MIKRONEZIJA – MICRONESIA

Jap-ostrvo kamenog novca-Yap-the island of the stone money

Jap-ostrvo kamenog novca-Yap-the island of the stone money

Javne zgrade - Public buildigs

Javne zgrade – Public buildigs

Javne zgrade -Public buildigs

Javne zgrade -Public buildigs

Javne zgrade-Public buildigs

Javne zgrade-Public buildigs

Kameni novac - Stone money

Kameni novac – Stone money

Kameni novac-Stone money

Kameni novac-Stone money

Laguna ostrva Jap-A lagoon on the Yap Island

Laguna ostrva Jap-A lagoon on the Yap Island

Lokalne devojke-Local girls

Lokalne devojke-Local girls

Mestani ostrva Jap-The inhabitans of the Yap Island

Mestani ostrva Jap-The inhabitans of the Yap Island

Narodna radinost-Local handicraft

Narodna radinost-Local handicraft

Ples debelih zena-Fat women's dance

Ples debelih zena-Fat women’s dance

Zbunjen i zacudjen-Confused and surprised

Zbunjen i zacudjen-Confused and surprised

Federalne države Mikronezije, a ima ih četiri, čini više od šest stotina
ostrvaca i deo su Marijanskih ostrva u zapadnom Pacifiku, a kad se govori o
celoj oblasti, ona se takođe zove Mikronezija. Nije lako posetiti ni mali
deo tog ogromnog prostora, od više nego dva i pô miliona kvadratnih
kilometara, pa sam se zato odlučio za ostrvo i državicu Jap. Razlog je
jednostavan: do tamo postoji avionska linija sa ostrva Guam, koje je velika
američka vojna baza i jedan od malog broja centara u Tihom okeanu, koji
povezuje okolne zemlje.
Smešteno zaista na kraju sveta, to ostrvo se još naziva i Ostrvo kamenog
novca, koji je ovde nekada bio u upotrebi. To, naravno, nije novac u
klasičnom smislu reči, već su to ravne okrugle stene sa otvorom u sredini,
koje samo izgledaju kao kovani novac. Sada se nalaze na pojedinim
značajnijim mestima na ostrvu, negde kraj trošnih zidova i zarasli u travu,
podsećajući na prošlost. U trajanju od dve hiljade godina, sve do XIX veka,
te stene, koje su nekada imale kvarcnu površinu i bile najsjajniji objekti u
selu, dovožene su sa ostrva Palau, na kome su klesane, i to kanuima, što je
bilo veoma riskantan poduhvat po uzburkanom moru. Vrednost komada zavisila
je, osim od težine i veličine, prvenstveno od napora kojim je on pribavljen.
Ko zna šta se tim novcem moglo kupiti ili postići, a prvenstveno ugled u
društvu. Saveti staraca u selima i danas se okupljaju oko tih stena
dimenzija većeg točka. Oni tu donose važne odluke kao da se, pritom,
konsultuju sa duhovima predaka, koji su često završavali u olujnim talasima
prenoseći ovo bogatstvo.
Njišući širokim kukovima oko kojih su suknje ispletene od lišća i jako
udarajući bambusovim štapovima jedna o drugu, seoske žene su odigrale svoj
tradicionalni ples, dok su se opuštene grudi vrtele za njima, ovlaš
pokrivene vencima cveća. Jak iznenadni pljusak oterao ih je u zaklon od
palminog lišća, dok su gola dečica ostala da trčkaraju po baricama i raduju
se kiši. Krupni i debeli muškarci iz otvorenih drvenih kućica
nezainteresovano su posmatrali društveni događaj, ne želeći da smetaju, a
još manje da se izlažu kiši.
Jap je bio nemački pomorski komunikacioni centar do Prvog svetskog rata, a
potom je, do kraja Drugog svetskog rata, prešao u ruke Japanaca. Posle toga
je, do sticanja nezavisnosti, cela oblast bila pod administracijom SAD-a,
mada nastavlja da bude njihova interesna sfera, kao, uostalom, i čitav Tihi
okean. Japancima je malo ostalo. Avionske olupine i motori, razbacani po
ostrvu, svedoče o velikim pomorskim bitkama koje su na kraju izgubili. Narod
Mikronezije, svakako, niko nije ništa pitao, niti je posle rata došlo do
velikih promena u njegovom životu.
Ljudi su ostali tihi, baš kao i okean koji ih okružuje.

April 2005.
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The Federated States of Micronesia, and there are four of them, comprise of
600 small islands and they are part of the Mariana islands in the Western
Pacific; however the whole region as such is referred to as Micronesia. It
is not easy to visit even a small part of this huge space which has over 2.5
million square kilometres, so I decided to see the island and statelet of
Yap. The reason was simple: there is an air connection from the island of
Guam which is a huge American Army base and one of the few hubs in the
Pacific Ocean providing links to neighbouring countries.
Situated literally at the world’s end, this island is also called the Land
of Stone Money which was in use around here once upon a time. Of course,
this is not money in the real sense of the word, they are rather flat round
rocks with a hole in the middle, their appearance reminiscent of metal
coins. Nowadays they can be found in some places of significance on the
island, sometimes next to ruined walls and covered in weeds, as silent
reminders of the past. For two thousand years, until the 19th century, these
quartz covered rocks were the shiniest objects to be seen around; originally
from Palau Island where they were cut, they were transported in canoes to
Yap, a very risky enterprise especially on rough seas. The value of a piece
of rock depended on, not only its weight and size, but also on the amount of
effort it took to bring it over. Who knows what could be bought for that
money, or achieved with it, probably, primarily a social status. Even these
days in villages, Councils of Old Wise Men gather around these stones the
size of a large wheel. Here they make important decisions in consultation
with the spirits of ancestors, who often perished in the stormy seas
transporting these stones.
The village women performed their ritual dance swaying their broad hips
around which they wore skirts made of leaves, clapping two bamboo sticks
vigorously against each other, while their sagging breasts bounced up and
down, loosely covered with flower wreaths. A sudden strong shower made them
seek cover under the palm leaves, while naked children remained in the open,
running to and fro in the puddles, rejoicing in the rain. Stout and
overweight men lazily observed this social gathering from the doors of their
wooden houses, not wanting to disturb the ceremony and wanting even less to
get out in the rain.
Until the First World War, Yap was a German naval and communication hub, and
then until the end of the Second World War it was in Japanese hands. After
that and until it gained independence, the entire region was under US
administration; it still remains in their sphere of interest, much as the
whole Pacific. The Japanese were left with very little. Remnants and ruins
of airplanes and motors are scattered around the island bearing witness to
great naval battles which the Japanese lost. The people of Micronesia were
never consulted about any of this and after the war their life resumed its
previous course.
The people remained quiet, just like the Pacific Ocean that surrounds them.

April 2005

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