The Null Device

John Frum vs. Prophet Fred

Two villages in the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu are the scene for a war between a Christian sect and a cargo cult.
The John Frum movement first emerged in Vanuatu in the 1930s when the islands were jointly ruled by Britain and France as the New Hebrides. Rebelling against the aggressive proselytising of Presbyterian missionaries, dozens of villages on the island of Tanna put their faith in a mysterious outsider called John Frum. They believed he would drive out their colonial masters and re-establish their traditional ways.
On Tanna, islanders became convinced that John Frum was an American. They have spent the past 60 years dressing up in home-made US army uniforms, drilling with bamboo rifles and parading beneath the Stars and Stripes in the hope of enticing a delivery of "cargo" again.
"In the past we believed in John Frum, but now we believe in Jesus," said Alfred Wako, 49. "The John Frum people don't go to church and they don't send their children to school. They believe in the old rituals. They are heathens."

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