New Internationalist

Enaye Islands

October 1989

new internationalist
issue 200 - October 1989


Enaye Islands
Please note: This is actually a spoof country profile written for fun in our special 200th issue.
If you say the word Enaye in English you come out with NI. Enjoy!

Map of the Enaye Islands Palm-fringed beaches bid a warm welcome to the beautiful Enaye Islands in the South Pacific. Their breathtaking scenery, beaches and ruined cities are rapidly putting this 200-island archipelago firmly on the tourist map. But away from the colourful markets, the peasants face poverty and ferocious government repression. The dizzying heights and plummeting depths of the volcanic mountains have their social parallels in this divided country.

The Enayes have a delicate racial balance between indigenous Enayas, Chinese traders and nomadic Karfonas.

After independence in 1965, the future looked bright enough. President Lacidar Ami said that although the country was backward in some respects the First Five Year Plan would help launch the new nation. It aimed at boosting rice production and improving literacy and health care, and was financed by oil which had been discovered in the 1950s.

But the US found it difficult to tolerate communism so close to its nuclear air-base at Arandar. Branding Ami as 'the black Fidel' it closed its markets to the islands' exports.

Without the foreign exchange, and with continuing US subversion, Ami's government could not survive. Discontent in the capital, Nabru, led to riots as prices rose. In 1971 a military coup brought in the right-wing General Trein Son Taim and Washington lifted the trade embargo.

The oil price hike in 1973 turned Nabru into a boom town. But corruption and mismanagement meant that few ordinary people benefitted. Similarly the World Bank-financed Konable Dam will flood the land of small farmers to produce electricity for the cities.

There are some underground opposition groups which have used imaginative tactics, calling on celebrities like Bob Geldof to endorse their struggle. After a recent visit, Geldof said 'It's terrible'.

The way ahead is full of difficulties. The Catholic church, led by Bishop Torukwon, has tried to hold the Trein regime in check, but is opposed by the powerful Islamic Faction. Already public consumption of alcohol has been banned, depriving people of their 'Chundra' beer.

In 1987 a series of IMF missions proposed a familiar package of measures: restructuring the economy to produce more cash crops like the delicious perdiem fruit; increasing the price of basic commodities; and the reproductivization of the country's $2.5 billion debt.

There is an Enaye saying: 'Speak the name of our tribe out loud and great wisdom will come to you. Trust in the written word and you will be deceived'. The proud Enaye people will not be fooled for much longer.

Jane Doe

Leader: President Trein Son Taim

Economy: GNP per capita $630 (US $17,480)
Monetary unit: lukar
Sugar, coffee, oil, oil-related industries and tourism are the main activities. Light industries and textiles. Some fishing but fish stocks are badly depleted. Other crops are bananas and perdiems, with tomatoes, mangoes and jackfruit in the hills.

People: 16 million

People: Infant mortality 104 per 1000 live births (US 10 per 1,000)

Culture: Largely rural society transformed by oil; in the major towns, shabby colonial buildings dwarfed by high-rises. About one-fifth of the population lives in squatter settlements. Traditional life still in some islands, although nomads have been encouraged to settle; surfeit of camels has depressed market prices.
Languages: Enayese, though the official language is English.
Religion: Islamic influence growing; Catholicism and also animism.

Sources: Plight of the World's children 1988 and information supplied by author


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Very rich urbane elite, poverty elsewhere. 

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Heavily dependent on food imports and capitalist goods.

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Improving but Islamic influence could change this.

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Authoritarian military government brooks no opposition

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Female 19% Male 42% Poor in cities due to influence of TV, better in rural areas

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Complete press censorship; T-shirts banned

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59 years
(US 76 years)
Improving, but IMF influence could change this

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previous page choose a different magazine go to the contents page go to the NI home page [image, unknown]

This feature was published in the October 1989 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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