Opinion

It Is A Wonderful Time To Be A Called A Fijian

Yesterday was a day you would be proud to be called a Fijian in a sense that it was an embodiment of who we are – a nation of people
23 Aug 2016 08:26
It Is A Wonderful Time To Be A Called A Fijian
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Yesterday was a day you would be proud to be called a Fijian in a sense that it was an embodiment of who we are – a nation of people of diverse ethnicity, culture and religion, united in celebration and thanksgiving for our Rio Olympic goal medalists – our 7s heroes.

Many people who turned up to the celebrations at the ANZ Stadium in Laucala Bay, Suva, never play rugby, but they follow our 7s heroes religiously because of their exploits in the World Sevens Series and now the Rio Olympics. They are proud of Fiji and proud to be Fijians – a tiny nation of less than one million people punching above its weight in sports and international obligations.

The world must wonder what is it that makes us so good in world sevens rugby when we do not have the resources that other bigger rugby playing nations have.

Champion sevens coach Ben Ryan alluded to it when he spoke at Nadi’s Prince Charles Park. He said when the players ran on to the field for the final, the pressure was not on their shoulders.

Ryan said: “The boys were on the shoulders of every Fijian….”

It answers the question of how and why we’re able to be at the top of world sevens rugby.

The inter-faith thanksgiving at the stadium yesterday demonstrates the unity we enjoy for a national cause. That’s what defines us as a nation. We have emerged from a dark past and survived.

During those tumultuous times when there was bitter racial and political acrimony, right-thinking citizens held on to their values which have kept us in good stead. Things could have easily descended into chaos and anarchy. The glue that bound us together was the spirit of goodwill and tolerance.

It was the same spirit that made us forget  our political, religious and cultural differences and come together as a nation to celebrate yesterday.

This is the real Fiji and the kind of Fiji that we need to cultivate and nourish.

The  cultural and social integration must continue. It will make us stronger and more resilient to the forces of evil that want to divide  and destroy our unity as a peace-loving nation – like the group that had pedalled rumours of impending trouble at the celebrations.

The perpetrators  want to instill fear in the minds of people by using a major event to promote their narrow religious and political agenda. Well, it did not work, because the thousands who turned up know what’s good for them and the country. They will not be held back by people with sinister motives.

What we saw at the ANZ Stadium and Sunday at Prince Charles Park, Nadi, symbolise what we stand for and the ideals we aspire to.

The people recognise success and want to celebrate. That’s why our gold medalists are an inspiration to them. They realise that despite our small size as a nation and our challenges we can achieve excellence and greatness.

The 7s heroes have overcome obstacles to win gold.

We can build on their success by using the same principles they used to achieve success. They have  taught us that without teamwork or unity we cannot achieve our goals as a nation.

They have taught us that without discipline, hard work and sacrifice, we cannot succeed.

They have taught us that we must have faith and hope, that nothing is impossible if we put our mind and our heart to it.

This is a historic occasion. They have captured this moment in time as a symbol that we can draw courage from and move forward as a people of one Fiji.

 

NEMANI DELAIBATIKI

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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