Bukan Boi na Gun by bobfoto

Bukan Boi na Gun

As far back as 1960, the people of North Solomons or Bougainville and islands were asking for Independence... it didn't happen back then, but eventually the Autonomous Region of Bougainville was established and I think in 2020, it will finally become an Independent Nation.

Bougainville is one big island with a little island called Buka off the top. Big Buka and little Buka is what some call it, but it is separated by Buka Passage which some say is the second fastest ocean current in the world and the water here flows at around 18kts (34kph). It is an impressive waterway indeed.

Anyway, on the island of Bougainville, there was the world's largest deposit of Copper, discovered in 1964 and Rio Tinto formed Bougainville Copper to take the mineral out of the ground. Some gold was found too. But the Copper contributed to 45% of PNG's exports and around 18% of the nation's GDP. It also poured its tailings into the local river system and it killed off the local wildlife.

Francis Ona asked Rio Tinto for US$10 Billion in compensation. Ummm, he did not get his payment. So in and around 1986-87, Francis Ona and friends started attacking the mine and the workers and blood was spilt in the mountains of Bougainville. The Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) was formed and civil war broke out. The BRA attacked their own people and 60,000 Bukans were displaced from their homes, they estimate 10-15,000 Bukans died in the 10 year civil war. The PNG government believed that the BRA were being funded and supplied from the South Solomons so they sent their army into the Solomons and innocent people died. This caused international uproar and PNG had to re-think its tactics in stopping the BRA and re-establishing the Panguna Mine.

Enter the Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, who allegedly hired a team of mercenaries from South Africa and holed them up in the Crown Plaza Hotel in downtown Port Moresby. His plan was to send in these well trained soldiers to bring the BRA to an end. The PNG people were appalled at this move by the PM and rioting and looting ensued in the nation's capital. Papua New Guinea was in chaos. They say Sir Julius paid US$37million for what became known as the Sandline Affair.

Sir Julius stepped down from the top job. Sandline still haunts this man. But the world took notice, and shortly afterwards, men from the BRA, from the PNGDF, from the Bougainville Resistance, and from Australia and New Zealand met in Townsville, Queensland and discussed Peace for Panguna.

Francis Ona and his enemies agreed to a Peace Treaty and he went back to the mountain of Panguna, formed the Independent Kingdom of the Meekamui and proclaimed himself King of Panguna. The mine is still closed, the towns of Arawa, Kieta and Loloho are destroyed, and there still is a No-Go Region of Panguna by order of the Meekamui.

It was there where I needed to head.

Photo taken 4 August 2008 at the Kuri Lodge, Buka.
Oh and fisheye lens again...
August 3rd, 2012  
Interesting story and really cool photo with the fisheye lens. Is the water really that blue or is that a reflection of the sky color?
August 3rd, 2012  
@boatpainter - That sky was very overcast and it did rain shortly afterwards. So not a reflection of the sky, the water is really a gorgeous Blue colour over there. There will be a few more water shots to come.
August 3rd, 2012  
Wow very interesting story indeed!!! Gorgeous water colour...great shot / the fish eye lens really makes this shot!!
August 3rd, 2012  
Neat-o story. Thanks.
August 4th, 2012  
Fascinating history, greed and avarice win again. Great contrast with the blue sea and the boys green jumper and superb with the fish eye.
August 4th, 2012  
@turning_40 - Thanks Janelle :)

@agima - Cheers Brendan.

@dalboy - because of it's 180ยบ view, I wanted a candid shot of this lad, so my aim was out at the water, so he was just looking back at me unknown that he was in shot.
August 4th, 2012  
Such stories you tell. Fantastic. I got hung up on the attacking BRA though.
August 4th, 2012  
@tigerdreamer - Then you may want to avoid my photo next Saturday. I will be showing what I consider to be the hardest photograph I have ever taken.
August 4th, 2012  
He doesn't look old enough to carry a gun. Like the fish eye view.
August 4th, 2012  
Nice story and great shot love his stare. Well done.
August 4th, 2012  
That's all so heartbreaking.. So much more than just a pretty bit of water..
August 4th, 2012  
@bobfoto Jason, you have ery interesting stories and your photos are always wonderful.. Thank you for being a follower of mine, and glad I am following you. Being rather new in being consistent, I need lots of help. Thanks

dar
August 4th, 2012  
Oy. What a mess that was created there.
August 4th, 2012  
Loving that lens
August 4th, 2012  
I hate hearing how badly people get treated all in the name of greed. Real downer....but the photo is brilliant!
August 4th, 2012  
Also, right now I'm editing paintball photos. Grown ups running around the bush playing with toy guns while kids roam the world forced to wield real guns. It makes me glad someones out there documenting things. Even if I'm not.
August 4th, 2012  
Love the potted history, it covers the whole sorry saga bueatifully.
August 4th, 2012  
Thanks for the history. Great and sad pic: so beautiful place, so young and a gun...
August 4th, 2012  
@beckys @neda @calliopef - Toy Gun this one... the BRA discovered caches buried by the US, Australian and Japanese Troops in World War Two and discovered that those guns still killed people. They were armed with 50 year old weapons that were buried in the ground!

@tonydebont - a few more stories to come.

@swilde - it lets in oh so much light! Cracker!

@webfoot - Even today 15 years after the Civil War finished, their world is still a mess! They need Mining Money again!

@hollandcrew - He had no idea I was taking a photo!

@buggus - It was such an emotional part of the world! A few more stories to follow!

@adifferenteye - You are more than welcome Dar! Thank you so much!
August 4th, 2012  
Cool story and love that lens.
August 4th, 2012  
@kjarn - Thanks Kathy A, it is a cool lens eh?
August 4th, 2012  
@bobfoto gr8 candid tip m8. aim away from ur subject, im gonna try it. love the contrast of the idyllic setting and the kid with the gun. as always thought provoking and inspirational. :)
August 4th, 2012  
Cool view withthat lens, though the gun is a little unnerving
August 4th, 2012  
Love the lens and resulting shot. Thank you for the informative story also. Sometimes we get locked in our little safe bubbles and forget how life is to many.
August 4th, 2012  
the gun looked so real, thank you for clearing it up. was thinking how sad it was that he was so young and sitting there with a weapon like that. magnificent shot, that glass does awesome captures and your narrative is fascinating.
August 4th, 2012  
Great information as usual,Jason.Love the fisheye capture!!
August 4th, 2012  
Quite a history and very interesting shot!
August 4th, 2012  
@brin - Thanks Mark, I have sometimes, done the old "compose a shot and then look away" and then fire the trigger to get a good candid. Some people will think that you can only take a shot if your eye is up to the viewfinder. You can always lift your head, look left while the camera is still aimed at what you want to take a shot of...???

@alia_801 - I'm pretty sure it is just a toy... this lad and his friends were fishing for little Rock Cods.

@jannkc - Indeed. True words.

@catsmeowb - Nah the weapons used in the Bougainville Crisis were all 50 years old and from the Second World War!

@carolmw - Cheers Carol, thanks!

@grammyn - Cheers Katy, a bit more of a history lesson to come.
August 4th, 2012  
love fish eye perspective of this child
August 4th, 2012  
@jolefont - Thanks Jo, he had no idea I was taking a photo!
August 5th, 2012  
@bobfoto looking forward to it!
August 5th, 2012  
@grammyn - next Saturday = the hardest photo I have ever taken.
August 5th, 2012  
@bobfoto Wow! Now you have piqued my curiosity!
August 5th, 2012  
@grammyn - only 6 days away now...
August 5th, 2012  
August 5th, 2012  
I always love your stories and pic, this one is not exception.
August 5th, 2012  
... I think I might have to peep from behind my eyes next Saturday - this photo shows more of the amazing contrasts you've pointed out so far.
Shall I keep my dark shades handy perhaps?
August 5th, 2012  
yep James Bond
August 5th, 2012  
Being a day o two behind on your shots gives me the privaledge to see the questions that others ask and the answers you give. Your story is incredibly thought provoking and i guess it leaves one with more questions than answers. Another fantastic shot.
August 5th, 2012  
they are lucky they didn't all blow up in their hands. amazing anyone survived at all.
August 6th, 2012  
@catsmeowb - Camille, they were digging up the graves of Soldiers from World War One when they heard that arms were buried along with the dead.... Unbelievable!

@houdiniem - I was trying to put a Bond angle on my story....

@filsie65 - Its a great shot for Saturday... just made me really uncomfortable at the time. Even looking back with hindsight, I still feel uncomfortable. Everything I learnt about photography in PNG was thrown out of the window of the Land Cruiser that I was travelling in at the time... It was a moment when photography and my charm failed and let me down.

@michelleyoung - Not a bad place to be in Michelle, come in late and check out what others are asking and looking at. Thank you dearly for following. :D
August 6th, 2012  
Lyn
amazing story once again. . .although I agree that so much of this is heartbreakingly poignant. This child with that weapon. . . I may join Phil in guarding myself against the upcoming exposition of your hardest photo ever.
August 6th, 2012  
@lyno - Just make sure you have a comfy chair and a good stiff drink.... I'm gonna need one to type it.
August 7th, 2012  
Powerful shot!
August 8th, 2012  
@moirab - Thanks Moira :)
August 8th, 2012  
WOW
August 10th, 2012  
@angelamartel - Cheers Angela!
August 10th, 2012  
This is such a powerful capture! The Fish eye lens is perfect for this shot! The focus on the boy with the gun and the irony of the beautiful calm blue water. Have to fav this one too.
August 12th, 2012  
@angeliquenordal - I didn't realise how much I liked the fisheye lens until I reviewed these shots from Bougainville!
August 12th, 2012  
@bobfoto ~~It is a great lens! I think I would like to use it too!
August 12th, 2012  
That sounds like a dangerous place to head. Mineral rights and mining seems to cause so much strife, and maybe understandably so. Not that I know a lot about mining, but it seems the communities whose homes are on top of mineral rich land don't see much of the mining profit...

And, kids and guns, weirds me out every time. (That said, I cringe any time mine go shooting with their dad.)
September 2nd, 2012  
@hellcat - At the time, my Bosses had some concerns, but after my trip and a few more by fellow Australians, the security concerns were lifted a little. The way I tackled my movements around the big Island though would still be considered a little risky. It was fun though ;)
September 2nd, 2012  
That sounds like a good story there...
September 3rd, 2012  
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