MARŠALOVA OSTRVA – MARSHALL ISLANDS – Aolepān Aorōkin M̧ajeļ

Crkva i plameno drvo-A church and a flame tree

Crkva i plameno drvo-A church and a flame tree

Crkva na atolu Madzuro-A church on Majuro atoll

Crkva na atolu Madzuro-A church on Majuro atoll

Gradska kuca atola Bikini-The Bikini Atoll Town Hall

Gradska kuca atola Bikini-The Bikini Atoll Town Hall

Jos jedna crkva na atolu Madzuro-Another church on Majuro atoll

Jos jedna crkva na atolu Madzuro-Another church on Majuro atoll

Lokalno groblje-Local cemetery

Lokalno groblje-Local cemetery

Marsalska deca-Marshall Islands' kids

Marsalska deca-Marshall Islands’ kids

Osnovna skola-A primary school

Osnovna skola-A primary school

Ozbiljna ustanova-A serious institution

Ozbiljna ustanova-A serious institution

Prodavnica oskudnih suvenira-A scarce souvenirs shop

Prodavnica oskudnih suvenira-A scarce souvenirs shop

Pusta plaza-A deserted beach

Pusta plaza-A deserted beach

Pusta plaza-Another deserted beach

Pusta plaza-Another deserted beach

Skola-The College of the Marshall Islands

Skola-The College of the Marshall Islands

Smeštena duboko u Pacifiku, ova grupica od dvadeset devet koralnih atola i pet ostrva nalazi se, zajedno sa još nekoliko pacifičkih država, u takozvanoj slobodnoj asocijaciji sa Sjedinjenim Američkim Državama.
Krenuo sam tamo sa Havaja, avionom Aloha Airlines-a, što zvuči lepo i romantično i nagoveštava rajske koralne atole. U trenutku kad sam zaboravio svaku vremensku odrednicu, prelaskom datumske linije, sleteo sam, u prepunom avionu, na glavni atol Madžuro, misleći da su u avionu svi turisti. Stajali smo u maloj otvorenoj aerodromskoj čekaonici u bezbrižnom iščekivanju da izađemo napolje, dok se u jednom trenutku nisu svi pokupili i vratili u avion, a ja ostao sam na aerodromu, uz neopisivo čuđenje i ljubopitljiv pogled lenjog službenika. Kao da je želeo da mi kaže da je upravo otišao moj avion, a ja ipak znam da imam kartu za ’’glavni grad’’. Ispostavilo se da su tobožnji turisti i članovi njihovih porodica službenici na atolu Kvadžalejn, koji je sledeća destinacija aviona i američka vojna baza, a da turizma zapravo i nema. Kao jedini turista, slobodno ušetah kao maršal oslobodilac na Maršalova ostrva, gde sam teško uspeo da pronađem nešto što se, umesto hotela, pre moglo nazvati prinudnim smeštajem.
Madžuro atol je dug dvadeset šest kilometara, a na nekim mestima širok samo desetak metara, kao zmija u vodi. Ljudi mi ne deluju srećno, svesni da se nalaze na kraju sveta, a da je taj svet daleko od njih i nikada dostižan; kao da su istovremeno nesrećni, tužni, zaboravljeni i ostavljeni. Tračak protesta, kao nada ka boljem životu, vidi se na nesrećnim licima ispred zgrade koja služi kao gradska kuća atola Bikini, poznatog po američkim nuklearnim probama. Na generacijama, koje se tek rađaju, vide se posledice, a neki nesrećnici pokušavaju da dobiju malu nadoknadu za pretrpljene nevolje tako što pokazuju slike svojih bližnjih koji su rođeni sa nekom telesnom deformacijom.
Nekoliko belih koralnih plaža očekuju svoje nepostojeće turiste.
A ja, u iščekivanju sledećeg aviona tek za četiri dana, uspeo sam da za jedno popodne obiđem sve znamenitosti atola: jednu školu, dve crkve i tri kafane.

April 2004.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Situated deep in the Pacific, this group of 29 coral atolls and 5 islands, along with a few more Pacific states, belongs to the so-called free association with the United States (A Compact of Free Association).
I made my way there from Hawaii by Aloha Airlines, which sounds wonderful and romantic, bringing visions of heavenly coral atolls. Just as I have lost track of time as we crossed the date line, the packed airplane landed on the main atoll of Majuro. I thought that the airplane was full of tourists. We all stood in an open air waiting room at the airport, eager to go and taken by sweet anticipation of what lay outside; when all of a sudden all the passengers returned to the airplane and I was left alone under the questioning and surprised gaze of the idle immigraton officer. It was as though he wanted to tell me that my flight had just left, even though I knew I had the ticket to fly to the ‘capital city’. It turned out that those I believed to be tourists and their families were all officials on the atoll of Kwajalein, which was the next destination as well as the US Army base; tourism as such did not exist. As the only accidental tourist I walked on to the Marshall Islands freely, like an army marshall who has come to liberate, where I eventually managed to find, with difficulty, something more akin to emergency accommodation than a hotel.
Majuro atoll is 26 kilometres long, in some places only 10 kilometres wide, almost like a snake in the water. People do not seem happy, as though they are aware that they are at the world’s end and that the rest of the world is so far away from them that it is unreachable. It is as though they are unhappy, sad, abandoned and forgotten. Just a hint of protest and hope for a better future life is visible on unhappy faces in front of the Bikini Atoll Town Hall; this atoll is famous for American nuclear tests. The effects of these tests are noticeable on generations that are just being born, while some unfortunate people are trying to get some compensation for the damages suffered, and are showing around photographs of their dear ones who were born with some deformity.
A few white coral beaches await their non-existing tourists. And I have managed, while awaiting my plane to arrive in four days, to see all the sights in one afternoon: one school, two churches and three restaurants.

April 2004

Leave a Reply