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Does the Banaban Future depend on Confrontation or Reconciliation?

Now as we move towards the New Year 2009, should we Banabans question our future steps and decide if reconciliation is the way to move forward.

While our elders and all Banabans dream of finally seeking justice from the governments involved in destroying our homeland and exiling us to Rabi, it is about time we think smart rather than keep repeating the same old stories and methods in resolving our problems.

We have to come to the realisation that no one will repair our homeland but ourselves. We must take the initiative and in doing so call upon all the governments and parties involved in the destruction of our homeland to work with us in achieving our goal.

Only by holding hands and working together will the dreams of our Elders be fulfilled.

Long live the Banabans.

I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Kam na tekeraoi nte Kiritimati ao te Ririki ae Boou.

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#416 | 03-Jan-09, 17:43:07, GMT +10 | Perplexed - BANABAN MESSAGE BOARD

Ken,

Thank you for your understanding. I do understand also where you are coming from and your awkward situation as administrator.

Please, feel free to do as you wish, with our contributions and/or comments. We do not mind the least, whether you dump it, adopt it, reshape it, refine it or find some use for them. Our objective is to simply 'make noise from the wilderness' and so long as you don't mind we love to say, with all good intentions, what we think and believe is right, but……within limits though. We have no intentions of stepping on other people's toes.
Lovenotevol is the same to me as Stacey is to you.

She hates evil such as what has been done to the Banabans ( I am 100% sure Stacey does too) that is why I gave her that nic…"love…not …evol" (evil which is love spelt backwards). In retribution, she calls me 'perplexed' saying I am confused, nosy and inquisitive. Ha!ha!, she makes me laugh……… (Psssst silently….but she still thinks I am gorgeous ! Ooops ! She will kill me if she finds out I said this)

On a more serious note, I wish to congratulate Bob Eri for his input. I totally agree with this gentleman as regards the following:-

1. Why talk rubbish about your members ? You elected them, you should support and work with them until the end of their term. In the same token Councillors should listen to and work together with their supporters. You have to tidy up your backyard before attempting to sort out more complex matters.

2. Ask yourself and your members what can you do for your country? As opposed to what can your country do for you in the form of handouts. For example , what can you do to help the Rice Project materialise? Hard to avoid wise sayings as… give me a bag of rice and I can feed my family today, teach me how to plant rice and I can feed my family for their lifetime.

3. If we want anything good to happen, we got to take the first step. "The time has come where Banabans can no longer expect justice to finally arrive but step forward and take the initiative and control of your own destiny" (Stacey.."Recognition") If I were to say the same thing in my own words, I would say " There is absolutely no chance in the world you can win a $ 1 million Lotto unless you take the first step to buy yourself a ticket" (Whether you win or not after buying the ticket is another matter.)

Comment by Perplexed (NZ) via BANABAN MESSAGE BOARD
By Jeremy Cooper U.K. posted BANABAN NEWSGROUP 5 January 2009

I'm sure you are right about this Ken. You only have to look at the situation in Gaza and many other places apart from Banaba to see that pleas for "justice" can fall on willfully deaf ears in the world today. With the economic situation due to worsen for everyone there is very little hope of any handout motivated by historic guilt.

The Banabans need to stop thinking of the geo-political powers in your neck of the woods (Australia, NZ, Japan) as countries which have done you harm - they are now the countries that can do you good, and you'd be better off not constantly reminding them of their guilt. Move on!!

If the Banabans "get positive" and work out their plans carefully and realistically, there are all sorts of NGOs all over the world that might get involved in projects to revitalise Banaba and provide the opportunity of a return to their homeland for those Banabans who want that. It seems to me that Banaba could be a good site for an experiment in eco-development...

Jeremy
By Grant McCall Austrlia posted BANABAN NEWSGROUP 5 January 2009

I could not agree more with Ken's ideas.

Like the coconut, the Banabans are small but tough: they always survive!

As individuals, that certainly is very true and there is plenty of evidence of individual Banaban achievement in the world.

But Banabans as a group?

Banabans as an identity, other than a trinket on the shelf or a nostalgia for a distant past, is Ken's focus, I think.

And a people without their own land is a sad fate.

Actually, most people alive today do not have their own land; a place where no one can tell them to leave.

Maybe that is the Banaban fate: to become like everyone else?

Long live the Banabans!

Grant
Well anyway that is one good thing which, we as Banabans should bare in mind that we should move forward and never look back to what has happened in the past. I agree with you Ken as you mentioned something about our homes in Rabi. We all know that we used to have our homes damaged during hurricanes and we did nothing, just let it be like that till we get donations from somewhere else. One thing that I should say is that why don't we Banabans who lived in Rabi insure our houses, and I think that by dong this it might help us lot in repairing our homes when it gets damaged during hurricanes or cyclones.
#418 | 07-Jan-09, 12:16:23, GMT +10 | Kamta Bakaua | Location Fiji - BANABAN MESSAGE BOARD

Hello there Banaban people,

I would like to thank the TV station on fiji one to broadcast the Kiribati movie sometimes last week or so.The minute i saw it I felt proud eventhough some might disagree with myself but I myself have blood roots in Kiribati and that is why we Banabans some or most of us go to the Kiribati independence every year.

When the Kiribati movie was broadcast nation wide in Fiji after the Philipino Love movie, I was amazed and shocked because I could not believe it.I was happy too because most of us act like the Kiribati and we talk in the similar way and in this way people around us cannot differenciate us.We can only be differenciated when people ask us whether we are Kiribatians or not,and mostly our answer is either no,or we are Rabians ,Banabans or we are part because our father or mother or grandmother or grandfather are from Kiribati.
I think we must first solve the problem of how can we be identified as a whole if people ask us where are we from and for the time being we can call ourselfs either way as I mentioned ealier.

The reason we act like the Kiribatian people, to specify this is that we talk like them,we dress like them etc.

I have been talking negatively about other people but to my thinking now as we go on, there can never be change because I myself is poor and Iam not ashame to say.

The Kiribatian people might help us in some way but our own councillors are avoiding their help to be shown to us.In one instance I asked help from them but they would not help me to pay for my school fees, so I think I should be not from either side because GOD does not favour any because he let light,darkness,rain fall on both bad and good people.

Please let the new generation rule.
If we want to be in the past then lets blow up our buildings and build the Bure, lets throw away food from shops and eat what we plant,lets throw away our clothes and dress up with leafs from branches.

I'm sure our forefathers were not that well educated like us when they first made the first decision
for our generation but because of GOD was with them made it easier for this generation.

Without GOD we are nothing and I promise you that.

It is time to look ahead and not what happened in the past and that is what the bible says.

I advise the new generation or our councillors to read SOLOMONS WORK IN THE BIBLE AND MY FAVOURITE IS PROVERBS.

see you next time.

Kamta Bakaua (Fiji) via BANABAN MESSAGE BOARD
#419 | 11-Jan-09, 06:41:05, GMT +10 | Lovenotevol BANABAN MESSAGE BOARD

Stacey

With due respect to all recent contributions, I wish to air the following :-

Any concern regarding other root connections, is in my opinion, beside the point. The main concern is the proving and preserving of the identity for having that precious Banaban blood. If I have a pint or even a drop of that blood, it will always be apart of me that cries with my ancestors. Hence, one of the aims of all current concerted efforts is to tell the world that Banabans do and still exist despite all ill-intended efforts to obliterate it. They are now victims of the dilemma of two pacific nations, after being bullied by more powerful nations.

I quote an extract from Banaban Reports and Papers...."The complexities of their community status under two pacific nations limits their actions at an international level and subsequently places them in a political "black hole" systemic of their minority status. …..It can be argued that both governments (Fiji and Kiribati) enjoyed relatively huge sums of financial, material and other forms of aid packages from donors, yet the reality of these all that none of the assistance filters through to the Banabans in Rabi or Ocean Island….. Most Banabans (+90%) are living below Fiji's poverty line as indicated by the inability to pay for school fees let alone a school having to put up with a lid pit toilet with barely a door".

Anyone with a trace of Banaban blood together with those who are one in mind and heart to support should continue to hold hands and struggle:-

• To preserve and safeguard/safekeep whatever resources that have been acquired overtime particularly records of past court proceedings that had tended to "go missing". It is encouraging to note that backup copies are stored at various locations and other valuable court exhibits are treasured.
• To secure assistance of as many lobbying groups as possible at international meetings and conferences for the recognition and support of the Banabans requests and pleas which have been purposely ignored by those who had been the root cause of Banaban 'doom'.
• To cause "deaf ears" to hear in the majestic environment of an appropriate court. Whether it be a case for secession in order to facilitate direct aid from willing donors or a case for compensation, rehabilitation or whatever. The bottom line is to raise living standards above the poverty line and restore some sense of integrity.
• To prove to the world we are resilient and tough like a coconut (Caution: Likening to a coconut is subjected to misinterpretation) However, being 'guests' in another land is not our making. We are different from those who voluntarily made their move for reasons of employment and so forth.
• To move on….after methodically clearing the rough and tough track.

IF THERE IS A WILL THERE IS A WAY out of the mess and on to the clear. Let us neither sit back nor relax and take things for granted. There are already signs of rough times ahead. So wake-up Banabans. Do not be misled for the second time.

Lovenotevol (NZ) BANABAN MESSAGE BOARD
Hello Stacey,

Yes recognition, is key, I agree.

Noelle Luciano
USA

Stacey King said:
Ken, I think another important word and term that needs to come into your debates is:

RECOGNITION

Definition:

RECOGNITION –noun

1. an act of recognizing or the state of being recognized.
2. the identification of something as having been previously seen, heard, known, etc.
3. the perception of something as existing or true; realization.
4. the acknowledgment of something as valid or as entitled to consideration: the recognition of a claim.
5. the acknowledgment of achievement, service, merit, etc.
6. the expression of this in the form of some token of appreciation: This promotion constitutes our recognition of her exceptional ability.
7. formal acknowledgment conveying approval or sanction.
8. acknowledgment of right to be heard or given attention: The chairman refused recognition to any delegate until order could be restored.
9. International Law. an official act by which one state acknowledges the existence of another state or government, or of belligerency or insurgency.

As an Australian with 3 generations of my family actually involved in the mining of Banaba I think we (te I-Matang) have to call on our governments (also UK and NZ govts) to formally RECOGNIZE the Banabans contribution and sacrifice they gave to our nations. In Australia and New Zealand's case Banaban’s phosphate, over the last century assisted and enabled Aust and NZ especially to emerge as two of the riches farming nations due to subsidised phosphate.

Other than Nauru no other country has physically given so much to help our (two) nations become rich farming nations! As we all know Nauru ended up falling under Australian mandate, while Banaba who was under the same NAURU (MINING) AGREEMENT was swept aside by the British govt and denied independence and split between two Pacific nations of Kiribati and Fiji where Banaban identity is expected to be absorbed and sadly obliterated in coming generations.

In this new millennia all Banabans have the basic human right to uphold their identity as BANABANS. Now it is up to every Banaban, young and old to do everything in their power to uphold this right and overcome all the obstacles that have been put in your path over the past century and move forward as one. The time has come where Banabans can no longer expect justice to finally arrive but step forward and take the initiative and control of your own destiny, and in doing so call on Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Japan to assist you in your endeavours what every they may be: rehabilitation of the homeland, development of Rabi, sponsoring educational scholarships, work and employment schemes, whatever you decide – in RECOGNITION of the great contribution your ancestors gave and the price every Banaban has paid over the past 108 years.

These are the facts every Banaban needs to know and the one thing that none of these governments can deny:

• Australian farmers received 66% (or 13.2 million tons) of Banaba phosphate
• New Zealand farmers received 28% (or 5.6 million tons) of Banaba phosphate
• Great Britain received 4% or 800,000 tons of Banaba phosphate at 50% of the price paid by Europeans.
• Revenue from phosphate mining on Banaba relieved Britain of the financial responsibility for administering the Gilbert and Ellice Protectorate (later Colony).
• Banaban phosphate royalties were eventually distributed 85% to the Gilbert and Ellice Islands (now known as the Pacific nations of Kiribati and Tuvalu) and a small 15% to the Banabans.
• While the Japanese murdered 349 people on Banaba during WWII and physically removed the Banabans from their homeland, to which they were not able to freely to return until after the cessation of mining in 1980.

These governments need to ACKNOWLEDGE and RECOGNISE these facts so that we can all finally move on.

If this finally means RECONCILIATION or CONFRONTATION - you (Banabans) have every right to decide the outcome!
i bac you 100%




Gunnar Wolf said:
Sorry but I am not aware of all those things but see that you all want go back to your home land which others have destroyed for their own greed and let you suffer far away on an island which is not your land, the land you reallu love.
There should be many people around the world sending letters to those governments and companies involved in this I will mean is a crime to humanity.
I am ashamed of living myself on an island far north in norway and have all I need and can at least feel at home.
It really is about time to revers those evil doings and give your home island back to you an give you the means in form of technical support, money and what ever is needed to restore your home island.
Anyone could tell me who is responsible for all that what has happened to your people? Please send me an e-mail.
#421 | 13-Jan-09, 10:21:33, GMT +10 | Perplexed - BANABAN MESSAGE BOARD

Ken,

Bulls eye…"Recognition" is the key, so Noelle Luciano agrees from the States.

My next question is, how are you going to get there? I guess each time you make an attempt to approach these governments, they shrug you off their shoulders and direct you to proper protocol either to the Fiji or Kiribati government. In other words, they are implying, please don’t bother us, you are of no value to us anymore as Greg has justifiably pointed out.

Are we going to try place stickers on cars in Australia, New Zealand, UK , Japan and other countries with the slogan " Let my people return to Banaba " to draw attention and advertise our case to raise needed public awareness and support? Is this feasible, practical and effective?

Are we intending to propose for acceptance a "Recognition Agreement" containing clauses that list all the undeniable facts to be acknowledged and also a list of recommended remedies to applicable countries? This sounds like an admission of guilt but if could be settled amicably out of court, it will save all parties big time re. finance and adverse publicity.

Pursuit of secession from Kiribati. Can we break that brick wall, that of their refusing to recognise your rights and respect your wish to secede, now and in the future? It is quite obvious they cannot let go because of their future possible plans to try and re-mine whatever remains and for the convenience of resettling of their future climate/environmental refugees on higher grounds. If these two future anticipated events finally take shape, the current problems with all its interwoven complications, will be doubled if not tripled, thus assuring future generation of a 'gloomier doomsday'.
Hence, we should call upon the voters for the upcoming election of Rabi Council of Leaders to sacrifice their personal interests (clan, friends, religion) for 'national' interest. It has never been more urgent to vote for capable leaders who can help get you out of this mess. Getting into a deeper mess is no joke and those who are fortunate to understand the current situation should help educate the rest of the mass. If we can secure the status of a separate nation like Nauru, current matters of concern should plain sail from that point onwards. Foreign aids could be negotiated directly. From where and when is nobody's but your business.

If NON-Banabans can sacrifice and deny their own for Banabans, it is beyond me why Banabans cannot.

Perplexed (NZ) BANABAN MESSAGE BOARD
Having just spent a week on Rabi, for the December 15th commemorations, my second visit, it was clear that Ken has hit on twpo key words. Rabi needs reconciliation - not with Kiribati/Fiji/Britain/Australia, but between the clans and villages of Rabi. The unity of purpose, joy and happiness of the week-long 15th December events drew all villages together. That spirit needs to be maintained. But Ken is also right to refer to confrontation - not violent - but certainly some in-your-face presentations of historical facts, environmental data and demographic statistics. Governments need to be better informed. NGOs need to be better informed. International Agencies need to be better informed. The Banaba-Rabi saga is a sad tale and to resume control of Banaba, and to nurture development on Rabi (equal in status and importance as projects) will need some "angry" outspoken speeches, web pages, videos and news clips just to get the story on the front page. Confrontation is not perhaps the right work, but there is a need to speak out, be heard and facilitate action. The December 2008 dancing, oratory, costumes, sporting contests, Miss 15th, Baby show, parade and march past were all fanstastic testaments to Banabans spirit of cultural maintainance, survival and adaptation. From the annual get together of the four villages, drawing perhaps Banabans on Banaba into the activity in future years, is a useful platform from which to leap into the negotiating, lobbying, cajoling and recruiting arena.
Although I am not from Banaba I have been following the situation there online for many years. I have helped in the restoration of another island, but that was one with quite a different history and geology. One fact I have noted along the way is that New Zealand has a substantial problem with pollution of its lakes and rivers with phosphates either washed in from pasture land or from domestic sewage. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/dying-lakes/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501056...
Of course a substantial proportion of that phosphate has originally come from Banaba.

As long as the nutrients stay in the lake sediments there will continue to be eutrophication problems. Dredging the sediments has been discussed, I believe, but disposal is a problem. If there was the double advantage of rebuilding Banaba's soil while improving the quality of the lakes could the process be practical?
I know that the gantry is history now, and that sea transport is expensive - but with reality of global warming generally accepted, and the value of high islands being obvious, is there still a chance of doing this?

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