Return to Ouvea, New Caledonia

Written by David Stanley

"Ouvea is everything you'd expect in a South Pacific island. Twenty kilometers of unbroken white sands borderrepparttar lagoon onrepparttar 125853 west side ofrepparttar 125854 island and extend far out from shore to giverepparttar 125855 water a turquoise hue. The wide western lagoon, protected by a string of coral islands and a barrier reef, isrepparttar 125856 only of its kind inrepparttar 125857 Loyalties. Onrepparttar 125858 ocean side are rocky cliffs, pounded by surf, but fine beaches may be found even here. At one point on this narrow atoll only 450 meters separatesrepparttar 125859 two coasts. Traditional circular houses with pointed thatched roofs are still common inrepparttar 125860 villages."

Those words appeared inrepparttar 125861 1985 edition of my South Pacific Handbook after a visit in 1983. Just over 20 years later I returned to Ouvea to discover that little had changed in this large French colony east of Australia.

Most Ouveans still live in traditional thatched case (houses) andrepparttar 125862 beach is as dazzling as ever. On my first evening there, as I watchedrepparttar 125863 red fireball set slowly acrossrepparttar 125864 lagoon, I felt a strong affinity with my previous visit.

Yet something terrible had happened in my absence. On May 5, 1988, 300 French elite troops stormed a cave near Gossanah in northern Ouvea to rescue 16 gendarmes captured two weeks earlier by Melanesian freedom fighters.

Nineteen Kanaks (the collective name used byrepparttar 125865 indigenous peoples of New Caledonia) died inrepparttar 125866 assault, including several who suffered extrajudicial execution atrepparttar 125867 hands ofrepparttar 125868 French police after being wounded and taken prisoner.

None ofrepparttar 125869 hostages had been harmed. Thus began one ofrepparttar 125870 final chapters of what is now known asrepparttar 125871 evenements (events) ofrepparttar 125872 1980s. Three years earlier independence leader Eloi Machoro had been murdered in cold blood by police snipers as he stood outside a rural farmhouse near La Foa, on New Caledonia's main island, Grand Terre.

By 1987 France had 14,000 troops stationed in its mineral-rich Melanesian colony, one for every five Kanaks. The independence movement was to be crushed one way or another.

When I tried to visitrepparttar 125873 cave at Gossanah on my recent trip, I was told thatrepparttar 125874 area was taboo to allowrepparttar 125875 spirits time to rest.

Instead I was permitted to visitrepparttar 125876 grave of Djoubelly Wea in Gossanah and allowed to take pictures of his home. My host on Ouvea told merepparttar 125877 story. Evidently,repparttar 125878 hostages had been taken by young Kanak activists from other parts ofrepparttar 125879 island, andrepparttar 125880 captive gendarmes were brought to Gossanah only becauserepparttar 125881 cave was considered remote.

Residents ofrepparttar 125882 area weren't involved. Yet whenrepparttar 125883 French police arrived in search of their comrades, they rounded uprepparttar 125884 people of Gossanah and assembled them on a football field in front ofrepparttar 125885 village church.

There they were tortured for information, and Wea's father was among those who died of shock. Later 33 Ouveans were sent to prison in France, Djoubelly Wea among them.

These events chastened Kanaks and French alike, andrepparttar 125886 heads ofrepparttar 125887 main political parties,repparttar 125888 Kanak leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou andrepparttar 125889 representative ofrepparttar 125890 French settlers Jacques Lafleur, were called to Paris by Prime Minister Michel Rocard to negotiate and eventually sign a peace treaty known asrepparttar 125891 Matignon Accords.

A referendum on independence was promised in 1998, and massive economic aid was to be channeled intorepparttar 125892 Kanak regions. An amnesty was granted to all those arrested duringrepparttar 125893 troubles, and no investigation intorepparttar 125894 Ouvea massacre orrepparttar 125895 murders of several dozen other Kanaks by French settlers or troops would be required.

Fast forward to May 1989, asrepparttar 125896 top Kanak leaders Jean-Marie Tjibaou and Yeiwene Yeiwene arrive on Ouvea for a commemorative ceremony exactly one year afterrepparttar 125897 massacre.

The Democratic Ideal and New Colonialism

Written by Sam Vaknin

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful concerned individuals can precipitate change inrepparttar world ... indeed, it isrepparttar 123225 only thing that ever has"

(Margaret Meade)

"Democracy" is notrepparttar 123226 rule ofrepparttar 123227 people. It is government by periodically vetted representatives ofrepparttar 123228 people.

Democracy is not tantamount to a continuous expression ofrepparttar 123229 popular will as it pertains to a range of issues. Functioning and fair democracy is representative and not participatory. Participatory "people power" is mob rule, not democracy.

Granted, "people power" is often required in order to establish democracy where it is unprecedented. Revolutions - velvet, rose, and orange - recently introduced democracy in Eastern Europe, for instance. People power - mass street demonstrations - toppled obnoxious dictatorships from Iran torepparttar 123230 Philippines and from Peru to Indonesia.

But oncerepparttar 123231 institutions of democracy are in place and more or less functional,repparttar 123232 people can and must rest. They should let their chosen delegates dorepparttar 123233 job they were elected to do. And they must hold their emissaries responsible and accountable in fair and free ballots once every two or four or five years.

As heads ofrepparttar 123234 state in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and East Europe can attest, these vital lessons are lost onrepparttar 123235 dozens of "new democracies"repparttar 123236 world over. Many of these presidents and prime ministers, though democratically elected (multiply, in some cases), have fallen prey to enraged and vigorous "people power" movements in their countries.

And these breaches ofrepparttar 123237 democratic tradition are notrepparttar 123238 only or most egregious ones.

The West boasts ofrepparttar 123239 three waves of democratization that swept acrossrepparttar 123240 world 1975. Yet, in most developing countries and nations in transition, "democracy" is an empty word. Granted,repparttar 123241 hallmarks of democracy are there: candidate lists, parties, election propaganda, and voting. But its quiddity is absent. It is being consistently hollowed out and rendered mock by election fraud, exclusionary policies, cronyism, corruption, intimidation, and collusion with Western interests, both commercial and political.

The new "democracies" are thinly-disguised and criminalized plutocracies (recallrepparttar 123242 Russian oligarchs), authoritarian regimes (Central Asia andrepparttar 123243 Caucasus), or Vichy-like heterarchies (Macedonia, Bosnia, and Iraq, to mention three recent examples).

The new "democracies" suffer from many ofrepparttar 123244 same ills that afflict their veteran role models: murky campaign finances, venal revolving doors between state administration and private enterprise, endemic corruption, self-censoring media, socially, economically, and politically excluded minorities, and so on. But while this malaise does not threatenrepparttar 123245 foundations ofrepparttar 123246 United States and France - it does imperilrepparttar 123247 stability and future ofrepparttar 123248 likes of Ukraine, Serbia, and Moldova, Indonesia, Mexico, and Bolivia.

Worse still,repparttar 123249 West has transformedrepparttar 123250 ideal of democracy into an ideology atrepparttar 123251 service of imposing a new colonial regime on its former colonies. Spearheaded byrepparttar 123252 United States,repparttar 123253 white and Christian nations ofrepparttar 123254 West embarked with missionary zeal on a transformation, willy-nilly, of their erstwhile charges into paragons of democracy and good governance.

And not forrepparttar 123255 first time. Napoleon justified his gory campaigns by claiming that they served to spread French ideals throughout a barbarous world. Kipling bemoanedrepparttar 123256 "White Man's (civilizing) burden", referring specifically to Britain's role in India. Hitler believed himself to berepparttar 123257 last remaining barrier betweenrepparttar 123258 hordes of Bolshevism andrepparttar 123259 West. The Vatican concurred with him.

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