On the 2nd of April I took a highway truck to go to Inus a village at the border between Central and North Mekamui/Bougainville. The truck sped along the gravel road which had been graded lately and it took one hour 30 minutes. I with my nephew dropped off at a place called white stone. We walked for about 2 hours than finally reached the village. The road is still the same as a couple of years back not much used and not fixed for ages, a villager told me that before the war it was the same.
In the afternoon many people came to where I was talking with a former BRA platoon commander from the area. I was asking him if I could do an interview with him on the camera. He asked me what I want to know and what questions I want to ask.
I told him, there are a lot of media talks about re-opening the Panguna mine and I am doing my follow up film on it. As he is from far away from the mine itself what did motivate him to join in the fight, and did he want that mine re-opened. Those who came and listened asked me if the mine will be re-opened? I told them I don’t want the mine re-opened and they all gave a big smile and said: its closed and now we enjoy the life why talking about re-opening it.
Later, on the 4th I went up to Joel S village and did the interview with him on the camera.
He joined the war because Independence or self-determination for Bougainville are linked to it. Also he saw that one day our island will be a land of only gravel if the mining continued because we got minerals all over the island. For our Future Generations to live in peace and harmony in their land we joined the war.
He told me that he was a BCL employee and had been fighting with the company for a pay rise and then resigned. He wants a better Mekamui/Bougainville and wants to save the land and future generations from the destruction of mining and outside influences.
He mentioned that his people really don’t want the mining on the island, although they were far from the mine itself they saw many things being destroyed and people lived in fear from the outsiders when the mine was in operation. Now my people are blessed and being blessed. When I asked him what he thinks the government will focus on to have an economic base so that independence for Mekamui/Bougainville will be viable, he showed me his cocoa plantation.
He said this is renewable, in some years you can cut it and make a garden than later plant it again. But by digging gold and copper you make a mess in your land. Lets save our land for our future generations.