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EDITORIAL: Hate Perpetuated On Social Media Is Worrying For All

EDITORIAL: Hate Perpetuated  On Social Media Is Worrying For All
December 16
11:41 2017

The amount of hate that is being perpetuated on social media is truly disturbing.

The culprits? Some living comfortably overseas while others are cowards hiding behind fake profiles while living here in Fiji.

It is gullible Fijians who are the victims in all this. It is the youth who have no recollection of what the country went through in 1987 and in 2000 who are falling into this trap.

Two facts we should never forget.

ONE: In 1987, some people believed that the Indo-Fijian community had begun to play an increasing role in Government. The politicians who lost their hold on power and privilege fuelled this fear. They sparked the darkest days our nation has known. The Indo-Fijian community was targeted. Women were raped, men beaten brutally, homes burnt, human rights trampled on. Our country suffered for years.

TWO: In 2000, it was again the failed politicians who went around and spread fear that Mahendra Chaudhry will take away native land and would favour Indo-Fijian business houses. That led to the burning of Suva city, killings, loss of economic growth, thousands of people displaced and many living in fear. Our country and people suffered again.

The coups of 1987 and 2000 were supposedly “justified” on the basis of ethnicity and targeted Indo-Fijians, who were called “Indians” at that time. They did not break down “Indians” based on their religion. Indo Fijian Hindus, Muslims, and Christians were all were branded as “Indians”.

In those days, there was no social media. Word spread around grog bowls and we saw how the country was torn apart. How the people who have called this land their home for generations had to flee.

Today we have social media. The cowards who promote hate now have the ability to hide their identity behind fake accounts. But the message of hate they spread is the same. The target is a different community. But the message is sadly the same. The medium has changed. But the messengers are the same.

What is our responsibility in all of this? A lot of ignorant comments and outright lies are spread on social media. What should we as responsible citizens of this country be doing?

Let’s target the message. The trend now is the lie that Muslims are given an unfair advantage in Fiji.

Where are the facts to support this? There are none.

Fact is that people are appointed on their merit. Fact is there are a handful of Muslims holding Government positions. Fact is there are a majority of Christians or Hindus holding Government positions. But the one thing they all have in common is that they have all been appointed on merit.

Every Muslim who has been a target of smear campaign is in fact an outstanding member of our society, a qualified person whose qualification backs their appointment. As do the appointments of every Christian, or every Hindu, or every person from Tailevu or every person from Vanua Levu.

What the hate mongers cannot stomach now is that appointments are done on merit. It is no longer who you know, where you come from or what political party you support.

If people are rising through the ranks on their merit, should they not be applauded?

Those who promote ethnic or religious hatred need to ask themselves some questions.

If your child needs urgent surgery, will you be worried about the ethnicity or religion of the medical specialist? Or will you want the most competent person to do the surgery?

Do you care which religion your son or daughter’s teacher is? Or do you care whether the teacher has a degree, and the right degree, and can teach properly?

Do you care what is the race or religion of the person fixing our roads or do you care that the potholes be fixed?

Should you care about the religion of the person making policies for our country or should you care that the right policies are made?

Targeting the Muslim community on social media is the ‘in’ thing for the hateful and the foolish to do right now .

The failed politicians and civil servants, the businessmen who no longer get tenders because perfection is demanded of them, the lawyers whose firms no longer receive the Government legal work because it is all done in-house at far less cost, should look at themselves in the mirror.

They should ask: Are they supporting those trying to tear this country apart again?

The failure of certain political parties to come out and condemn the fear mongering and attacks on Muslims on social media is very telling of where their interests lie.

All right thinking people should think of this. They should not support such people..

Let’s never forget. Fiji and Fijians paid heavily during and after the events of 1987 and 2000.

We cannot ever go down that path again. We cannot ever let those who promote filth and hatred for their narrow self interest destabilise our country again. We can never let them undermine the building of a better Fiji and the record economic growth we now enjoy.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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