Deathscapes

Pleasant Island 4a - Pacific Solution

Deathscapes

Nauru: From ‘Pleasant Island’ to ‘Pacific Solution’

A view of the island of Nauru being bombed. Clouds of smoke rise from the island as a plane flies overhead. [imagecaption] US Army Air Force bombing the Japanese airstrip on Nauru, 1943, Wikipedia. Read more. [/imagecaption]

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‘Why do you want to punish us and hold us prisoners in a place where we are simply a means for people to earn an income, because their land was destroyed by your greed?’

Statement released by people detained on Nauru, 2017


Nauru is a small south Pacific Island of about 21 square kilometres with a population of approximately 10,000 people. In the same year that the British First Fleet invaded Australia, Captain John Fearn sailed past Nauru and renamed it ‘Pleasant Island’, ironically marking the beginning of an enduring legacy of colonial intervention. Germany assumed colonial control of Nauru in the 19th century. Following Germany’s defeat in WWI, Nauru was  divided among Australia, Britain and New Zealand under a joint trusteeship arrangement. During WWII,  Nauru was occupied by Japan between 1942 and 1945 and at least two thirds of the population were deported as forced labour to Micronesia. Following the end of the war, Australia, Britain and New Zealand again took on the role of trustees, with Australia as the administering power. Australia failed dismally in this role, overseeing the environmental and economic wreckage of the land.  Although it is now over 50 years since Nauru gained Independence, Australian  control over Nauru continues.


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