Photographer's Note

Melanesian have dark skins, but many have naturally blond hair (see the blond mop in the lower left), and some even have bright blue eyes. The question that begs an answer: "Are they natural blonds," "Have they used peroxide," or "Are they suffering from malnutrition?" These are the three possible explanations for blond hair and also for blue eyes among dark-skinned people. As I looked into the question, I discovered that the occurrence of blond hair (and frequently blue eyes) among the Melanesians is an unresolved question among anthropologists. Blonds are entirely natural, but their incongruous features represent a mutation. They are not, however, related to the blonds of Scandinavia.

Here the children had congregated at the base of a WWII monument on a hilltop in Guadalcanal. A horrific battle took place 75 years ago and thousands of American and Japanese soldiers perished. The actual monument consists of a platform with a two-meter-tall triangular obelisk. Most of the children are not looking at the camera, but a dozen different cameras all firing simultaneously. The children all appear stern but curious. When I showed them their own pictures on the screen of my camera, they broke into smiles. Despite the abject poverty prevailing on the island, there was absolutely no begging.

In my travels, in Europe I've seen Troy and Gallipoli, Sevastopol and Hastings, and, in the United States, I live next to a Civil War Battlefields... It is a sad truism uttered by an old American President, Herbert Hoover, "Old men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die."

The Islanders of Oceania are divided culturally into three groups: the "Melanesian" who migrated to the present day Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia; the islanders who migrated to the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Mariana Islands (and to the north of Melanesia) are known as the "Micronesians." A more expansive area was settled by the "Polynesians" who migrated to Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, French Polynesia, Tonga, New Zealand... These migrations are thought to have taken place between 3000-1000 BC. In Workshop 1 appears a map showing the three cultural groups. Of course, the Aborigines of Australia date back about 35,000 years and are known to have come from Africa by way of southern Asia.

Near the lower left of the photo are seen relics collected from the battlefield spent shells, spoons, and coca cola bottles. In Workshop 2 is a close-up of the war relics dug out from the ground.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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