Funafuti, Tuvalu — Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga eagerly checks the national mailbox every afternoon around two or three, whenever the postman brings his rickshaw around. Usually, in the mailbox is a mixture of credit card denials and kindly worded letters from oil companies asking to destroy the coral reefs for ‘exploratory drilling.’
But, after 33 years of waiting, the United Nations letter still hasn’t made the 3,475 mile journey from the next nearest sovereign nation.
“Maybe they forgot to put a Forever Stamp on the letter,” Sopoaga muses, “or maybe they wanted to have some fun and sent the letter in a bottle. If so, I would understand.”
Whatever the reason, many Tuvaluans are frustrated with the lack of international recognition, along with the general dearth of economic opportunities besides coconut farming.
Okilani Tinilau is frustrated because he was forced to qualify for the Olympics as an independent. “Our national anthem is still ‘God Save the Queen,’ our Wikipedia page has Elizabeth II as our queen, where’s the damn letter!?”
Other Tuvaluans wish they could access the same benefits as other United Nations Member Nations. Iakoba Italeli opines, “I just want us to be able to sign petitions so those evil nations know that we ten thousand three hundred and three Tuvaluans dont like what they are doing and are wagging our collective finger at them. Until we can do that everything feels empty.”
Over the years, Prime Miniester Sopoaga attempted many times to get the attention of the United Nations.
First he decided to spend 7.4 percent of the Tuvalu’s yearly GDP to fly to UN Headquarters in 1979. Sopoaga arranged a meeting with Kurt Waldheim, the then Secretary General of the United Nations from Austria.
“I asked him if Tuvalu could join the United Nations,” Sopoaga recalled. “And then Mr. Waldheim laughed and said, ‘If we let in every made up country we would be larger than the Galactic Senate.’ When I explained that Tuvalu had been a British colony for over a century and we even had our own flag he nodded and exclaimed, ‘How cute.’ Then he called security.”
One positive from the New York City visit was that Sopoaga wrote down the recipe for ‘pizza’ to bring back to Tuvalu.
Through the years Sopoaga continued his quest for UN membership.
In the mid 80’s, Tuvalu banded together to break the Guinness Book World Record for longest human chain. They hoped this would give them international recognition.
However, before Sopoaga could send out the video their record was, in the words of Sopoaga, “Utterly obliterated” by Hands Across America.
Sopoaga even bankrupted the country in the 90’s in an attempt to build a highway to Australia. “I thought maybe they just couldn’t get here,” the Prime Minister theorized, “But with only three thousand able bodied men of working age we only made it two hundred miles.”
Ever since that failure, many Tuvaluans have resigned themselves to patiently waiting.
A militant minority though, the anachronistically named Tuvaluan Independence Party, advocate military action against the United Nations. According to their recent manifesto they plan to join up with perennial United Nations enemy North Korea once their Kickstarter for a new sailboat reaches its goal.
Meanwhile, Sopoaga continues checking the mailbox every morning. Last week he went on national television believing the letter had finally arrived. On live teleivsion Sopoaga finally noticed the envelope was from the United National Church, and contained a pamphlet titled “How To Reach Heaven In Six Easy Steps.”
This event caused mass protests as fourteen angry Tuvaluans gathered in front of the Prime Minister’s duplex. The protests were later picked up by Gawker and now the United Nations Security Council is deliberating on sending in Peacekeeping Forces.
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