Friday, 24 April 2009 8:44 AM

Custom abused?

The issue of Kwaio compo for the Gweeabe massacre of 1927 seems so intriquing that I wish to register my view on it. Marata has stated that the compo is an abuse of custom and is only embarked on lately because of monetary interests by the Kwaio council of chiefs. I disagree.

Let me take you back to the history of this masacre in 1927. British, as a country that has many colonies around the world has a law called 'statute of limitation' stating that any countries that British caused atrocities during its colonial administration has to raise the issue 5 years after it happened. This happened in many former colonies of Britian. What about kwaio? no. Then why is that, why do they do it now.

That is because straight after the Masacre, the killing of hundreds of innocent Kwaio lives, destruction of their homes and property and at last taking the killers to Tulagi for hanging by the British Administion a Mr. Masterman returned to Sinaragu and warned the people that anybody talking about the Massacre will be inmprisoned.

Kwaio people at that time were forced to be silent. In the 1950s upwards the Ma'asina Ruru, the only orgainzation that can stand and speakup for the Malaitan people also had its leaders put in prison. This indicate the reprresive attitude of the colonial adiministration. Under such circumstances the British law of 'statute of limitation' cannot be applied because people were forced not to talk about it. Where is freedom at that time?

We are now living in an enlightenment era where everybody is equal and have the capability and potential to think about what is right and wrong and to do someting about it. This is exactly what the Kwaio chief are doing now.

Marata has to keep in mind that they are not abusing their Custom but they are finding solutions to the destructions done to their people and their culture. History is clear on this issue. Culturally, killings and blood feud in Malaita is solvable through compensation and not forgiveness as stated by Marata. This is where money counts. Marata, no way under the sun has the British colonial Admin paid or negotiated for any compensation to the kwaio people, this is a clear cut fact.

Nothing is wrong with taking up the compensation claim now because that is the right thing to do according to malaitan culture. Compensation before forgivess. Kwaio chiefs and the people are strictly cultural adherents and their dream for solving this problem according to their culture is a dream come true. They have taken the right steps to solve this long standoff between them and the British Colonial Administration. I salute the hardwork of the Kwaio Council of Chiefs, may you continue to uphold your culture in the face of modernity and change.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Rexy Rose and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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