New Guinea: Stone Age Election

Deep in the rain forests of New Guinea, native boys must undergo a kind of tribal bar mitzvah in which reeds are forced up their noses and down their throats to bleed out the spirits of their mothers. Some tribal warriors still eat a slice of a dead victim's liver to absorb his magic. Barely out of the Stone Age, this primitive land, composed of Australian Papua and the United Nations trust territory of Northeast New Guinea, was last week nevertheless preparing itself for self-government.

New Guinea's quest for autonomy was hastened by...