A flash visit to Easter Island
They say that the Rapa Nui people, the ethnic group that originally inhabited Easter Island, descended from Polynesian sailors of the early last millennium. It is also said that, in spite of temporary or organizational differences, this people had a direct similarity with the rest of human kind, since they experienced situations not very different to the ones in today’s global society.
Owners of a rather small world, they organized in tribes, worked the land, exploited the ocean, chose their leaders, worshiped gods, and created monuments and sculptures of reverence: the moai. The moai are the only survivors of this age, just like the Pantheon remains firm in the Olympus mount, the Roman coliseum or the Egyptian pyramids. Art outlives time, and it is the only thing that makes us immortal.
The numerous moai were carefully and precisely carved in volcanic rock. Experts believe the sculptures were made by the first Polynesian inhabitants of the island in order to honor or represent their ancestors. Some sculptures are over 20 meters long and weight more than 80 tons. There are several theories regarding the methods used to transport these monsters, but nothing is certain. For the moment, it could be more appealing to leave these issues to imagination. The moai originally surrounded the whole island, and their eyes focused on the center of the island where the tribes lived, like great parents watching over their children, gods who provide wisdom or works of art distressed over the presence of human activities.
Dreams of the Moai
Today, over 3500 people live in Easter Island. Their means of support are fishery and the raging tourism. Nowadays, these sculptures represent a different perception of humanity: they face the ocean, Orion's belt and the Pleiades, they are arranged according to the equinox or solstice, and some keep facing towards the center. During their reconstruction and restoration, they were probably reconfigured in their essence. When the first westerners visited the island in the 18th century, they found the fabulous statues were fallen, ruined and neglected. Apparently, the tribal wars were responsible for these actions.
In the centuries previous to the “discovery” of the island, there allegedly was a pernicious overpopulation among the Rapa Nui, which led to the shortage of supplies and to wars. The moai, silent and thinking, are the only witnesses of the civilization's collapse. The dreams of the moai are those of any god: to enjoy the splendor of the civilization that created them once again. Perhaps they will moan for eternity the terrible destiny that the people of the Pacific suffered.
The Moai Watch Over the World
A symbol of ancient societies’ way of thinking, these sculptures can be wise because they have seen the end of humanity on a small scale. Hopefully science fiction will invent a way to make the moai talk so they can tell us how society in itself can be the only cause of all ills. Surely, under the faint light of the stars or the captivating reflection of the moon, the dreams of the moai are calmer than the ones described in this article. Inevitably, they are inanimate beings, and fortunately, they remain silent.