The news from Kiribati
A.A Bakov visited Kiribati and explored it’s culture. We offer to read a part of the article and to countinie on the Kiribati News website.
Starting from this issue, the Kiribati Voice will devote a full page update on current happenings and issues in Kiribati that might be interesting for our English speaking readers here and outside.
Kiribati is the first country to greet every new day! Now it’s the first country to perish under rising tides of climate change!
Ever since the people of Kiribati welcomed the arrival of the new millennium with traditional dancing, the chanting of a “katake”, the lighting of the millennium torch and the guitar-accompanied singing of the Millennium song by the last President Teburoro Tito, wishing everyone a “Happy Millennium”. It was live broadcasted to the world on the major television networks such as BBC, CNN,NHK, CCTV. The whole world has accepted the fact that every day starts in Kiribati from its most easterly corner where Millennium Island (formerly Caroline islands) is located. This fact was officially endorsed and confirmed at the highest level possible in a United Nations preparatory document for the UN Millennium Summit entitled “We are the People- the role of the UN in 21st century” in which UN Secretary General, Kofi A. Annan stated, in reference to the arrival of the new millennium as an occasion of celebration and reflection , that “The world did celebrate it as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve in one time zone after another from Kiribati and Fiji westward round the globe to Samoa..” So Kiribati’s name was elevated to the top of the world when it became the first country to celebrate its entry into the new millennium. But about twelve years later Kiribati’s bright and hopeful image suddenly turned gloomy and hopeless when President Anote Tong who succeeded Teburoro Tito told the world repeatedly that Kiribati would be the first to disappear under rising seas, an image that has made Kiribati the poster child of climate change. Now Kiribati people have mixed feelings about their homeland, some simply ignore such threats and carry on building their future here but others, not too many, have lost hope and want to get away from what they used to regard as paradise as fast as they can.
President Taneti Maamau has firmly declared his government’s stand on the issue. As a devouted Christian he denies the claim of his immediate predecessor that Kiribati will sink under the weight of climate change causing the polar ice to melt and cause the islands to sink. President Maamau wants his people to do whatever they can to minimize the impacts and threats of climate change but never to give up or abandon their island paradise.