NEW HEBRIDES: Coup in Paradise

Takeover by bow and arrow

Swaying palms, warm breezes, gentle waves—when it comes to the Melanesian archipelago of the New Hebrides, the standard tropical cliches are in order. The 72-island chain was, after all, the model for James Michener's Bali Ha'i in Tales of the South Pacific, later turned into a musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Now, after 74 years of joint British-French colonial rule and on the eve of independence, the archipelago and its 100,000 inhabitants are experiencing their first political upheaval.

As revolutions go, it has been a gentle affair. On...

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