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EDITORIAL: Remembrance Of Fallen Six Reminds Us We Now Live In A Better Fiji

Yesterday’s ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua, Suva, to remember four soldiers and two Police officers killed in the line of duty, may have been low key. Lest
03 Nov 2016 12:00
EDITORIAL: Remembrance Of Fallen Six Reminds Us We Now Live In A Better Fiji

Yesterday’s ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua, Suva, to remember four soldiers and two Police officers killed in the line of duty, may have been low key.

Lest we forget, their deaths led to a significant change in the country’s political landscape.

They motivated their commander then, Voreqe Bainimarama, who later became Prime Minister, to push for changes that would ensure there would be no repeat of the 2000 political crisis.

Mr Bainimarama had realised earlier on, that racist ideologies had unleashed an evil, that if not neutralised, could spiral out of control and plunged this country into anarchy and into an abyss that would be difficult to come back from.

The Speight coup and the subsequent mutiny at QEB underscored the danger of the politics of race influencing some to resort to violence to achieve a political agenda based on narrow and selfish sectional interests.

The six loyal officers, who were remembered yesterday, were carrying out their duties when they were killed by rebels.

We pay tribute to them for their loyalty and sacrifice for the cause of peace and stability. Their names, Police Corporal Filipo Seavula, Police Corporal Raj Kumar, Soldier Private Joela Weleilakeba, soldier Private Jone Veilewai, soldier Lance Corporal Simione Rawaileba and soldier Private Orisi Rokosirinavosa, would be etched in the nation’s annals for their deaths.

In a fine gesture, Mr Bainimarama had promised the families of the six that he would build their homes.

Today, three are nearing completion and the others are under construction at the Nakasi sub-division in Nausori.

While no form of help would fully compensate the loss of the six lives, the new homes would go some way in conveying the message that their deaths were not in vain.

It’s the thought that goes behind this help that matters the most.

Because of their deaths, the 2013 Constitution was drawn up, to eliminate racism and discrimination in this country. They were the root cause of our past political crisis.

Today, under the Constitution, we are all equal, enjoying equal rights and opportunities. It removes that spectre of racial hatred and animosity that sparked the events of 1987 and 2000.

Despite this positive shift in the political paradigm, some, unfortunately, are still trying to drag us back to the past.

To this minority group, it needs to accept the reality of the new Fiji. The future that we long for not only for us but also for our children and grandchildren is founded and built on unity and the universal principles of equality, freedom of choice and expression, rule of law and order, peace, stability and prosperity.

It rules out the politics of fear, hatred, violence, division, discrimination and race. They were all part of the explosive mix that characterised the events of 1987 and 2000.

The majority of people in this country do not want to revisit that road again. They showed it when they endorsed Mr Bainimarama’s FijiFirst policies and handed him the mandate in the 2014 general election to lead Fiji.

Two years on, the evidence is there for all to see that we are definitely making progress. The list of achievements is too long to itemise but it’s suffice to say that our current growth rate augers well for the future.

We have had some hiccups along the way. Cyclone Winston was beyond our control but we have bounced back in a major way that has surprised many of our international partners including the World Bank.

The Fiji today is totally different to the Fiji that the six we remembered yesterday saw.

Their remembrance reminds us that we now live in a better Fiji – a truth that we need to cherish.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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