Monsters and Critics

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Troops shut down media, streets and towns (Roundup)

Dec 5, 2006, 15:42 GMT

Fiji's military head and self-appointed President has closed the country's key media outlets and warned of military checkpoints across the country, but has told Fijians 'things will operate as normal,' according to reports from the capital.

Fiji's military head and self-appointed President has closed the country's key media outlets and warned of military checkpoints across the country, but has told Fijians 'things will operate as normal,' according to reports from the capital.


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Ex-Pat Fijian BusinessmanDec 5th, 2006 - 17:11:51

Fiji needs the UN and the other nations who have threatened sanctions to implement said sanctions to aid the legal, elected government, in it's resistance to a military dictatorship.

In specific, the expulsion of the RFMF from the UN peacekeeping teams will show the military that the world is serious about supporting democracy.

The military has little local popular support, but the general population can't argue to the business end of a gun. Please request your politcal leaders to impose sanctions on the illegal government.

Vinaka vaka levu

Fiji prideDec 5th, 2006 - 17:18:15

I hope all the people in Fiji will show their pride and wear the emotions on their sleeves!

Lawrence from the USADec 5th, 2006 - 17:52:28

It is hard to tell the complete context from the news reports but it seems that the situation may not be a simple 'anti-democracy' military junta vs. 'democratic' government. What is the story of racism against Fijians of Indian ancestry? Did that play a part in the motivation to give amnesty to participants in the previous coup? Did the civil government essentially create another 'army' (Tactical Police Force) with collusion/influence from the Australian government? (Maybe not but it was another armed force and it was run by an Australian.) Was the threat of prosecution against the military leader meant to stifle dissent about the perceived injustice/racism of pardoning the anti-Indian coup participants? Did the military move because they thought (rightly or wrongly) that Australian support would soon enable the government to do to them what the military did to the government?

These sorts of questions are difficult enough but even more crucial is the feeling many of us in the West have that 'why can't these people see that doing this is wrong?' Why don't they respond to our appeals to moral suasion;because at a very basic level it is wrong and anti-democratic for the military to overthrow a democratically elected government.

If we ever expect people to take our moral values seriously we must have the faith of our own convictions. If we flip from condeming a given military overthrow of a democratically elected government and suddenly support them because it is convenient then we will never be able to expect anyone in Fiji or anywhere else to take our moral stance seriously much less convince them to conform to it and adopt it.

JPDec 5th, 2006 - 18:04:58

It saddens me to see these things happen in the modern world. Should we provide more help to these people, yes. The U.N. should serve its purpose in this matter. That being said the U.N. should have the power to have trials over coups. We as people don't live in Fiji and don't understand the situation. If in front of a council of the U.N. the coup could be served as reasonable than let the people have their new government, but if failed military intervention to restore the old government should be priority. However with this said, I will turn the blind eye once again, and wish more that our world would function with such reasonable sentiment.

~JP

Gerard - New York CityDec 5th, 2006 - 18:19:06

Is the toppled government of Fiji comprised mostly of minority ethnic Indians instead of majority ethnic indigenous Fijians? The current situation seems like the historical post-colonial struggles that we see played out all over the globe. The crisis should be allowed to play itself out without the interference of the regional colonialists whose history regarding indigenous majorities is too well known.

Aaron EvansDec 5th, 2006 - 18:21:28

The current military coup in Fiji is more of a counter-coup, since the pre-coup goverment is essentially trying to re-instate and absolve the leaders of the 2000 coup. Indofijians are not a minority group. Fiji's population is nearly equally split between indigenous Fijians and Fijians of Indian descent, with small minorities of many other groups and expatriots from American, Australia, etc. The Indofijian's mostly came to Fiji in the 1800s as indentured servants when Fiji was a British colony.

Was the amnesty bill democratically passed? Sort of. It definitely has majority support among indigenous Fijians. But not by too much. Most Fijians espouse 'live and let live' philosophy, despite minor racial tensions. And of course almost every Indofijian opposes it. Put to a popular vote, it would fail, despite it's misleading terminology about 'reconciliation.'

While a non-democratic coup is never an improvement on democracy, a democratic goverment can lose it's legitimacy at some point because of its un-just actions. I don't know that the amnesty reaches that point. And while supression of the media and other restrictions on civil liberties are never good things, they are sometimes a lesser evil.

Qarase and supporters of the amnesty are encouraging civil unrest of the kind that happened in the 2000 and 1987 coups where Indofijians (and other minorities) were targetted for vandalism and looting by lawless gangs and individuals who where were for the most part not supported by the disputants, but took advantage of the situation and whos actions were sometimes winked at by those leading the previous coups.

The 2000 coup was instigated by a small group of racist indigenous Fijians led by George Speight, who rebelled against the democratic government when Chaudhury, an Indofijian was elected prime minister. They kidnapped and beat Chaudhury and others. There was not a great deal of violence by the coup and its direct supporters, but they encourages the lawlessness which filled the vacuum in power during the coup.

Unfortunately, it seems that the small group led be Speight had broader support than was at first apparent, and thus the amnesty has broad support, especially among those who could potentially be indicted for having supported the previous coup.

The current coup is in the situation where the leaders of ousted govenment are allied with the leaders of former coups (who were quickly deposed, and attempting to instigate the lawlessness of the those coups, to the injury of the vast majority of peaceful Fijians.

So while I do not support the coup, I believe the ousted government was wrong to attempt to grant the amnesty, and the irresposible rabble-rousing post-coup is an irresponsible move that can only hurt all Fijians.

I hope Ratu Josepha and cooler heads will prevail and Fijians can learn to live in harmony. I believe reforms which allows Indofijians to own more land is necessary. The economic undercurrent (money is the root of all evil) has to do with renewing leases granted to Indofijians, and the GCC is not a disinterested third party.

Lorene D. PikeDec 5th, 2006 - 19:12:14

Fiji has stood on it's own for years and will continue to do so, even while
surrounded by weak and selfish choices which have been made for them, such as
displacing a Government. They are a strong, intelligent race of people
who will once again, stand the test of time. I've traveled to Fiji and
have seeb several Islands including the main Isalnd. I will forever love
them, remember them and my prayers are with them now and always.
Stand Strong and know that there are hearts who stand with you.

Concerned Young FijianDec 5th, 2006 - 21:47:50

The army have been telling the people of Fiji that they are there for us but it seems like that they are doing this for their own good. They are not even thinking about their childrens' future. Here we are still on the recovery period and we still have not reached the first quarter of that period yet the army decided to play god and make things worse.

I must admit that i am confused. We really do not know who is telling the truth at all. The people of Fiji has been conned by one of them and I wonder whats going to happen after all these; when the truth reveals itself.

At the moemnt, all the children of Fiji can do is pray and wait.

CanadaDec 6th, 2006 - 02:08:08

This guy is a wacko. I used to want to go to Fiji until now, what kind of fool thinks he can force out a government using guns and scare tactics, commit more crimes than he thinks he's preventing, and tell the peoiple that everything is normal? oh yeah.... Saddam Hussain.

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