Letters

Letters February 18, 2015

Lenten thought Christopher Griffin,  Rakiraki This year marks the liberation of Jewish survivors and others from the Nazi death camps, 70 years ago. A sombre lesson in the history of
18 Feb 2015 07:00
Letters February 18, 2015

Lenten thought

Christopher Griffin,  Rakiraki

This year marks the liberation of Jewish survivors and others from the Nazi death camps, 70 years ago. A sombre lesson in the history of institutionalised racial hatred wrapped in a banner of nationalism and cultural and racial superiority based on pseudo-scientific theories of biological superiority and inferiority.

In the current climate of slurs of biological inferiority -kaisi- and diversionary ethno-nationalist tactics, it was gratifying to read the PM’s statement (FS February 14), coincidentally St Valentine’s Day.

“We all have a role to play. Whether it’s within our families, at school or in the workplace, we can all make a difference by standing up for each other and taking care of each other when we hear something offensive. Or when we see something going on that’s not right. We are all on the same team -Team Fiji- and like a good team we need to work together and have each other’s backs”.

I repeat this not only because the PM was right and this needed saying, but because in a recent letter (FS January 22) I paraphrased the well-known words of a Protestant theologian which I wrongly attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, instead of to its rightful author Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984). As it happens both Bonhoeffer and Niemoller were Protestant theologians. Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis at war’s end, and Niemoller spent seven years in concentration camps. What is perhaps most significant, however, is that Niemoller initially supported Hitler in his nationalistic anti-Jewish programme. And as such he was neither the first nor last theological to pursue ethnic superiority and minority persecution in the name of God. South Africa and Rwanda had their share and so, centuries earlier did England and Spain.  Niemoller later recanted and post-war helped establish the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt in which Protestant churches confessed their guilt.

His verse goes like this:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out,

because but I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out,

because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I did not speak out,

because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me,

and there was no one left to speak for me.

The poem has been regurgitated so often that the terms Socialist, Trade Unionist, and Jew have taken on variant forms. I myself added Gypsy (Roma). Readers can add their own preference.

Though not much of a churchgoer myself, I seem to remember today is  Ash Wednesday: the start of Lent and repentance.

Lent

Wise Muavono, Lautoka

Lent is the time we’re suppose to forgo things, right? Television, alcohol, Facebook, red meat, dessert. But why? What’s the point?

Well, for some it’s personal. Fasting exercises a rarely used muscle in the human will – self denial. Giving up a self-indulgent activity can help build character and possibly bring us closer to God.

No matter your religion, I believe that Lent is a season for all of us. We can reflect, re-choose and re-shape ourselves and our future.

To mix metaphors, Lent is the road; Jesus is the destination.

Lenten thought

Christopher Griffin,  Rakiraki

This year marks the liberation of Jewish survivors and others from the Nazi death camps, 70 years ago. A sombre lesson in the history of institutionalised racial hatred wrapped in a banner of nationalism and cultural and racial superiority based on pseudo-scientific theories of biological superiority and inferiority.

In the current climate of slurs of biological inferiority -kaisi- and diversionary ethno-nationalist tactics, it was gratifying to read the PM’s statement (FS February 14), coincidentally St Valentine’s Day.

“We all have a role to play. Whether it’s within our families, at school or in the workplace, we can all make a difference by standing up for each other and taking care of each other when we hear something offensive. Or when we see something going on that’s not right. We are all on the same team -Team Fiji- and like a good team we need to work together and have each other’s backs”.

I repeat this not only because the PM was right and this needed saying, but because in a recent letter (FS January 22) I paraphrased the well-known words of a Protestant theologian which I wrongly attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, instead of to its rightful author Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984). As it happens both Bonhoeffer and Niemoller were Protestant theologians. Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis at war’s end, and Niemoller spent seven years in concentration camps. What is perhaps most significant, however, is that Niemoller initially supported Hitler in his nationalistic anti-Jewish programme. And as such he was neither the first nor last theological to pursue ethnic superiority and minority persecution in the name of God. South Africa and Rwanda had their share and so, centuries earlier did England and Spain.  Niemoller later recanted and post-war helped establish the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt in which Protestant churches confessed their guilt.

His verse goes like this:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out,

because but I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out,

because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I did not speak out,

because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me,

and there was no one left to speak for me.

The poem has been regurgitated so often that the terms Socialist, Trade Unionist, and Jew have taken on variant forms. I myself added Gypsy (Roma). Readers can add their own preference.

Though not much of a churchgoer myself, I seem to remember today is  Ash Wednesday: the start of Lent and repentance.

Lent

Wise Muavono, Lautoka

Lent is the time we’re suppose to forgo things, right? Television, alcohol, Facebook, red meat, dessert. But why? What’s the point?

Well, for some it’s personal. Fasting exercises a rarely used muscle in the human will – self denial. Giving up a self-indulgent activity can help build character and possibly bring us closer to God.

No matter your religion, I believe that Lent is a season for all of us. We can reflect, re-choose and re-shape ourselves and our future.

To mix metaphors, Lent is the road; Jesus is the destination.

Old mind set

Epeli Rabua, Suva

Mr Voreqe Bainimarama’s comment on Friday night (02/13/2015), at Ed’s Court in Raiwaqa said that the people of Fiji should get rid of ‘old mind sets’ is a first. The first of an old mind set, that is.

As he clearly pointed out in Parliament last week, because of the coup-de-tat he initiated, all Fiji’s parliamentarians got to make up a working Fiji government. And as the old saying goes –“History repeats itself” and as night follows day, we the people of Fiji should be wary of another coup-de-tat happening in the future.

A new mind, set against the old, the only question we ask is when?

Boxing

Amenatave Yaconisau, Suva

I hope the boxing decree to be released soon will confront the situation currently facing the sports, if not it will die a slow death.

It is unfortunate that we do not have the arenas, the money, and the expertise to manage the game well although we have an enthusiastic crowd.

We don’t have the Don Kings of boxing and no class fighters as before to attract the crowd.

The little who turn up end up watching wrestling affairs of tired, unfit pugilist looking for a quick buck.

There are too many old faces and tired unfit legs climbing through the ropes. A few last fought 10 to 15 years ago and are still doing business these days.

These veteran champions should retire quietly to their peaceful environment and allow new blood to trickle in with better standard of entertainment worth the publics’ money.

It all starts from the amateur level. The Ministry of Youth and Sports should organise recreation centres around the country and engage young men interested in boxing (and other sports).

These centres should be staffed by qualified licensed trainers to teach and develop the fundamentals of the sport.

Aspirants should be issued certificates from the director of the recreation centre before boxing publicly in matches. Only after meeting certain criteria(s) that this should happen.

Later they should be considered for national trials and thereafter be launched on a professional boxing career.

This scheme will certainly prevent young sportsperson of this country from being exploited by people whose chief concern is profit.

It will also revive the sport that we once dominated this side of the world.

Fresh air

Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa, Nasinu

Rajend Naidu knows that the words “air of freshness around us” (FS 14/02) simply means things are looking good with a lot of goodies and opportunities given to the Fijian people by the current FijiFirst Government.

He should also know that the air around the Kinoya sewage treatment plant has improved. The same could be said for the Suva Bus Stand after last year’s accident and its new set up.

Maybe it is best for Mr Naidu to come over and have a whiff of Fiji’s fresh air.

 

Mr Voreqe Bainimarama’s comment on Friday night (02/13/2015), at Ed’s Court in Raiwaqa said that the people of Fiji should get rid of ‘old mind sets’ is a first. The first of an old mind set, that is.

As he clearly pointed out in Parliament last week, because of the coup-de-tat he initiated, all Fiji’s parliamentarians got to make up a working Fiji government. And as the old saying goes –“History repeats itself” and as night follows day, we the people of Fiji should be wary of another coup-de-tat happening in the future.

A new mind, set against the old, the only question we ask is when?

Boxing

Amenatave Yaconisau, Suva

I hope the boxing decree to be released soon will confront the situation currently facing the sports, if not it will die a slow death.

It is unfortunate that we do not have the arenas, the money, and the expertise to manage the game well although we have an enthusiastic crowd.

We don’t have the Don Kings of boxing and no class fighters as before to attract the crowd.

The little who turn up end up watching wrestling affairs of tired, unfit pugilist looking for a quick buck.

There are too many old faces and tired unfit legs climbing through the ropes. A few last fought 10 to 15 years ago and are still doing business these days.

These veteran champions should retire quietly to their peaceful environment and allow new blood to trickle in with better standard of entertainment worth the publics’ money.

It all starts from the amateur level. The Ministry of Youth and Sports should organise recreation centres around the country and engage young men interested in boxing (and other sports).

These centres should be staffed by qualified licensed trainers to teach and develop the fundamentals of the sport.

Aspirants should be issued certificates from the director of the recreation centre before boxing publicly in matches. Only after meeting certain criteria(s) that this should happen.

Later they should be considered for national trials and thereafter be launched on a professional boxing career.

This scheme will certainly prevent young sportsperson of this country from being exploited by people whose chief concern is profit.

It will also revive the sport that we once dominated this side of the world.

Fresh air

Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa, Nasinu

Rajend Naidu knows that the words “air of freshness around us” (FS 14/02) simply means things are looking good with a lot of goodies and opportunities given to the Fijian people by the current FijiFirst Government.

He should also know that the air around the Kinoya sewage treatment plant has improved. The same could be said for the Suva Bus Stand after last year’s accident and its new set up.

Maybe it is best for Mr Naidu to come over and have a whiff of Fiji’s fresh air.

 




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