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Letter: Where’s the voice for New Caledonia’s Kanaks?

Friday 28 June 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Letter: Where’s the voice for New Caledonia’s Kanaks?

Dear Editor, Kia Orana. I am writing in response to the article published in the Pacific News section of your paper earlier this week, entitled ‘New Caledonia’s pro-independence leaders charged, transferred to mainland France’.

After reading this article, I am prompted to contribute my opinion to your paper.

Firstly, because of the nickel reserves in New Caledonia, the French can’t leave it alone. Then they messed up with their new electoral reforms, and now they’re in this country where the indigenous people want to govern themselves in their own country – and the French are foreigners in that country.

And so, the indigenous people protested and tried to defend their rights as the indigenous people of their own country.

As a result, the French decided to take the same people protecting their own rights, in their own country, to France, to shut them up in jails over there.

It is exactly the same as in the 1950s when they took the Tahitian politician and advocate for independence Pouvana’a a O’opa from Tahiti to France and put him in jail until he was an old man ready to die – then they brought him back to Tahiti.

In Pouvana’a’s case, they (allegedly) went to his home, tied him up, put him in a wheelbarrow, covered him with bags, and pushed him to the French warship, then took him to France and put him in jail.

So the same kind of thing is happening in New Caledonia.

But what concerns me the most is this – at the recent Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture in Hawaii, the leaders of our Pacific countries stood up and said that the countries of the Pacific and their indigenous people are the custodians of this Pacific Ocean, the biggest ocean in the world. And that right is not negotiable.

But while they were talking like that at the festival, there was a little hut sitting there with a light on, but there was nobody in there. And this hut was meant to represent New Caledonia.

Now if the leaders of the Pacific nations are passionate about their being indigenous in their own countries, and then also passionate about calling other Pacific countries their brothers and fellow keepers of this Pacific Ocean, why didn’t they use the opportunity of the festival to raise a common voice for all Pacific countries? Why didn’t they have a combined voice to object to France’s interference in the New Caledonia territory?

Because imagine if New Caledonians were to go to France and place their flag anywhere in France, and claim some land as New Caledonia’s, what would the repercussions be?

But the French can come into somebody else’s country and they think they own it.

These people in New Caledonia are trying to protect their own country, and now they are being charged for standing up for their indigenous rights. In their own country that their ancestors left for them.

So where is the voice from the countries who claim to be custodians of this ocean? Where is that common voice to protect one of their brothers, which is New Caledonia?

Where is this common voice? Which can be powerful, if they had the guts to speak as one.

Mr Editor, that’s all I want to say. Thank you.


Michael Tavioni