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Papua New Guinea • Death And Desire Part 2

David Tipling visited Papua New Guinea as part of a commission to shoot pictures for Birds and People, a book exploring the cultural connections people have to birds around the world. Here is the second part of his extraordinary story 

Benson talks of the tribal strife: “we fight among ourselves and the clans with which we have an argument, but never with anyone we do not have a problem with; you are very safe”.

We talk about the weapons now used in conflict; spears, bows, arrows and machetes are carried still, but many now have high powered rifles. Where are they coming from I ask? Marijuana is grown commonly in the highlands and local people trade it for high powered rifles that are smuggled across the border from Irian Jaya. A man will carry 10 kilos of marijuana into the forest to rivers bordering Irian Jaya. It is very remote and he will set up camp for up to 5 days, waiting for the gun smugglers to come up the river; they trade the drugs for guns. Now there are many guns in Papua New Guinea and many battles are no longer fought with spears and arrows but with guns. Sometimes, however, even when...

Read this article, and many more, in High Definition, inside Issue 29 of Landscape Photography Magazine.

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