Blood on their banner: Nationalist Struggles in the South Pacific


David Robie
Auckland University of Technology


The South Pacific is no longer pacific. Nationalist struggles against colonialism, indigenous claims for sovereignty, and superpower rivalry have turned it into a zone of growing tension. David Robie, a New Zealand journalist covering the region for the past decade, provides a devastating expose of the political forces which have shaken the South Pacific over the past few years. He also argues that the policies of France, Indonesia and the United States pose the gravest threat to the stability of the region.

The author describes the liberation struggle of New Caledonia's Kanaks to end French rule; the fate of President Remeliik of Belau, an island with the world's first nuclear-free constitution; the pressures on Vanuatu as a result of its opposition to nuclear weapons; Indonesia's two 'forgotten wars' in East Timor and  West Papua; and the coup which has divided the two communities of Fiji. Graphic accounts include the massacres of Hienghene and Ouvea, the siege of Thio and the assassination of Eloi Machoro - regarded by some as the Che Guevara of the South Pacific. 

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November 12, 2020


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