Sunvoice

An Appeal To All Sports People: Promote Unity And Non-Violence

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last night appealed to Fijian rugby players and other sports colleagues to be good role models for the thousands of fans in two critical areas: 
16 Jun 2016 11:39
An Appeal To All Sports People:  Promote Unity  And Non-Violence
Violence

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last night appealed to Fijian rugby players and other sports colleagues to be good role models for the thousands of fans in two critical areas:

 building one nation; and

 treating our women and children with consideration, love and respect.

We are a nation of diversity. It is this diversity that should enrich our lives and strengthen our unity as one nation.

But as we saw in 1987 and again in 2000, this diversity was exploited by some politicians to sow seeds of ethnic and religious division resulting in bitter political acrimony.

We have put that dark past behind us now as we look forward to a better and brighter future where everyone is equal irrespective of our backgrounds and differences.

Unfortunately there are politicians who still want to drag us back there to satisfy their narrow political interests. Sports have a powerful unifying force.

Rugby, being our number one sport in this country, has a cult-like following here. Many young people idolise our rugby players. That’s why Mr Bainimarama was appealing to them last night to use their influence and promote peace and unity.

He said we must remain united above all else as we build a better Fiji.

He added: “We must drown out the voices of division – those who seek to trigger or exploit suspicion and hatred against our fellow citizens. Because we can only achieve greatness as a nation by working together in the same way as a rugby team attains greatness.”

On the second issue about violence against women and children, our rugby players are in the best position to tell all men that it’s ethically and morally wrong. The PM is right. Real men don’t hit women or abuse children. They protect them and treat them with respect and dignity. They may be physically stronger and superior to women and children but that does not give them the open licence to prey on the vulnerable.

The PM said: “Unfortunately, far too many of our men are failing that test. The level of rape and sexual abuse of women and children in Fiji is a national disgrace. The level of domestic violence is a national disgrace and shames every man in Fiji. So I am calling on the rugby fraternity and every sporting group in Fiji to fight the abuse of our woman and children. To take a lead on the issue in our communities. Lead by example.”

Domestic violence incurs a cost.

The Government is spending a lot of money to try to address this issue. While an awareness campaign is part of it, resources are also being used to look after the victims and deal with the perpetrators.

But there is a simple and cost-saving measure: Stop the abuse. Stop the violence.

Unity and non-violence are the way to the future.

NEMANI DELAIBATIKI

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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