Tragic Tongan Tango

Very rarely is it possible to find proper words to express the complex truth of human existence. And if on a good day you manage to find some clever sentences that approximate the mystery you can be almost certain that your fellow denizens of civilized lifestyles will misinterpret and fail to understand what you are trying to convey. It is precisely because of this impossibility, or due to this innate inefficiency that all efforts need to be made to continue the conversation. Language was never meant to capture the truth. Its only purpose is to uncover the lies it has itself invented. It is eternally contained within the terrible imperative to pick its own creations apart, to literally undo itself.

We are now standing once again at the doorsteps of so-called civilzation, a short, maybe ten day journey away from a nation that calls it self developed, proud to be part of the first world, highly complex in its structure but at the same time very simply part of the global network of greed. I cannot help but look back to the humble beginnings of this journey. It now seems so remote, but at the same time just like yesterday. We set out with high hopes of finding answers to the burning questions of human self-distruction. We expected to witness in the remoteness of the vast ocean people living in harmony with themselves and their environment. We wholeheartedly wished to learn a bit of the ancient ways that had allowed man to people this fragile planet successfully if not always peacefully for millenniums with integration and integrity, so that we might jump ahead of this clearly very short period of collective madness, where man wthin decades has managed to eliminate his intimate connection to life, create castles of splendid isolation and networks of tremendous fears, and completely lost its capability to simply see and listen. Instead we saw ourself forced to understand that modernity with its rigid scientific rational, which serves controlled hyperinflated economic growth that then purpotrates the absurdely concentrated wealth of a very small bunch of very sick individuals, has all but devoured every little speck of land, corroded each and every human soul, assassinated all hope of health, girdled every pocket of love and completely mesmerized the very last of the noble savages with trinkets of shiny comfort and mental emptiness. And in an uncontrollable urge for honesty I must add that all the above is nothing but a blatent understatement of the facts!

The mighty Kingdom of Tonga, that sounded so mysterious in the many pages of the human encyclopedia, is unfortunately no exception to this sad state of affairs. The deeply feudal structure of its society, like a remnant of the Middle Ages with a small clan clung to kingship secured by a circle of nobles who hold a firm grip on power and priviledges make everybody else an obedient army of mere slaves with fickle dreams of freedom. The white business people of Naiafu call the locals nice and beautiful because they don’t dare to rebel against their systemic exploitation. It has been hard for us to learn anything about them at all. Their proud Polynesian spirit is all but extinct, buried under a silent veil of devotion to the gods of their opressors. From the earliest European explorers who thirsted for knowledge as a foundation for control, eventually establishing an empire of colonization removing tangible riches at their fancy, through the raids of the blackbirders who kidnapped most all able bodied males to work as slaves in the silver mines of Peru, through the just as imperialistic forces of the US market, which gladly absorbed the losses of the royal gamble in the dot com bubble, and in the present times to the blood sucking and merciless wringing of the last little penny from the Pacific islanders by the frenetic and unscrupulous race of the emerging global giant China, the history of the Kingdom reads like a cataclism of the worst of humankind.

An eire emptiness reins embedded in the singular geographical beauty of the region, not only here in the dusty capital on Tongatapu Island, but everywhere up the island chain, all the way to the protected inland waters of tourist serving Vava’u, which in spite of it all prouds itself as being the most traditional region of the kingdom. According to self-proclaimed Big Mama, sizeable owner of the little tourist resort here at the anchorage off Pangaimotu Island, Tonga is asleep. I couldn’t agree more, the shy and slender movements of its people posses a haunting hint of sleepwalking, as if stumbling through a dreamworld that is not theirs, staring transfixed into an abyss of self-inflicted emptiness. There are pockets of friendliness strewn in abandonment throughout the Friendly Islands, that is if you look hard enough. There can be no doubt about it. The few simple and generous folks are however resigned to a noxious state of numbing obedience where accepting oppression is celebrated as a humble virtue and questioning the obnoxious authority can only be imagined as a distant devil’s dream. Once again the brain drain is maddening. With the excuse of receiving an education abroad anybody who has a trace of reasoning powers jumps the desolate ship and clings to the closest fringes of the first world within reach. Definitely all the brood of nobility is being educated under the vigilant eye of solid capitalism in Auckland, Sydney or San Jose. The Mormon Church provides opportunities with similar hidden agendas to the less fortunate in exchange for a reign of lifelong intellectual torture.

The consequences of all this are drastic, to say the least. We can no longer dream of a better world somewhere in the wilderness. We have to face the madness we have created and resolve it. First we understand our actions in the minutest detail, then we observe them in real time, while we are perpetrating them. This is a wake up call of the utmost urgency. Looking the other way is at this stage clearly complicity with the conglomerate of exploitation. Every drop of gas you put in your tank should burn under your fingernail before it explodes under the hood and leaves an asfixiating trail behind your comfortable transportation addiction. When you pay for it at the pump you are enhancing the mercenaries’ quality of life. And the petrol pandemonium is only one little note in the symphony of destruction. Every way you look you see us going in the wrong direction. Our ways of thinking are absurdly contorted, twisted irreversibly in a way that does not allow is to see with clarity, to speak with honesty, to touch with confidence, to play it straight, to sing in tune, to live lovingly and to listen carefully. Then there is the fear. The enormous fountain of fear underneath it all that spoils our silent wish for freedom and crashes our bonds of brotherhood. So much fear, so much fear!

Back to the Tongan Tango! A battered car sits idle, parked on the side of the main road along the waterfront of Nuku’alofa. The windows are down, maybe broken. The upholstery is torn. The paint is faded and chipping away. The driver’s seat is reclined and a man in his early thirties sleeps in utter exhaustion, mouth agape, eyes set deep in their sockets. A stone throw away from the car a woman, a slight bit younger than him but of similarly desperate appearance, wades through the shallow water, her head bowed, her gaze transfixed as if searching for something important, clearly oblivious to her surroundings. On the front passenger seat a baby boy crawls impulsively back and forth then lifts himself up and now two big dark eyes stare out of the window in total openness, in absolute oneness. They lock onto my face as it is walking by the car on the way to yet another meeting with officialdom. Life is about to begin in a moment. A little phoenix is rising out of an enormous sea of ashes. The little hand at the end of his slender arm gyrates in an awkward circle, the meaning of which I know but cannot tell. The round, innocent face etches itself in my library of lived emotions. There is no smile on his face. There are no tears in his eyes. But it is full of life. The future of mankind is looking at me in person, fearless, confident, fragile, ready to stand up to its very own portion of turbid torture.

4 Responses to “Tragic Tongan Tango”

  1. hans Says:

    haven’t you seen this in many other places in the pacific. don’t forget that WE are the people that made them how they are now….
    i am looking forward to read your diagnoses about new zealand and the maoris…
    911 and all this bullshit tero stuff made taveling for us sailors a pain iin the ass.
    it was all US not tehm … we told them… they believed us.,..
    cheers hans

  2. Angela Zawadzki Says:

    We have seen the monster and it is us.
    I am afraid we are doomed. A glimmer of hope? waking up?
    things are happening but I fear it is too late. That’s the pessimist in me.And life and nature will prevail, even if we don’t.

  3. Josh Martin Says:

    I Like Your Blog About Tragic Tongan Tango.I Am Very Happy To Read Of Your Blog.Really Great Post.Its Brilliant.


  4. joshmartin Says:

    I like you blogs Very rarely is it possible to find proper words to express the complex truth of human existence

    How To Travel The World

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