Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. [Volume 39, Issue 8. April 1976]
Another South Africa — New Caledonia
Another South Africa
Most New Zealand students knowledge of New Caledonia doesn't stretch beyond visions of the blue skies, white sand and palm trees.
About 80 people took the opportunity to deepen their knowledge at a forum held in the Union Hall last Wednesday.
The speaker, Dwe Gorodey, a member of the Kanak (i.e. indigenous people of New Caledonia) Liberation Party gave a brief outline of French Colonialism in New Caledonia. This was expanded by several minutes of question time, reflecting the high interest generated by her talk.
France rules New Caledonia through a governor, whose power of veto over the territory assembly makes this attempt at diluting direct colonial rule a complete farce.
In 1869 the Kanak people were torced on to reserves Incorporating only 10% of what was originally their land.
Up until 1948 the Kanak needed police permission to leave the reserves. Today they can only leave to go to work, at which they received abysmal wages.
France's interest in New Caledonia lies in the wealth to be extracted from her rich nickel mines. To exploit this raw resource the Kanak's were removed from the land, the foundation of their spiritual and economic life.
Today the price of nickle is falling and because of the French government's failure to invest in other economic sectors, the economy is in crisis. Unemployment and poverty are increasing.
Having completely destroyed the Kanak peoples culture, France speaks much of her policy of equality.
The Kanak people are free to compete with the Europeans in a system which is unfamiliar to them
Kanak children are punished for speaking indigenous dialogues at school. One out of every five children reach secondary school, and very few complete UE.
It is against this background that one of the young Kanak's organised meetings in Noumea starting in July 1969 as a means of encouraging his people cultural identity.
Dwe related a very moving story that was to have a profound impact on the struggle against French Colonialism.
On December 27, 1975, one of the Kanak liberation supporters was disturbed by the police while fooling with friends and fatally shot in the stomach from a distance to two meters.
Since the Karounda affair the provocations of the reactionary whites have been growing.
Internal defence measures have been stepping up and a contingent from the French Air Force has been stationed at Noumea airport.
The army is deploying its forces on manoeuvres in the north of the main island, with the sole objective of intimidating the population of the Kanak reserves.
In the face of the disgusting politics of the French colonisalists, the young Kanak militants decided to organise themselves with their people in the struggle for national independence - Kanak Independence.
Dwe stressed that Kanak Independence would signify the total destruction of the French colonial system in New Caledonia and its replacement with a socialist political and economic system.
The young Kanak militants absolutely refuse an independence granted by the French which would allow France to maintain her economic hold on the nickel of the country through the intermediary of the local black and white lackeys quite prepared to accept a neocolonial independence.
The Kanak liberation party recognises that theaction of the French colonialists demonstrates that there is no dialogue possible between an oppressed people and their oppressors.
But they also recognise that their movement is too small to wage armed struggle against their oppressors.
Their job is massive political education work to awaken the people to the necessity of armed struggle. For in the words of Dwe 'When the conscience of a colonised people finally grasp this fact Nothing can stop it.