Martyn Namorong is angry.

And he’s got a right to be. From the poorest province in Papua New Guinea, Namorong was able to come to the capital, Port Moresby, to study medicine. His future seemed certain. Instead, he dropped out of medical school and had to make his living on the street, selling betel nut.

As he sat at his small stall, he watched the urban poor fight to survive, and he began wondering why this was so.

Since independence from Australia in 1975, the state had slowly and steadily atrophied, forcing ordinary Papuans to rely on old methods to survive: intensive food gardens in their communally owned land (which accounts for around 97 per cent of the entire country). Widespread corruption funnelling money from mining and logging companies to the Port Moresby political classes had entrenched a sense of abandonment among the urban poor, villagers who had moved to the big city hoping to find work or forced to leave as the rural population swells.

Namorong watched all this, and wondered, and his anger grew.

The rest at New Matilda

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