THE ROUND METAL AND THE HEAVY PAPER
Listen to me with an open mind, my more sensible brothers and be grateful that you do not know the sins and horrors of the white man. All of you are my witness that the missionary said: "God is love". A good Christian always has to keep the image of love before his eyes. That's the reason, according to him, that the white man only prays to the Great God. Brothers, he has lied to us and cheated we are; he was bribed by the Papalagi to lead us astray with the words of the Great Spirit. Because they worship the heavy paper and the round metal, they call money, like a God.
When you speak to a European about the God of Love, he smiles and makes a funny face. He smiles at your stupidity. But as soon as you show him a piece of round, shiny metal or a sheet of heavy paper, then his eyes light up and saliva starts dribbling down his lips. Money is his only love, money is his God. That's the thing all whites think about, even when they sleep. There are some whose hands have become gnarled and taken the appearance of the legs of a termite, as a result of the continuous reaching for the metal and the paper. There are many whose eyes have gone blind just from counting their money. There are those that have given away their joy in exchange for money, their laughter, their honor, their soul, their happiness, yes even their wife and children. Almost all of them give away their health for money. They carry it with them in their loincloths, between hard skins folded together. At night they put it under their bedrolls, so that nobody can take it away. They think about it night and day, every hour, every minute. And everybody, everybody! Children as well! It is driven home to them. It's taught to them by their mothers and they see it from their fathers. When you walk through the fissures of the Siamanis (1), everywhere you hear shouting, mark! And a moment later again, mark! Everywhere you hear that cry. That's the local name for the round metal and the heavy paper. In Fafali (2) it's called franc, in Peletania (3) shilling and in Italia (4) lira. Mark, franc, shilling, lira, it's all the same. It all means money, money, money. Money is the only true God of the Papalagi, when at least you consider God to be the thing you love most.
And so it happens in the land of the whites, that it is impossible to be without money, not even for one moment between sunrise and sunset, without any money at all! You would be unable to satisfy your hunger or your thirst, unable to find a mat for the night. They would lock you up in their gloomiest pfui-pfui (5), they would lock you up and slander your name in the many papers (6), because you have no money. You have to pay, that means give money for the ground you stand on, for the spot where you want to build your hut, for your mat for the night, for the light that shines inside your hut. When you want to hunt for the pigeon or want to wash your body in the stream, pay you must. When you want to go to the place where people have fun and where they sing and dance, or if you want to ask your brother for advice, you must pay much round metal and many heavy papers. You have to pay for everything. Everywhere your brother stands with an outstretched hand and he will despise and curse you if you leave it unfilled. An apologetic smile or a friendly look don't help to soften his heart. Instead he will open his mouth and shout at you: "Scoundrel! Lazybones! Beggar!", which all means the same and is generally considered a grave insult. Even to be born you have to pay and when you die, your aiga must pay because you are dead and pay they must to obtain permission to lay your body in the earth and for the big stone they roll on top of your grave as a memento.
I've been able to discover only one thing for which no money is asked and of which everybody could take as much as he wanted: the air to breathe. But I suspect that this has merely escaped attention and I don't hesitate to state, that, when my words could be heard in Europe, they would immediately demand round metal and heavy paper for that too. Because every European is always on the look-out for a reason to demand even more money.
To be in Europe without money is like being a man without a head, without limbs, a zero. Money you must have. Money you need like you need food and drink and sleep. The more money you have, the easier your life is. When you possess money, you can buy tobacco and rings and nice loincloths. You can buy as much tobacco, rings and loincloths as you want, as long as your money holds out. If you own much money, you can buy many things. So therefore everybody wants a lot of money. And everybody wants more than the other has. That's why they're all after money and everybody's eyes are hunting for it, all through the day. When you throw a piece of round metal in the sand, the children dart forward and fight for it, and the one who gets hold of it is the victor and very happy. Pieces of money are not thrown in the sand regularly however. Where does the money come from? How can you obtain a lot of money? Oh, in all manners, easy and difficult. When you slice off your brother's hair, when you carry away the dirt from in front of his house, when you sail a canoe across the water or when you have a strong thought. Yes, for the record it must be mentioned that not only round metal and heavy paper is asked for almost everything, you can also get it for doing almost anything. The only thing you have to do is perform an action that's called "labor" in Europe. "Perform labor and you will have money", is the common rule in Europe.
There is however one gross injustice that the Papalagi tend to overlook, that they will not consider because that would mean recognizing that injustice. Not all the people that have a lot of money also work a lot. (Of course everybody would like to have a lot of money, without working for it) This is the way it goes; as soon as a white man has enough money for his food, his hut and his mat and a little bit to spare, for that little bit, he lets his brother work for him. He starts by letting him do the work that made his hands hard and dirty. He lets him carry away the dirt he made. And if it is a woman, she hires a girl to do the work for her. That girl must clean the dirty mats, the food-utensils and footskins. She must mend the torn loincloths and may not do something that's not pleasing or useful to her mistress. That way he or she gains time to do
(1) Germany. (2) France. (3) England. (4) Italy. (5) Prison.
bigger, more important or more pleasant work, for which they receive more money, don't have to dirty their hands or strain their muscles. If he is a boatbuilder, then they have to help him build boats. From the money he gains with another man's work, money that rightfully ought to belong to that man, he takes away part, the larger part, and as soon as he can he hires another man to work for him and then a third; more and more brothers are building boats for him, sometimes more than a hundred. Until he does nothing himself anymore but lay on his mat, drink European kava and burn these smoking rods. He delivers the boats when ready and receives the round metal and heavy paper, that others earned for him. Then people say he is rich. Everybody envies him, flatters him and speaks to him in a friendly manner. Because in the land of the whites, a man is not honored for his nobleness or his courage, but for the amount of money he has; how much he earns in a day and how much he can collect in his strong iron boxes, that are so heavy not even an earthquake can budge them.
There are many white men that save up all the money that others earn for them, and then they bring it to a place where it is well kept. Always more money they bring there, until they don't even need others anymore to do the work for them, because the money itself does the work. How a thing like that is possible, without all out sorcery, never became entirely clear to me, but true it is that money begets money, like the leaves growing on a tree such a man is getting richer and richer, even, when he is asleep.
So even when somebody has a lot of money, much more than most people have, so much that hundreds or thousands of workers could lessen their burden with it, he still doesn't give anything away from it. He wraps his hands around the round metal and sits on the heavy paper, greed and lust burning in his eyes. And when you ask him what he intends to do with all that money, realizing you can't do much more on this earth than clothe yourself and satisfy your hunger and thirst, then he doesn't know what to say or he answers: "I want to gain more money, always more and more". Then soon it will dawn on you that money has made him sick, that his common sense has fled before the moneysickness.
He is sick and possessed, because his soul has hooked on to the round metal and heavy paper and he will never stop raking in as much as possible. He can never reason: I want to leave this world without having done malice and without carrying ballast, for that's the way the Great Spirit has sent me off into the world. without round metal or heavy paper. Of that fact only a few of them are aware. Most of them stay ill forever, never again to become healthy hearted again and only taking pleasure in the power that large amounts of money give. They swell up with pride like the tropical fruit after a rainshower. With glee they let their brothers perform the heavy labor, while they themselves grow fat in the flesh and expand considerably. They do that without getting into conflict with their conscience. Very proud they look at their clean fingers, which will never be dirty again. The knowledge that they continually steal the strength of others to add to their own, doesn't bother them or rob them of their sleep at night. It doesn't enter their minds to let others partake of that money to lighten their burden.
That's why there are two different classes of people in Europe: the first kind has to work hard and do the dirty jobs, while the second kind works only a little bit or doesn't work at all. One group has never time to sit in the sun, while the others do nothing else. The Papalagi say: not all people can have as much as some have, or sit in the sun all the time. On this saying he bases the right to be cruel when dealing with money. His heart is like a stone and his blood is cold. Yes, he feints and tells lies and is forever dishonest and dangerous when his hands are reaching for the money. It often occurs that one Papalagi kills the other, just for his money. Or he kills him with the venom of his words, or drugs him to plunder him afterwards. Usually that's the reason for one not trusting the other; they all know each other's weakness. That's also why it is impossible to find out if a man with much money is also good at heart. It is possible that he is very bad. You can never find out how and where he amassed his riches.
But also for that reason, a rich man never knows if the honor that's done to him is meant for his round metal or for him. Usually it is for his round metal. Therefore also I don't understand why the people who don't own round metal and heavy paper feel ashamed about that and envy others, instead of letting others envy them. Because it is neither honorable nor good to wear too many shells on strings. It also isn't good to be blessed with too much money. It takes away people's breath and hampers their natural body movements.
But not a single Papalagi dares to despise money. Those that don't love money are laughed at, are valea (1). Wealth is having much money, is being happy: that's what the Papalagi say. And also: the richest country is the happiest one.
My light-skinned brothers, we are all poor. Our land is the poorest of all lands under the sun. We don't have enough round metal or heavy paper to fill even one chest. According to the ways of the Papalagi, we are wretched beggars. And still, when I look into your eyes and compare them with those of the rich alii, I find theirs tired, dull and sluggish, while yours shine like the great light, emitting rays of happiness. strength, life and health. I have seen eyes like yours only
with the children of the Papalagi, before they can speak. Because before that time they have no knowledge of money yet. How powerful the grace of the Great Spirit is, that he has protected us from that aitu. Money is an aitu because everything it does is bad and it makes everybody bad. Even if you only touch the money, you fall under its spell and he who loves it must serve it and &vote all his strength to it for the rest of his life. Let us love our noble ways and despise the man who asks an alofa (1) in exchange for his hospitality or for every fruit he gives you. Let us honor our ways that do not permit someone having much more than another, or somebody having a lot and the other having nothing at all. So that we will not become like the Papalagi in our hearts, so that we will not be happy and glad when our brother beside
us is unhappy and sad.
But above all, let us beware of the money. The Papalagi dangle the round metal and heavy paper also in front of our eyes, to awaken our greed. They declare that it will make us richer and happier. Many among us have already been touched and blinded by this fearsome disease.
But you - when you believe the words of your humble brother and know that I speak the truth when I say that money never makes one happier or better, but that it throws the heart into boundless confusion, that with money someone is never really helped, that it will never make you gladder, stronger or happier - you will hate the round metal and the heavy paper, the way you hate your worst enemy.
(1) A present or a reward.
4. The Round Metal And The Heavy Paper