A History Of 14th July
With Bastille Day approaching, I was in Nouméa to fulfill one of my architectural dreams of experiencing the harmony between contemporary architecture and nature at Tjibaou museum.
An air of tension surrounded the island.
The French residents were feeling on edge. The local radio stations called separatist parties, which mostly threatened that independence will be gained with or without favorable votes. The remaining did not believe in independence.
New Caledonia is one of the last territories in the Pacific yet to achieve self-government. The island has embarked on a road to independence for the past 20 years, and citizens would finally get to decide whether the territory should become an independent country between 2014 and 2018.
I attended the demonstration in Nouméa, a day after Bastille Day. The people of New Caledonia were determined to achieve independence and were protesting against the French presence.
The horizon of this island paradise looks gray.
Did you know...
- New Caledonia has one of the largest insular coral reefs in the whole world. It has been an overseas territory of France since 1956. New Caledonia has one huge nickel deposit that contains about a quarter of the world's known nickel deposits.
- The nickel boom in the 1960's helped New Caledonia grow very rapidly. New Caledonia also has 25% of the world's nickel reserves, most of which is traded with France and Japan.
- In 1984, the Kanaks didn't like being treated as a minority in their own country and boycotted the 1984 elections. Violence started to shake the country and a state of emergency was declared.
- The Kanaks are thought to have migrated from South East Asia between 7000 and 5000 BC. The Mauis are from New Zealand and the Ramuas are made up. The Caldoches are "white New Caledonians" and mostly descend from French convicts.
During my visit to the island of Lifou, I came across a wedding. The wedding venue was huge and I was invited to eat and drink with guests in a relaxed atmosphere. As I explored the different food stalls, I met Victor, with whom I had a long exchange to understand the traditional system of marriage, which lasts 1 month!