Monday, 14 May 2007

Arrests and beatings in racist Fiji

The hopes that some libertarians have for Bainimarama's coup in Fiji -- well, that one libertarian has (see below) -- must surely be put to the test by increasing attacks on free speech in Fiji, including most recently the arrest of bloggers for nothing more than doing what bloggers do.
Intelligentsiya reports that a Fijian businessman was arrested, detained and mistreated by the Fijian army, who suspected him of writing blog posts... Soldiers have apparently also pressured FINTEL, Fiji’s sole ISP, to block altogether...
"It seems," notes NZ's Pacific Empire blog [to whom the hat tip goes for the reports], "that anonymity is the only protection for the Intelligentsiya bloggers." Fiji's bloggers are annoying the regime with posts such as these:
  • now a case of "once more into the breach, dear friends" for those of us who detest this governing parasite... We are fighting for our rights and as history has shown over and over again, in every age, every nation, under every tyrant(s), the truth always prevails. And the truth is Mr. Bainimarama, you have committed a wrong so vile that I hope the Lord can forgive you. You have killed, tortured, threatened, bullied the citizens of this nation in the misguided notion that you were doing the right thing. You might say that you did not do these things but as Commander, yours is the responsibility... We blog because this is now the only way we can speak out freely. We have no other avenue that we can safely use to express our mounting dissatisfaction with the way our nation is being raped... [Good Men (and Women) Doing Something]

  • Commodore why don't you tell the people how your officers like army rugby players Komaitai, Dere, Rokowailoa and now Naulia are being hitmans [sic] in your outfit because you have a weakness for rugby and in turn they become your most loyal subjects who will commit anything you bid them to do from hunting down men to actually abusing them and finally killing them. How long do you think this fact is going to remain hidden? Your army boys are talking and this is becoming a known fact. Their families are dying and their children are going to be victims of your sin and the sin of their fathers so do the honest thing and relieve them of the responsibility that you have placed on them knowing they are your murdering dogs!!! Be a man and take it like a man since you were the one who gave them that order as your shadow hit team to do the killing! [Resist Frank's Coup]
  • Deputy Solicitor General Savenaca Banuve was sacked today by the military junta for refusing to defend cases pending against the interim administration. Intelligentsiya sources confirm that Mr Banuve was given an ultimatum about handling cases brought by ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and two members of the Great Council of Chiefs. We understand that Mr Banuve replied that his lawyers would not handle those cases as they already had a heavy load and that, secondly, it was their viewpoint that the current regime was illegal... [Intelligentsiya]

  • Fiji' s Military Dicktator once said in a moment of Strongman Madness and clapped on by his purile fans dressed in green, "We can argue on the legality of the government until the cows come home."

    Well as you can see Mr DickTator, the cows ARE coming home, and this 'cow' will hold out a signpost for you to look at everyday until you get off the grass, stop chewing the nation's fat (whats left of it), and go plug yourself into an halal abattoir somewhere so we the nation's citizens can rebuild what is left of our shattered sovereignty... [Discombobulated]
All bad. But here's a challenge: it's worth making the point that if he's to be believed, Bainimarama is genuinely trying to right a real wrong: the wrong of corruption in Government, and of a racist Fijian Government system that has in the past favoured indigenous and well-connected Fijians over other citizens -- and it's worth noting that at least some of the resistance to him is along racist lines. This post and comment for example at The Rotten State of Fiji gives some idea:
Frank has gone completely mad! I wouldn't be surprised if he is sentenced to the mental ward of St. Giles once all this is over.

A lot of stupid Indians here continue to support Frank and his cronies. This isn't helped by the vengeful mob of Indians settled overseas in Australia and NZ. In the media, they continue to support Frank. Infact, I reckon, Australia and NZ should send those lot back to Fiji and ban them from returning. [Comment: I am with you...this coup was pro Indians and these stupid lot should be sent back to their motherland ... just like Butadroka said, quote Indians will always be Indians...unquote.]
Tim Wikiriwhi argues in The Free Radical that
Bainimarama’s coup is the complete opposite of the previous three coups, each of which attempted to establish absolutely the UN’s apartheid agenda for "indigenous rights." Whereas Rabuka and Speight were acting to cement the racist laws that raised indigenous Fijians over other Fijians, Bainimarama is a defender of the principle of equality.

Bainimarama said he was compelled to act against the government because corruption had flourished under Qarase, whom he himself appointed after the 2000 coup, 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.
Wikiriwhi finds comfort in words such as these from the Commodore: “We want to rid the constitution of provisions that facilitate and exacerbate the politics of race,” arguing that
In seeking to put a permanent end to the racist Fijian electoral system and to permanently abolish laws that grant favouritism to indigenous racists, he is in my estimation worthy of praise and support...
In seeking to permanently abolish laws that grant favouritism to indigenous racists you're unlikely to attract the support of the racists themselves, but it seems to me that if that's genuinely what Commodore B. is trying to do -- and for myself I'm still to be convinced -- then rather than shutting down free speech he should be daily and regularly making his case that racist government is wrong, and that he is the enemy of racist law and of racist government in Fiji.

If he's right, then truth should be his ally, not his enemy.

An example of the damage caused by Fiji's racist property law is highlighted this month in Time magazine, which has an article and photo essay on Fiji's squatters -- those dispossessed non-indigenous Fijians who haven't received the 'favour' of being allowed to own land, and who are left at the mercy of shifting economic and political tides. As that photo-caption above notes, "Most of the country's 100,000 squatters [ten percent of the country's 900,000 population] are Indo-Fijian origin; many have been driven to the cities as a result of expired farm leases" -- a fragile leasehold being the only form of ownership allowed to Indo-Fijians.
The drift of rural families into cities in search of better jobs and improved living conditions is part of a global trend, but in Fiji the country's [racist] land-ownership policies have exacerbated the problem. Laws passed in the 1970s obliged non-indigenous farmers to take 30-year leases on the land they worked.
As leases expired, government's "encouraged" indigenous Fijian "owners" to eject leaseholders (leases being all they were allowed to own), resulting in a surge to Suva by squatters in the late 1990s, who live in shameful conditions, excluded as they are from the "mainstream" of Fijian economic life by racist laws, and a racist constitution.
Farming families like the Kumars, from the Nanuku squatter settlement on the coast near Suva, were among those who lost their farms and were driven into the city in the late 1990s. "My father and I went twice to the landowners to ask them to renew the lease," says Rohit Kumar. "But both times they refused. I was crying when I left. I was looking around seeing this place I had grown up farming, seeing the place where I used to play as a little boy." Today Kumar, his wife and four children are crammed into an 8 m by 5 m shack located in the middle of a mosquito-infested mangrove swamp. Around them is a garbage tip of old tyres, tins and broken-up asbestos sheeting; human waste fills a network of stinking open drains that regularly overflow during high tide.
If this is what Commodore B. is fighting, then I'm with him. But how would we know if he is?

1 comment:

  1. Good post P.C,
    It is truly a frightening time in Fiji which is a direct outcome of Indigenous rights racism. Ridding Fiji of this evil is no Sunday picnic and I am quite surprised how non-violent this struggle has been so far though as you have always maintained we don’t know the full story and as Bainimarama’s adversaries claim he is suppressing free speech it makes it even more difficult. I take some relief in knowing Fiji is not shut out from the outside world, and that they desire tourism and trade which does give us access to what is going on to some degree.
    It must be expected that those that hate him will say such things as that he is anti free speech when in fact he is simply suppressing mob communications and propaganda.
    It is a principle of military strategy to cutoff your enemies lines of communication.
    And by acting against small resistance he leaves no doubt in the racists minds that he means business and will certainly come down on any major uprising.
    This Hardman man approach may be all that has kept Fiji from all out chaos.
    It is a nasty business! Just like all war is. Innocent people do get hurt.
    Yet the blame lies with the racists who are attempting to maintain their racist government and have filled the minds of the Fijian natives with racist hate and bigotry and the delusion that they have the superior rights than others.
    I agree that Bainimarama ought to be daily expounding the truth and appealing to the people of Fiji about the righteousness of his cause, and I was wanting The Libertarianz Party to help guide him along the right path. I am doing all I can.
    Closer to home we ought to be shaking in our boots as we face the same confrontation agaist the same evils of indigenous rights here. No matter how much we set about to enlighten the people of New Zealand so as to make the transition to equality as bloodless as possible. There will be racists using the Net to encourage racist hate crimes in opposition to justice!
    We are in for big trouble! It is only a matter of time!
    And who her in NZ has forgotten the Fijians with guns and machete who cruised the islands intimidating Fijian Indians?
    Did the intelligentsiya report the beatings and violence against Fijian Indians prior to Bainimarama’s coup? Did anyone here give a damn about that situation before the coup?
    It is terrible what is happening, yet at least with Bainimarama there is hope!
    It takes backbone to achieve great things and Bainimarama is seeking a thing of true greatness!
    I hold all it is the racist who must bare the blame for violence.
    All it would take for instant peace is for them to renounce their racist political ambitions!
    They don’t have to like their Indian neighbors but they certainly don’t have the right to oppress them!
    Viva Banimarama!


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