Wednesday, June 24, 2015


The World of Many islands, to translate the name literally from the Greek - more than a thousand South Pacific islands, some of them so tiny they don't even have names let alone inhabitants, but also, technically, New Zealand and Hawaii, Samoa and Tonga, Fiji and the Cook Islands, many of these islands countries in their own right.

Whoever it is who determines these things - which is definitely not God and just as definitely not the people who live on these islands - the South Pacific is sub-divided into three regions, of which Polynesia is the large triangle in the south-east, something in the shape of a stingray, with Melanesia and Micronesia forming its backbone and tail.

If you really want to know more, this is one of those occasions when Wikipedia is the place to go; but truthfully you should not want to know more, for the name was artificial, an invention of colonialists and imperialists in the 18th century, and it served them very usefully as a way of reducing a great variety of people and places to a comfortable and inferior homogeneity, an anthropological paradigm of unsophisticated, even primitive, "natives" and "pagans", after which it was legitimate to conquer, enslave and exploit them without compunction, as the global corporations continue to do even now. "Manifest Destiny" as it has also been termed. The time came long ago for civilised human beings to throw the insult in the garbage can, the same garbage can that contains the N-word and the Y-word and the I-word ("nigger" and "yid" and "red indian" if you really need me to spell it out), and in dispensing with the word, to start acknowledging people as people, and not treating them as commodities. "Human being." Try it.

The doing of this, however, depends on the French, who were the first to use the term, and who continue to use it to this day, describing a collection of their South Pacific territories as French Polynesia. In the meanwhile, while there are no actual countries named Polynesia, Melanesia or Micronesia, the division of the South Pacific in this manner remains in use among anthropologists, military strategists, and those who like to test nuclear missiles, so it cannot be ignored, but only counter-argued.

Marks for: 0

Marks against: 8 (the number of locations in the South Pacific where nuclear tests have been carried out. These are Bikini Atoll, Enewetak Atoll, Johnston Atoll and the so-called Pacific Proving Grounds [by the US], Kiritimati [Christmas Island] and Malden Island [by the UK], Fangataufa and Moruroa [by France]).

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