It would be easy to overlook the third smallest country in the world as a frivolous waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth in regards to the island of Nauru. It is a multifarious nation described as almost a topographical micro slice of paradise. The Nauruan people have formed a democratic republic with a constitution safeguarding liberties and ensuring prosperity. At least this is according to the Nauru websites available to the public. Countries often present themselves as a glossy postcard picture on the outside. This picture does not always match the reality of what is on the inside. Looking at what the Nauruan Government and Tourist Organization have to say can serve as a baseline for comparison to the realities that Nauru is facing and the gap between the two.
Nauru is a small island located only 26 miles south of the equator with a land mass of just over eight square miles. The government describes the island purely in topographical terms as “surrounded by a coral reef, exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The reef is bound seaward by deep water, and inside by a sandy beach. The presence of the reef has prevented the establishment of a seaport …a 150–300 meter wide fertile coastal strip lies landward from the beach. Coral cliffs surround the central plateau. The only fertile areas are the narrow coastal belt” (Republic of Nauru [RON], 2012, p.1).
The Nauru government is also very proud of their parliamentary democracy and much of their website explains not only the freedom but also compulsory voting at age twenty and above. Their constitution also touts the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms such as “life, liberty, security of the person, the enjoyment of property and the protection of the law; freedom of conscience, of expression and of peaceful assembly and association; and respect for his private and family life” (RON, 2012, p. 1). It also includes provisions for freedom from torture, forced labor, deprivation of property, and freedom from intentionally having someone deprive you of your life (RON, 2012). These indications point to a government based on very American like democratic values. This leaves the actual attraction of the island in terms of the tourist trade to reconnoiter.
The Nauru tourism board focuses on attracting tourist with appeals such as “deep sea fishing, scuba dive amazing ocean depths, take a tour of the island’s past economic mainstay the phosphate mines or simply experience a holiday in a world far from your own… game fishing for tuna, marlin, skipjack, barracuda and many more” (Nauru Tourism, 2011, p.1). It advertised the Phosphate mines as having created a “unique moonscape made up of limestone pinnacles” (Nauru Tourism, 2011, p.2). The complement to all this tropical vacation nirvana of course is a friendly native population. Native Nauruan’s are supposed to be “A quiet and peaceful people…welcoming and hospitable to the few travelers who venture to...