Opinion

Newspaper Column Calls For Australian Intervention Here

A newspaper column calling for an Australian-led regional force to intervene in Fiji is shocking people who have read it. It was published by the Fiji Times group’s weekly iTaukei
18 May 2016 10:21
Newspaper Column Calls For Australian Intervention Here
fijisun.com.fj

A newspaper column calling for an Australian-led regional force to intervene in Fiji is shocking people who have read it.
It was published by the Fiji Times group’s weekly iTaukei newspaper Nai Lalakai last week.
The call is made in an astonishing opinion column by a Ratu Isireli Vesikula, described as a lawyer and a PhD student researching recognition of customary law in Fiji.
He claims such an intervention is needed to normalise and bring back democracy in Fiji.

FACT
The FijiFirst party has a legitimate and overwhelming mandate to govern given by the people in the internationally praised and endorsed 2014 elections. Fiji is peaceful and prospering.

Ratu Isireli’s Nai Lalakai column also contains the discredited racial claims of a type the Fiji of today has moved far from.
It is tantamount to incitement for the iTaukei to be suspicious of and fear “Indians” and “Muslims” in particular. All this as the country begins looking to the 2018 elections. Ratu Isireli warned the iTaukei to be wary.
He said one of the new things he had seen here was the presence of soldiers “from Communist countries”. He listed Indonesia, Russia and China.
His claims are absurd and the fact they have been published now as a column in the Fiji Times’ Nai Lalakai are astonishing.
For example, the claims on Communist troops being here do not even stand the most cursory scrutiny.

FACT
Indonesia is a democracy with a multiparty government that includes an elected legislature and president.
Indonesian military engineers are currently here temporarily to rebuild Queen Victoria School which was severely damaged by Cyclone Winston. They are here as part of Indonesia’s contribution to the Adopt a School initiative by the Government.

FACT
Russia is a multi-party democracy with an elected president and legislature.
Russia recently donated new arms and military equipment to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.
This followed a request to help better equip and protect our international peacekeepers working in increasingly volatile Middle East areas.
Russian trainers were here temporarily to train our trainers in their use.

FACT
There are no Chinese troops here.
Chinese military delegations have visited from time to time as part of our ongoing co-operation with a country with which we have long had close diplomatic relations. Just as do countries such as Australia.
Ratu Isireli claims the dismantling of iTaukei institutions and the weakening of culture and traditions.

FACT
iTaukei culture and traditions are intact. Only the Great Council of Chiefs has been abolished because it had become a hotbed for politics to keep certain elite in their privileged positions at the expense of the ordinary

QUESTION NOW
What will be the consequences of the publication of such outrageous and potentially inflammatory writing by one of the country’s major media companies?

Feedback :nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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