MEKAMUI/BOUGAINVILLE WOMEN LANDOWNERS ASSOCIATION.
The heart of the conflict on Mekamui/Bougainville was the land and the Women who are sacred to the men folk and their fellow women. During the colonial times the white men came with no respect to the women of the land as they were crazy about the thing called Gold and other precious stones on the Island. When the women who are landowners protested against the mine they kicked and dragged them along the beach like dogs.
On Bougainville you can’t go between the people and their land, land is our mother, land is our lifeline, land is our future. Women who own the land wants their land to be free of mining and toxic waste and they want to preserve it for gardening and their children and for future generations.
Joanne Dateransi a landowner from Guava village and Lyneth Ona, no relation to late F.Ona have form an Association of Bougainville women landowners to talk on behalf of the women of Mekamui/Bougainville against mining Company coming back to the Island and destroy again the land and the environment. They say enough is enough, we want our land free from poisons and toxic waste.
On their first meeting they elected their office bearers, Joanne Daterasi as the President and Lyneth Ona as her vice President. The President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government James Tanis was pleased with the Formation of the Mekamui/Bougainville Women Landowners Association saying that he would work closely with them as they are the mothers of the land and will carry much pain if the mining issue is handle carelessly.
The Mekamui/Bougainville Women Landowners Association stand in regard to mining is, mining can come later when the people of Mekamui/Bougainville have their own Government of the day, or when we are free and an Independent Island Nation. In the past the money from the mine developed other parts of PNG and it seems like we are sucked out of our milk and became very skinny. We don’t want that to happen again.
Their second meeting was held on the 11th of August 2009. They want every single woman on Bougainville to stand together and say no to mining. Mining will not bring any good thing to the people only destruction and social problems.
We fight an up hill battle against the Companies who are stronger and bigger and the Government is under the influence of those Companies who are often corrupt. They don’t care about the land and their traditional owners only money, money in their minds. The women landowners of Mekamui/Bougainville value nature and their land over making more money.
The women landowners are the messengers trying to wake up our Society from the loss of the large scale resource exploitation.
Our Island is an ever green Island we don’t want it become brown and desert like it started to when the civil war broke out. With the closer of the mine we are been blessed, with more fruits and food as time immemorial. No more mining please leaders and don’t sell out our Island, Remember our Island future and our children’s future.