Also, like traditional land ownership elsewhere, the ancestral ground that most live on feel connected to it in a way most city dwellers will never understand. Everyone has a garden so you are dependent and thus respectful to the land you have. This is extremely fertile land that, in a time where so many people struggle to find food, we're clearing people off of their land to build concrete tourist spots.
Here's a couple of articles in the Vanuatu Daily Post covering the situation:
Over 200 evictedBy Thompson Marango
Sep 9, 2016
Around 200 people were evicted Wednesday this week from settlements between the near Tanoliu Village following a court order.
Eyewitnesses informed Daily Post that a team of Vanuatu Police and Mobile Force executed the order which resulted in houses including a church being pulled down.
The court order is said to cover an area of 607 hectares of land that has reportedly been leased out by the landowners.
It is yet unknown how many people exactly were affected when bulldozers razed through their homes and will soon do the same to their gardens.
Some of the families have relocated to nearby Tanoliu Village, Malafau Village, and some to Mosso Island.
Police and VMF returned yesterday as bulldozers are still clearing the area.
Full information on the operation is yet to be released by police.
The next day VDP followed up with a police report:
Tanoliu eviction executed smoothly: PoliceBy Thompson Marango
Sep 10, 2016
The joint operation that executed an eviction court order at a settlement near Tanoliu village, north Efate Wednesday this week was completed successfully without any disturbance.
The Vanuatu Police Media Unit Reported that the eviction of over 200 people was executed by the police with the assistance of the Court Sheriff.
The order emanates from a Supreme Court decision in Civil Case no. 220 of 2012, a land dispute case between Goodies Limited and Mr. Frank Ishmael, Tamara Malas, John Tatai Malas and families.
Five Permanent buildings were dismantled along with 6 ½ blocks iron roof building and 21 temporary buildings.
In the process of executing the court eviction order, several community leaders have expressed concerns over the development with which the investor intends to embark on, arguing that the land is fertile and good for agriculture and its subsequent use for other purposes will now have long term negative impact on locals who are heavily reliant on farming to sell their products at the market to earn a living.
Vanuatu is also considered a 1st tier TURF reserve
(kastom fishing rights): Global Ecology and Conservation
So based on all of that how do we react to this situation? How does this situation relate to the current South Dakota pipeline struggle in the US on Native American protected ground? It's good to reflect on cross-cultural similarities as we tend to focus on the differences.
Huffington Post Article
NPR has many articles too!
It is so crucial for us as humans to step back, outside of the current global political xenophobia that's going on (Brexit, Trump, Dilma's impeachment, pressure on Germany to change immigration policy, Burkinis in France, Turkey EU 'deal' to house unwanted refugees, etc) and check back with what we're struggling to maintain:
clean air and water, fertile ground so we can eat, and harmony with other countries to secure that we don't drop a nuke somewhere.
This week's reading is on body language and cultural space. How is coverage of these events framing body language and cultural space? What does that say about what we, as the consumer, want to see in our news?
Another example is the analyzing the body language/cultural representation of the Oscar-nominated film "Tanna" set here in Vanuatu. Here's the actors visiting NYC:
Here the cast is dressed in traditional garb from their village and what's portrayed in the movie. However, what about the actor in the cowboy hat, guitar, and NYC briefs? Would we allow any man to walk down the street of NYC in briefs, hat, and a guitar? No shoes, no shirt, full service? Did the actors choose to wear their garb or is the manager telling them they must represent Vanuatu in a traditional light? In reality these guys (and gal) travel in t-shirts and board shorts like the rest of us....congrats on their nomination, but another example of putting our expectations of culture versus true representation of culture vs globalization into perspective.
copyright Screen Australia
That's it for now folks!