American democracy. Yet, these days you do not and cannot brand the Honourable Congressmen who voted for this bill as traitors to the principles that once made America great- a shining beacon for democracy holding high the torch of freedom. Ideological hegemony has become a corollary to McCarthyism, eating away like a cancer at the very foundations of American democracy where the once venerated individual and his rights that the fathers of their Constitution and the Declaration of Independence proclaimed as hallmarks of their democracy have been whittled to the point of being considered worthless.
Some former principled civil rights lawyers or civic civil libertarians who made it into Congress on the ticket of pro-life, pro-family values and pro-human rights campaigns, post 9/11 found themselves having to sell their very souls because they did not want to be seen as un-American after what happened in 9/11. Even the representative from the State of Illinois was no exception. Privacy had to go. An individual’s life has to be sacrificed on the altar of common good, just like the ancient Incan, Egyptian and other primitive civilizations practising human sacrifice for the perceived common good. You would be surprised how many of those who voted on President Bush’s legislative reaction (to 9/11) in the American Congress and Senate were lawyers by background!
Almost a decade on and closer to home, after the 2012 elections, we have seen many good candidates win and get to parliament. A number of them are lawyers. Papua New Guinea is beginning to reap a good harvest of leaders trained in the 80s and 90s, taking over from those trained in the 70s at then limited institutions, and in the villages.
The previous two and the current Parliament have progressively had the benefit of many educated young intelligent Papua New Guineans emerge out of their villages and Islands to take up the challenge of national leadership. Some have abandoned their well-paid jobs and their professions to embark on the higher calling of national and provincial leadership. Among these, a number of lawyers have seemingly abandoned their well-paid jobs or firms to serve the people.
Like all big rivers that start with a trickle of a clear mountain stream, they all start with the purest of intentions and the highest of morals, to fight the bad and create the common good for all around. It is not such a bad thing that human nature is sometimes so debased, bent and twisted. The active lower nature of man, commonly known as “corruption” has become the basis for many to be voted into parliament, just so they can rid humanity of this very trait, this curse, once and for all. Oh Yes, We Can!
Parliamentarians, both national and provincial, have used the word corruption in the same vein as missionaries of the word sin. Whole aid programs have been designed around this very terminology that describes certain proscribed human behaviour. It describes the taking of public wealth for private gain, the improper conversion of public wealth or opportunity to private gain. It describes the abuse of public office for private gain or interest. Corruption has become overnight a billion dollar industry!
Of course to hurl accusation of corruption or insinuate corruption by someone against another is a very shameful and serious matter in a world where no one, least of all public office holders politicians, want to be perceived as corrupt. Indeed some politicians have made it into an art form where, if they can successfully engineer the down fall or cause the public to perceive another as corrupt, leading to that other’s downfall, they appear to gain credibility inversely, just by pointing fingers or making such allegation against another. If you are in government, you can use the government tools of law enforcement or institutions to your benefit by causing accusations and contriving prosecutions. Thereby, one can stand up and appear clean, honest and morally upright, when the converse may be true.
What a great tool this word corruption is, particularly if carefully used in decisive moments in front page print media or on prime time TV to defeat possible votes of no confidence, as we have seen from time to time in Papua New Guinea. Even the phobia of corruption has weaved its way to find its place in the perceived public good. Individual rights and freedoms are constantly being sacrificed at the altar of public good, whether by media grandstanding, questionable public inquires, questionable NEC decisions or surreptitious partisan police arrests becoming common tools of oppression.
But what has all these to do with traitors, prostitutes and lawyers, one may ask?
The Singaporean businessman with a broad smile told us in that dinner party, that in his experience, he has found that there is no difference between traitors, prostitutes and lawyers. It is, (and he is) one and the same thing!
I suppose I didn’t get it at first, but when I have reflected on that statement, and from what I have come to realize many years on, I suppose he was not far from the truth.
We have lawyers today in our parliament who would engage in the ancient Incan practice of human sacrifice, who are happy to discuss the different ways of killing a person as if it was a ritualistic virtue. They are happy to sacrifice a person’s right to life for a perceived public good that cannot be readily measured. They are happy to institutionalize the taking of what is sacred to an individual for political gain. They have demonstrated that they don’t care about human rights and freedoms, who are happy to arrest and jail people like asylum seekers who have not committed any offence in PNG, and provide no legal recourse in PNG for these people.
Yes, you may be justified in asking what sort of society have we become?
We have lawyers in parliament today who are Judaic opportunists for a bag full of silver, who will sell the city’s or the nation’s interest to the highest bidder time and time again for personal interest. At other times they look the other way to keep their jobs, when the nation is being sold out. Like cowardly traitors, they hope their betrayals of the public go unnoticed.
We have lawyers in parliament who will not hesitate to lift the skirt of our sovereignty, to be brutally raped and sodomized by others, who subject our constitution to relativism and standby, or publicly cheer while it (our Constitution) is being contravened by other nations with their sinister designs. Today the same lawyers are even discussing with Ausaid to bring Dame Carol Kidu’s failed law back, to legalize prostitution, homosexuality, lesbianism and same sex marriages. They have prostituted our trust and have become traitors of the national interest.
We have lawyers today in parliament who fill their own pockets with public funds in giving government work under their care to their own, or each other’s firms, or their wantok’s firms for a kick back in cash or kind, while using government agencies to point fingers at others, and all the while hoping no one sees or dares a whisper of their own blatant corruption.
We have lawyers in parliament who have reduced parliament to a place to change money, from the public purse into their private purses, using convenient artifices to avoid accusations of conflict.
Such lawyers have also proven to be hypocrites who will sell their souls down the streams of political expediency for a perceived public good, a good that is more political than public. Like prostitutes they know how to ring the public’s bells. They have betrayed the public interest, traded the appearance of public good to conceal their private gain in numerous surreptitious designs.
Oh how the once cool clear mountain streams have become muddled and muddied, and the rivers flow backward. How the hopes dreams and ambitions of anticorruption and nationalism have been spat out like lukewarm water, and a nation’s hopes dashed on the rocks of disappointment.
Someone please go through out this land and find me an honest man!
Then again, dishonesty, whilst frowned upon and clearly wrong, is human nature to the very active core. Can one really win against human nature? If Count Dracula be given the key to the blood bank, or the shepherd is really a wolf, how can the sheep be safe? When you really think about it, is that not the same question that the Yank in a swank Singapore party was asking, what is the difference between a traitor, prostitute and a lawyer? It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?