Islands are bunkers of happiness
Islands are doomed says V.S Naipaul. This is a damaging admission.
In a drab and shoddy world of colliding egos, even sagging dreams and fleeting delusions should be upheld. Preserving insular servings of beaches and blooms goes beyond the mere environmental issue. Man’s ultimate sanity is at stake.
Dulling the less flattering references to enforced cultural isolation and loneliness, there still subsists an irrational Crusoe streak in the most level-headed; an inebriate kink which, on days of unbearable tedium, brings the certainty of a far better life somewhere on the verge of a lulling lagoon.
“Small is beautiful” war-cried Schumacher for whatever it mattered.
But this is mere delusion. A counterfeiter’s boastful and elusive flutter!
Because “Big is Bountiful” and insular confinement is a malthusian spell stiffling out life for the thronging multitude. And one may well lament in this world a terrible absence of Poetic Justice.
In 17th century Europe, when religious intolerance was rife, a group of French Protestants decided to set up an ideal Republic on a faraway tropical island in the Indian Ocean, reputed for its “bounteousness and beauty (which) can make us mistake it for an earthly paradise”.
A series of four memoirs of an alluring nature were distributed among the refugees enticing them to discover Eden Island, today’s Réunion Island. By their tone they can be considered as the first tropical tourist brochure. This 1689 “teaser” has heralded a talented trend for watercolour worlds and a lust for a fuller life.