Analysis | Opinion

Analysis: Day Of Shame On A Sydney Street

Freedom to protest comes with re­sponsibility. The protesters were set­ting a bad example especially to young children.
15 Sep 2019 11:42
Analysis: Day Of Shame On A Sydney Street
Some of the Fijian protesters in Sydney.

No one begrudges their right to protest against Prime Minis­ter Voreqe Bainimarama in Sydney.

But the foul-mouthed Fijian protest­ers lost the plot when they hurled ver­bal abuse using iTaukei swear words which we cannot publish in this news­paper because of its vulgarity.

It was a day of shame on this Sydney street as this small noisy group, stood with placards that had these swear words written on them prominently displayed.

The protest was held while Mr Baini­marama and his delegation attended a talanoa session.

It is disturbing to hear that among them were some Christian church pastors.

When one of them was caught swear­ing, he responded “it was a slip of the tongue”. The rest of the crowd burst out laughing as if this was all a joke.

This was neither a joke nor enter­tainment. This was serious stuff.

No matter how much they hate Mr Bainimarama, it did not give them the justification to use swear words in public for the whole world to hear and see. It is uniTaukei, unFijian and unChristian. They let their emotions take control and influence them to de­scend to gutter level politics.

Their disgraceful behaviour and language is a shame on the iTaukei, their culture and deep-seated reli­gious faith and belief. Their extreme political views have clouded their bet­ter judgement.

They should hang their heads in shame. If they were trying to mim­ic what National Federation Party member of Parliament Lenora Qereqeretabua said in Parliament that was no excuse.

Ms Qereqeretabua uttered swear words that she claimed she heard Mr Bainimarama said to her colleague Pio Tikoduadua.

That incident was private and be­tween two people. It only became pub­lic when it was raised in Parliament and the social media including the re­lease of a video footage by those with a political agenda.

That incident cannot justify what happened in Sydney where some of the perpetrators themselves proudly live streamed the protest.

Whatever took place, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Freedom to protest comes with re­sponsibility. The protesters were set­ting a bad example especially to young children.

Would that pastor there teach his congregration and his family to swear? Of course not. So why was he there on a public road swearing at the PM and his associates?

It is public knowledge that most if not all the protesters were iTaukei, SODELPA supporters and Christians. Political protests are fine if they focus on issues, not on abusive and swear words.

When protesters are prepared to sac­rifice their values, standards and be­liefs for a political ideology, they are on the dangerous road to extremism fanaticism and religious bigotry.

Talanoa session

Despite the protest, which was a distance away from the venue, the ta­lanoa session went smoothly.

Mr Bainimarama was accorded the full Fijian traditional welcome cer­emony by the Fijian community of Canterbury, in Sydney.

It included the vakasobu, qaloqalovi (tabua presentation), sevusevu (yaqo­na ceremony), magiti (presentation of pork), vakamamaca (presentation of mats).

The room was filled to capacity from Fijians representing different ethnic groups and walks of life.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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