Meet the Neighbors

For Papua New Guinea's Independence Day last year, Australian photojournalist Paul Blackmore turned up for the official celebrations at a Port Moresby stadium to find a scene not of triumph but of tragedy. An army battalion marched on an oval of withered grass before a virtually empty grandstand - and those in attendance seemed imprisoned by the stadium's machine-gun-wielding guards. "The whole thing was so bedraggled," Blackmore recalls.

As P.N.G. approaches its 30th anniversary of independence on Sept. 16, it is more dependent on Australia, its former administrator, than ever. Last June, the two countries signed an historic cooperation...

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