„DON’T CALL US REFUGEES!“
You can’t be further away from Germany. I’m standing on a little hill in the northwest of the island Vanua Levu, that is part of the state territory of Fiji. As a child and reader of Mickey Mouse Magazine I learned early that if you just dug deep enough you would get out on the other side of the world. From Germany that would be Australia. But maybe you dig a bit askew, and then you would end up here.
Vanua Levu lies peacefully in front of, next to and behind me, the ocean can be seen on the horizon as well, and nature chirps away in the evening sun. But the idyll, if it ever existed, has gotten cracks lately. And Sade Marika, village elder of Naviavia, increases it with every syllable of his speech. The people in his village are really anxious, he tells me. The Kiribati, one of the island nations in the South Pacific that is threatened by the sea-level rise, have bought land here from the Church of England (how they once obtained this land is one of the dark chapters of the missionary world conquest) some time ago. Officially to farm, unofficially it has already been talked about resettlement. Although they have emphasized, at a meeting, that the inhabitants of Naviavia have nothing to fear from and are able to keep their land no strings attached. But the fear is nonetheless spreading in their heads. The irony of this: the Naviavia only just came here a couple of generations ago from the Salmon Islands, as slaves of the colonial power United Kingdom, who appropriated Fiji and further parts of the South Pacific.