Friday, 9 March 2007

Bainimarama: Hero or villain?

More in sadness than joy, I have to report that Tim Wikiriwhi, the tireless Libertarianz spokesman to deregulate Maori Affairs, has resigned his post and resigned the party.

His resignation disappoints me greatly; the reason is the different estimate that he and other Libz place on The Coup of Commodore Bainamarama. Tim thinks the coup should be praised, and Bainimarama hailed as (in Tim's words) a "hero of equality and justice." His reasons for thinking so were as unclear to me then as they are now, but may be deduced from his Open Letter to Commodore Bainimarama -- Tim's first press release as an "independent libertarian".

I say "deduced" because his reasons for thinking the Commodore worthy of support are to me still unclear. A "hero of equality and justice" is to me a figure like Thomas Jefferson, or Frederick Douglass, or William Lloyd Garrison ... it would need an awful lot of evidence that would convince me that the Commodore fits into that pantheon -- and the censorship, beatings and even murders instituted in Fiji since the coup don't speak highly of his chances of being so elevated.

Tim argues that "Bainamarama is determined to make Fiji a nation where indigenous racism has no political stranglehold" and this as "one of the greatest political statements for Equality before the law by any world leader this century."
Bainamara’s intension to abolish the Fijian racist electoral system and have one electoral roll for all can only be described as the highest of political Ideas, and should he be successful, he deserves to go down in history as the greatest benefactor of Fiji!
I'm still not so sure. The censorship, beatings and murders do tend to suggest otherwise -- but since the MSM reporting from Fiji has been almost entirely lacklustre one has few facts on which to base a judgement. As I've said several times, I'm still here to be persuaded; if his heroism is so certain, then the reasons for being so certain about it and the facts to back it up should be easy to explain and simple to lay out -- but I've yet to see a full explanation, or those facts.

If anyone has such facts or can state clearly the reasons for supporting the Commodore, I'd be more than happy to see them. The best I can offer as ammunition for either side are these few relevant highlights that appeared recently:
  • NBR editor Nevil Gibson suggests, "The Bainimarama coup is widely viewed as progressive because it has a credible finance minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, and is seen as reversing Fiji’s trend toward more race-based policies. Time magazine has this largely complimentary profile." Excerpt:
    Bainimarama says entrenched corruption, race-based policies that favored the 51% of Fiji's population who are indigenous, and runaway crime drove his intervention. He rejects [Alexander] Downer's suggestion that he has acquired a taste for power as "the height of insensitivity and arrogance," saying he didn't want to be Prime Minister, and accepted the position only at the urging of his military council. "I hate this job," he says, "but it has to be done. And we are going to stay until we complete this business." How long that will take is anyone's guess... "I have told my troops that power corrupts only if you abuse the authority given to you," he says. "I am continually telling my people, 'This is the line. You can't cross this line. It doesn't do us any good.' "
  • The blog Intelligentsiya has become a key site in reporting the Bainimarama regime's activities and abuses every time it does "cross the line," and (reports Idiot/Savant) the military is hunting for them for it, "accusing them of 'portraying a negative image of the Interim Government' - which is apparently a crime in the New Fiji." The bloggers describe themselves as
    Free. Fair. Fearless. Intelligentsiya is made up of Fiji Islanders who are libertarians in their own way and who cherish the free flow of news, ideas and information and will peacefully resist any attempts by the country's military rulers to stifle free speech. intelligentsiya will also bear witness, report and discuss human rights abuses by the authorities.
Whatever the case, it looks to be a blog to keep track of. And I'd be happy to hear your own views or information.


  1. Whatever happens to ACT, we can be assured that the Libertarianz won't self destruct.

  2. You're right there Berend. The Libz may have had a rough few years but are on the right track now. You should join up, our token Christian just resigned :-)

  3. xLet me remind you P.C that Jefferson and co compromised on equality re slavery, for the sake of getting the South into the Union.
    This Compromise meant the Beating, rape and murder of countless slaves...and merely put off "the beating and murder of slave owners" till the latter date of the civil war (which cost the Union oceans of blood!)

    This compromise was against what Jefferson wanted, but could not be helped if America was to be free from England.

    Now Fiji is in a state of civil war.
    It's Indiginous population have been indoctrinated with indiginous rights by those cheifs who seek to maintain their power base (just like Maori are being brain washed here).
    Thus it is that violence is rising in an attempt to make Bainamarama fail.
    (It will rise here too when someone has the balls to confront our rasist system and dethrone racist powers.)
    Such is the Nature of this evil!
    (Martin Luther King was shot!...K.K.K, etc)
    Yet the longer we let this system last...the more bloody will the battle be!
    The blood rightfully rests on the side of the racists not the righteous who are attempting to install a just system.
    I say this rule applies in Fiji.
    I quit the Libz because I see this Fijian situation as of momentous weight in the battle for racial equality around the globe, and that it will only succeed if every liberty loving man rallies for this cause!
    If Bainamarama is sucessfull, this will be a great help in our fight here in New Zealand. If he looses it will make our job so much harder!
    Is Bainamarama doing everything in a way we would? Maybe not!, but this means he needs our guidance!And I for one am trying to do my bit so that I may make his drive for equality as righteous, and as peaceful as possible.
    Because the libertarian party would not move on this...but seek to sit back in safety and criticize him...I decided that the only course for me is to step out on my own and follow what I believe to be the most essential issue at hand.
    Should Bainamarama prove to be a liar and a tyrant, then I will act accordingly...but for now he must be supported!
    I regret that the Libertarianz dont share my vision.
    Tim Wikiriwhi

  4. Tim, what I've asked for and am asking for now is your evidence that Bainimarama is who you say he is, and doing what you says he's doing.

    As I say above, the MSM reporting from Fiji has been almost entirely lacklustre, so there are few facts on which to base a firm judgement.

    On the other hand, you're claiming some certainty for your claim -- against a blog-ful of self-declared libertarian bloggers, (who as we speak are being hunted down by the military!) -- so if you're as certain as you say you are, then the evidence should be easy to produce.

    That's what I've been asking you for all this time. The evidence. Where's your evidence. You may be right, but on what facts are you basing your claim?

  5. Eric, you really want delusional people to sign up? You're not that desparate for spokespersons are you?

  6. Well, your claims re the bloggers goes against Bainamarama's recent declaration of freedom of the press.
    What evidence do you have that justifies doing nothing?
    His arguments are 100% right!

    Let us assume you are correct, ie that Bainamarama has some reason he seeks to get his hands on these 'Libertarian bloggers'.
    Chances are these 'Liberals' are bleating about Him not allowing mobs to form and destroy the place! (like Tonga!)
    Do I think he should attempt to scilence these folk? No!
    Do I think he ought to suppress racist mob gatherings? YES!
    They are the enemies of justice!
    They are a threat to the well being of Fiji and the success of ending Racist government.

    Are these bloggers trying to raise a mob uprising?

    The difficulty for establishing justice is in having "a revolution within the heads of Fijians".
    This is why the elections must wait for sufficent time to pass so that they begin to see equality does not mean they are being ripped off.
    In the mean time...a state of civil war exists and all racist mobs must kept in check and stopped from wreaking Fiji and murdering whomsoever they desire.
    It is the Racists who seek chaos and death and corrupt powers!

    I am offering myself to counter such bloggers with reason and counter arguement...insodoing I offer Bainamarama a better method of acheiving his goals than hunting down peaceful desenters.
    Are they peaceful?
    I tried to get the Libz involved so that we might get a first hand account of things there rather than biased 2nd hand accounts.
    I am not sitting on my ass while an essential battle is going on!
    The Libz are!
    It is obvious that Bainamarama is no George Speight!
    No Rabuka!
    This is the gun toting evil he pulled a gun on!
    Bainamarama is a hero!
    You must be blind not to see it!
    Tim Wikiwiwhi

  7. "Well, your claims re the bloggers goes against Bainamarama's recent declaration of freedom of the press."

    Like that would bother him.

    Tell me, why do you see these self-declared libertarian bloggers as adversaries rather than possible allies? On what basis do you, at this distance, suspect their evidence, when they're on the ground and you aren't? What basis do you have for declaring them as the bad guys and B. as the hero?

    You say you're certain B. is a hero, so certain you've quit over it. Well, if your claim is so certain, then why not try to convince them of its veracity? You say, "I am offering myself to counter such bloggers with reason and counter argument..." Well, Tim, then I can only suggest you go and do that ... but you'll need to muster the necessary evidence to support your claim, because despite repeated questioning from me on precisely this question you haven't produced any.

    I've been asking for evidence. This is not evidence:

    "Chances are these 'Liberals' [sic] are bleating about Him not allowing mobs to form and destroy the place!"

    "It is obvious..."

    "Bainamarama is a hero! You must be blind not to see it!"

    Well, I ask again: where is your evidence?

    You say, "I tried to get the Libz involved so that we might get a first hand account of things," and in this you would be flat wrong. You wanted to get the Libz to back B., and to hang our hat on his credibility, and you were unwilling to offer any evidence in support of your desire.

    Sadly, you still haven't.

  8. "Eric, you really want delusional people to sign up?"

    Don't be so hard on yourself, Berend. :)

  9. Richard McGrath9 Mar 2007, 16:26:00

    Tim - Sorry to see you bowing out of Libz, but further to what PC has said, can you point me to something - a news article even - that would cast some light on the motives behind the actions of Mr B. If the evidence appears strong that he is indeed what you say he is, I will back you.

  10. Richard,
    Wednesday Feb 21 Waikato Times.
    Fiji Poll in 2010, says Bainimarama.
    If you cant track this down on the net I'll type it out for you.
    It is the best statement on his position...It is brilliant!

    Also he recently said that he was granting freedom of the press...but I cant find my copy of this at the moment. I'll find it and get the ref for you.

    Having seen P.Cs link to the "blogger hunt", It is an exageration to say they are in danger!...the army want's to talk to them about getting their side of the story told!
    Who are these bloggers????
    Nameless !!!!!
    What does that tell you!
    As for Bainamarama 'murdering'...what another exageration!
    Someone may have been beaten, and died, yet you cant say Bainamarama ordered it!...anymore than Bush ordering torture of Iraqis!
    These bloggers have no credibility!
    They demonstrate prejudise.
    They are no doubt as one eyed as the silly Libertarianz are!
    Too anal to see the wood for the trees!
    The current Libz leaders wouldn't support Martin Luther King..."because he's a communist",
    They wouldnt support Bushes war on terror..."because he's a Christian and opposes stem cell research and abortion..."
    They wouldnt support Brash against appartheid ..."because he still supports the welfare state..."
    Well this sort of B.S garantees the Libz do nothing...while the likes of Bush, Brash, Bainamarama, and King go out there and fight the bastards!
    So much for freedom fighting!
    They cant even make value judgements!
    Evil will not wait for the Libertarianz to be in power!
    The battle goes on today!
    You either pick a side and rally...or you do nothing and watch evil destroy good because the good had no one comming to their aid!

    The UN is going to strike in Fiji.
    All the enemies of equality and freedom are gathering and subverting this situation because they all want Bainamarama to fail!
    I will not stand by and let this happen without giving it my all!
    I cannot help but think that the Libz are a bunch of democrats at heart!
    They cant see past mobocracy!
    They are effeminate hot air blowers!
    This situation is too scary for them!
    They prefer our slow death and our "civilised racists" of the maori party...deluding themselves that our situation is somehow going to be solved simply by waving flags!
    Well I'm sorry to say we here in New Zealand are up against the very same evil as Mogabe,and Speight!
    The same evil as the Southern slave trade!
    Mark my words!
    New Zealand will see blood running before our racists give in to equality!
    Now is the Time to fight!
    Or will you leave it for our children to face?
    We must help Fiji!
    This is one oppotunity that could turn the tide and help save us...and Zimbabwe by shining the light!

  11. Tim-I can see where you're coming from, but I think you're going to be sadly disappointed with Bainimarama and his co-coupsters.

    Fiji's racist constitution was clearly wrong.

    However I don't think that a bunch of pro Russian/Chinese "ex" comms like Chaudhry and his Fiji Labour Party colleagues have much to offer Fijians of any race.

    Chaudhry swore he would not join Bainimarama's regime, then promptly did so, which show you how great his principles are.

    No arguement with your principles Tim, but I doubt that Bainimarama, Chaudhry and co will live up to them.

  12. it is.

    Fiji Poll in 2010, says Bainimarama. Waikato Times Feb 21 2007

    Suva- Fiji’s Military ruler announced yesterday he will call elections in 2010 to restore parliamentary rule after ousting the elected government in December.
    “Under this road map, Fiji will be ready for a general election and full restoration of Parliamentary democracy in 2010” Commodore Frank Bainamarama said. The plan took into account the need to restore Fiji’s poorly performing economy and stabililise government finances, and reflected the military’s “aspiration” to remove corruption from government, Bainamarama said. He installed what he said was an interim government after the military seized power from Prime minister Laisenia Qarase in a bloodless coup.
    Bainamarama said he was compelled to act against the government because corruption had flourished under Qarase, and because of proposed laws that would grant pardons to plotters in a 2000 coup and hand lucrative land rights to indigenous Fijians at the expense of the large ethnic Indian minority.

    The announcement came a day after a Pacific islands’ Forum report called for elections in 18 months to two years to restore democracy. The report describes the December 5 coup as “Unconstitutional and unacceptable”, called for Bainamarama to step down as prime minister, and For fiji’s troops to return to their Barracks.
    Bainamarama ignored the report yesterday, instead setting out a “roadmap” for holding a national census this year to provide accurate information to redraw the nations electoral boundaries to reflect population changes since the last census in 1996.
    There was significant migration from Fiji by it’s ethnic Indian minority after a coup by Fijian nationalists in May 2000- the third push since 1987. Fiji has now had 4 coups.
    Bainamarama said the new electoral system would ensure that all votes cast were equal, and would abolish the “race based” election system which required that indigenous Fijians vote for Fijian candidates, ethnic Idians for Indian candidates, and others for a third group of candidates.
    “In particular, we want to rid the constitution of provisions that facilitate and exacerbate the politics of race”, Bainamarama said.
    “after three years, the country’s economy and government finances will have recovered fully to be able to fund…a general election in Fiji”

  13. Trevor,
    Thank you for your comments...It's been a lonely road!
    Yes Bainamarama could dissapoint me, though by his words I have very high hopes!
    I'd be more dissapointed with myself if I did not take this chance to help thwart Indiginious rights!

    Time is of the essence!
    The more help and guidance we can give him...the better the cances of success!
    We must show him how to stabilise and improve Fiji's economy via freemarket, private property and security.
    Through prosperity...he will gain support!
    we must encourage him to adhere to strict justice esp keeping his troups from foolish violence.
    He must disipline all crimes.
    We must show him that if he maintains himself in a righteous way that he will assured of eternal glory!
    He has huge troubles to overcome in Fiji and abroard.
    He needs help!
    He's no fool...he's done almost everything right so far.
    Cheers Tim

  14. Robert Winefield10 Mar 2007, 04:16:00

    Hi Tim,

    I agree with you that B. is making the correct conventional noises. But I confess to being reluctant to trust B. after 3 previous coups in that country. I believe (though am happy to be corrected) that the Fijian military is made up almost exclusively of ethnic Fijians and which only serves to deepen my suspicion.

    That said, I see no reason why Libz cannot point out that B. is making the right noises, whilst emploring him to underline his commitment to his words and lift the suppression of the media & holding an open inquiry/courts martial into this story about the death in custody.

    It wouldn't hurt to point out that the latter would be expected of any civilized & professional western military organization.

    Pointing out that lifting the media suppression would be the equivalent of giving the fingers to Clark and her government's idiotic sanctions couldn't hurt our cause either.

    Doing so would merely call attention to the reality of the situation according to the facts available.

    True, it is probably less than you would like Tim, but as I said, I've seen too many god-awful military dictators rise in my lifetime (especially Fijian military dictators) to rush headlong into supporting this one.

    And lastly, I hardly think that the UN is in any position to launch a raid on the local milk bar, let alone an Island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. One that supplies a good number of troops for UN Peacekeeping missions.

    To 'strike' Fiji, you are going to need strike aircraft with tanker support or aircraft carriers or amphibious landing forces. And the number of nations that can supply the UN with those things can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

    And there is no way in hell that any of those nations are going to let the UN borrow such expensive assets for an attack on such a piss-ant piece of dirt like Fiji. Especially considering the size and professionalism of the Fijian military they will be fighting!

    Fear not Tim. The UN's response will be limited to sanctions and tongue clicking. I'd bet real money on that.

  15. Ooooh I'm enjoying this :) Two things though: 1) don't be lazy with your speling and grammer, 2) too many exclamation marks Tim!!! :p

    Now down to it...

    Robert Winefield seems to be on the mark, however...

    If Fiji wasn't so "coup-prone", would we be as suspicious about Bainimarama's motives, given that he was removing what was by all reports a corrupt and racist government? Wouldn't the Thai military have removed a govt. as corrupt as this a fair while ago?

    Now picture this: It's 20 years from now and you've just taken control of N.Z. via a coup, removing a government that is still led by a now VERY withered Helen Clark. Of course you are well justified in removing this government (imagine the state N.Z. is in after 30 years of Labour).
    So, what is your first reaction going to be when groups of Maori's, Greenies and Unionists all start kicking up a fuss, demanding that the Clark govt. be reinstated? ...
    OK, so maybe you wouldn't be suppressing them, being a libertarian and all. However, I can see why there have been a few beatings in Fiji after this coup (it obviously ain't going to be all lollipops and rainbows). I only hope (and Tim assumes) that it is the right people receiving the beatings.

    For me, the sounds coming out of Bainimarama's mouth suggest that we must give him the benefit of the doubt at this stage. Also, it would not hurt at all for Bainimarama to be given some philosophical (and moral) support to help ensure his new "coup-instated" government is above reproach.

    It would be great if we could actually meet the guy instead of relying on a Clark/Cullen enforced media bias.

    P.S. Tim, you do yourself no favours by getting over-excited and insulting the libz.

  16. Richard McGrath11 Mar 2007, 00:21:00

    Tim - thanks for posting that article. As RW and others have said, Mr B is making the right noises and those sentiments can be encouraged without necessarily condoning some of the actions that are alleged to have occurred since the coup. What is critical is that Mr B immediately frees up basic civil liberties such as free speech and expression in Fiji. When this is seen to be done, libertarians will be much happier. Meantime, the jury is still out as to Mr B is preaching freedom on the one hand, and practicing oppression on the other .

  17. Richard McGrath11 Mar 2007, 00:26:00

    Further to the earlier post Tim, I agree that Jefferson, King, etc, were not perfect, but their contribution to mankind cannot be denied. I think it is inexplicable that Jefferson kept slaves yet wrote so beautifully and eloquently about liberty. And I hope Mr B turns out to be a hero. BTW I saw today that he features in the latest Time magazine.

  18. Robert and Mitch,
    What I mean by the UN striking, is they will begin a campaign of political evil against Fiji, possibly trade sanctions etc, which states like New Zealand will jump at as pretext to hurt Bainamarama.
    Clark wont give a rat’s ass that such action will hurt Kiwi’s, she will say it’s “a moral issue” that over rides free trade!
    She will say “Democracy is the over riding factor!”
    This is because she pedals democracy as the only moral principle!
    What the majority want…is just….according to her!
    And every one who has been brainwashed into believing democracy is synonymous with freedom, and does not believe in “God creating man equal and with certain rights and liberties” will buy her B.S!

    If The Fijian economy is hurt, this will hurt the cause for equality.
    It could spark serious violence.
    And all the racist powers in the world ( like Helen Clark) wont give a rat’s ass if Fijians are killed, and Fiji burns as long as Bainamarama is undone. They will blame him for it all!

    I don’t think you can equate this coup with the others!
    It is the very opposite!
    And there are plenty of instances where military dictatorships are necessary because of the insanity/hatred….barbarism… amongst the population.
    The experiment to install democracy in Iraq is a very audacious challenge that I pray succeeds…yet if it does not…the only alternative is a military dictatorship…yet not one like Sadam’s….but one like Rome’s, in which religious liberty is allowed, and the law is enforced without prejudice.
    Many of the provinces were better off under Roman occupation than under “Self rule!”
    I would say Rhodesia is another example where minority rule was much better than the current “What the people want”…to quote those who supported Mugabe.
    It was the stupid West that put that tyrant in power because he was the right colour! (the same as the mob!)

    What this means is that though we Liberals would like to see elected governments every where, the reality is many populations don’t have the requisite ethics!...they hold self destructive beliefs and prejudices.

    These ethics (justice) therefore must be imposed without the vote.
    After a period when enlightened thinkers have taught the populace such things as equality, and religious toleration…that is the validity of certain rights and liberties… then democracy may begin to function.

    This is where Fiji is at present.

  19. This is the Time Magazine article.

    If anybody wants to try to contact Bainamarama, this is the email address of the prime minister's office in Fiji:

  20. Tim,

    I am sorry you have found it necessary to resign. Your commitment to libertarianism and energy will be missed a lot.

    This is oviously a very important issue to you and I can understand your disappointment that the Party has not come aboard.

    My own opinion is that a man should be judged by his actions rather than his words, talk is cheap. In Bainimarama's case, his actions so far have sent mixed messages. They do not justify the unqualified support you expect from the Party and fellow libertarians. In sofar as his actions are in line with libertarian aims, they of course deserve Party support.

    I also believe that it is better to devote our energy and money, limited as they are, to domestic rather than offshore issues. Nevertheless I respect your decision to do otherwise.

    You must be aware from the tone of most of the comments that you are well repected. I hope you will see your way clear to rejoin the Party soon.

  21. Brian,
    Thank you for that link and the Email address.
    I have used both.
    Cheers Tim

  22. Dear Win,
    Thank you for your comments.
    The fact that our government is leading the attack on Bainamarama is reason enough for the Libz to get involved.
    Also the fact that "Evil prospers when good men do nothing" another!
    We ought not let the fact that there is some water between us and Fiji be a determining factor. we must always think globally.
    Thirdly our experience regarding indigenous rights is a valuable resource that we must make available to other nations to halt the spread of this global evil!
    fourthly...the boat loads of Zimbabweans that come here are a testament to how this evil effects every one!
    we may not be able to help Zimbabwe much other than being a place of refuge for the displaced...but we owe it to mankind, and these Zimbabweans to show we grasp their plight and so no part of the UN agenda but are actively doing our part to halt this tyranny of racism.
    by helping Fiji we are helping a very big way!
    That is how I see it.
    Cheers Tim

  23. "The fact that our government is leading the attack on Bainamarama is reason enough for the Libz to get involved."

    I look forward to your defence of Robert Mugabe then Tim...

  24. Eric,
    Can you not make distinctions?
    What a stupid post!
    If you dont have anything sensible to say why bother?
    Is this how you get your rocks off?
    Why is the Internet and Libz haunted by such bloody spiteful time wasters?
    Do you realy think I ment what your comment insinuates?
    Must I explain myself?
    Well then...I was not saying that "everything our government does was wrong!"...Can you grasp that???
    I was saying because our Government was trying to make Bainamarama fail that this was reason enough to get involved in this issue!
    Bainamarama is a good guy!
    and it is wrong for our government to attack him!
    Is this ok with you Pal???
    I don’t care if it's not!
    It's 5.30 am and I'm off to bed!


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.