Ok Tedi

Huge boulders clog the rivers.
We let the dust congeal and dry
where the Ok Tedi River flows into the Fly.
Where landowners’ rights are trampled
in the rush to mine the earth.
Where fish and prawns are smothered
and Papuan children die at birth.

BHP Billiton runs and hopes to score again
And all those who are smiling are rich white men.
In the mountain ranges landowners contemplate
the greed and trickery which breed the fires of hate.
We rely on propaganda and threadbare racist spin
guaranteeing multinationals always fight to win.
Justice cannot reach them and famine paints the sky.
Where fish and prawns are smothered
and too many Papuan children die.

Busted tailings dams and promises
ensure people die too young.
Schools and health services cannot reach them,
teachers and doctors never come.
In the mountain ranges landowners contemplate
The greed and trickery which breed the fires of hate.

Multinationals call it development – they’re doing the right thing.
Landowners call it robbery – they’re the ones who feel the sting.
If what we’re doing is the answer then the question asked is wrong.
We’ve got to side at every turn with the weak against the strong.

John Tomlinson and Penny Harrington 2012