A story about the absense of blood ... of how a â€œmassacre of an electionâ€ was avoided ... and became a triumph of emerging democracy.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, the battle for democracy means daily horror and bloodshed. In Papua New Guinea in early 2007 - ahead of a mid-year general election - there were widely-held fears of violence, bloodshed and mayhem - a repeat of the murderous 2002 poll - and accusations of rampant corruption on a colossal scale.
How do you impose Western democracy on a land of 800 nations - with no sense of being a single country? How do you convince people who speak 35% of the worldâ€™s languages to speak with one voice about their own affairs? How do you convince the people of PNG that Western democracy is such a great idea, anyway, when they have been practicing their own form of proto-democracy for thousands and thousands of years?
As the election unfolded, a powerful white entrepreneur, a traditional PNG coffee magnate and a woman who owns a chicken market, found the answer.