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YEAR 12 NOVEL STUDY. BACKGROUNDING Historical Authorial Literary. A Brief History of Bougainville.
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YEAR 12NOVEL STUDY BACKGROUNDING Historical Authorial Literary
A Brief History of Bougainville • Bougainville is a tropical island that has been inhabited by its people for thousands of years. Its current population is about 200,000 people. It is located more than a thousand kilometres to the north-east of Australia. Bougainville is really part of the Solomon Islands but it was divided off to be part of German New Guinea in 1889 when the Germans, British and Americans met in Samoa to make a treaty which divided Pacific territories among themselves. The League of Nations placed the German New Guinea possessions, including Bougainville, under Australian administration after Germany’s defeat in the First World War in 1918. The Japanese invaded Bougainville in 1942 and huge sea and land battles raged around the island when America fought to defeat the Japanese in 1944.
A Closer Look at the Island • Large supplies of guns and ammunition were left on Bougainville after the Second World War and it was this material that the Bougainville Revolutionary Army used against the Papua New Guinea Defence Force in their war of the 1990s. • Australia continued to administer Papua New Guinea under United Nations Charter after the Second World War. • As a result of this colonial history Bougainville remained with Papua New Guinea when it became an independent nation.
The Panguna Mine • Copper was discovered at Panguna in 1965 and Bougainville Copper Ltd was set up as a subsidiary of Conzinc Rio Tinto to run the mine. • The mine became a huge operation and revenue from it contributed up to one third of Papua New Guinea’s budget. • Many local people had objected to the mine from the outset. There were protests over the loss of land to the huge hole that opened in the ground, and mine tailings covered even more land. • Pollution washed down an important river system and ran out to sea. This had a major impact on the people living in the area. • The presence of the mine gave very little benefit to the local people and they reacted by closing down the mine operation by sabotage.
Francis Ona • Francis Ona was originally employed at the mine but he was increasingly critical of its impact on the environment and what he claimed was the low level of royalties paid the landowners. • By early 1988, Ona mounted a challenge to Bougainville Copper • The PNG Government set up an independent inquiry which dismissed the claims about the environmental impact but was critical of other parts of the mine's operation. • In response, Ona established the BRA (Bougainville Revolutionary Army) which conducted numerous acts of sabotage against the mine including the destruction of the mine's power supply leading to the mine's closure in May 1989. Ona rejected an initial compromise deal by Bougainville Copper and the Government. • They wanted to break Bougainville away from Papua New Guinea and run Bougainville as an independent country.
The BRA • Papua New Guinea responded by sending in the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and imposing a blockade on the island. Medicines and all other Western products were denied to Bougainville. • The war raged between 1990 and 1996. The Papua New Guinea Defence Force made little progress against the ‘rebels’ and many atrocities occurred at that time. • The blockade ensured that little news of the war reached the outside world, but eventually stories did leak out and concern began to mount, especially in Australia which was the main aid donor to Papua New Guinea. • Up to 20,000 people died during the conflict. The war took an especially heavy toll on small children because they were unable to cope with malnutrition and the lack of medical aid. (Note: The redskins in ‘Mister Pip’ are the soldiers of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force. To the villagers these men are of another race from far away Port Moresby, and they are completely foreign to them. The ‘rambos’ is the name given to the local Bougainvillean freedom fighters in ‘Mister Pip’. The name is suggestive of Western cultural (Hollywood) influence. History, and ‘Mister Pip’ tell us that the Bougainvillean fighters sometimes treated their own people badly.)
Joseph Kabui • A ceasefire was arranged later in 1997 between new PNG Prime Minister Bill Skate and Joseph Kabui with a multinational Peace Monitoring Group commencing operations on the island. • A tribal reconciliation process started in 2000 and appears to have been successful. The PNG government promised in 2001 to hold a referendum on independence within the next ten to fifteen years. • Ona was never captured and refused to participate in the process. His forces still controlled a quarter of the island. • Ona died on 24 July 2005 of malaria in his village. • Kabui died on 7 June 2009 of a heart attack • Bougainville still awaits its referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea
Lloyd Jones - Author • Mister Pip (2006) is a novel by Lloyd Jones, a Wellington-based New Zealand author and brother of Sir Robert "Bob" Jones. • It is named after a character in, and shaped by the plot of, Charles Dickens's novel Great Expectations. • The novel won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book in South East Asia and the South Pacific, and was shortlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize. • Lloyd Jones wrote 11 versions of the novel (according to a talk he gave at the Whitireia Community Polytechnic in 2006), originally setting it on an unnamed Pacific island. • The novel was ultimately set against the backdrop of the civil war on Bougainville Island during the 1990s.
An Interview with Lloyd Jones • “…one of the ideas in the book is to do with colonial culture or Pacific culture as an exercise in remembering something imperfectly. • I don’t mean the islands so much, but New Zealand and Australia.” In fact, an earlier draft of the novel was called Inventing the Pacific. • “It’s also about the imagination as a survival tool. How this man enriches the livesof these kids. • He’s a bit of a mystery figure. As far as he is concerned he has no history. And really it’s about those years when Bougainville was cut off from the world. It was Lord of the Flies stuff. • Those villages were at the mercy of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, the rebels, the ‘Rambos’. It was a very difficult time in difficult terrain. It’s like the Tararuas, except in the tropics.”
Charles John Huffam Dickens(7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) • Pen-name "Boz", was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian eraand one of the most popular of all time. He created some of literature's most memorable characters. His novels and short stories have never gone out of print. • A concern with what he saw as the pressing need for social reform is a theme that runs throughout his work. • Dickens's novels were, among other things, works of social commentary. He was a fierce critic of the poverty and social stratification of Victorian society.
Charles Dickens cont/ • When Charles Dickens was twelve years old his father was arrested and was put in prison for debt. Dickens was pulled out of school and had to live and work in a factory putting labels on shoe polish tins. • When the family was saved by an inheritance they all got together again, but Dickens’ mother thought it would be all right to leave Charles in the factory for a few more weeks. Charles never forgave his mother.
“Great Expectations” • Both ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Mister Pip’ are very sympathetic to the trials faced by young people in uncertain and dangerous environments. • Mr Watts tells Matilda: ‘A change of name is as good as a change of clothes.’ He dies later for changing his name. There is a warning here. Changing yourself is not a simple matter. There are costs as well as benefits.