Opinion

My Say: What Makes Us Tick, As A Nation

The Fiji Day celebrations here and abroad had drawn Fijians from all walks of life, different ethnicities, religious beliefs and cultures. They came together because they felt something in common
16 Oct 2017 11:37
My Say: What Makes Us Tick,  As A Nation
The Republic of Fiji Military Forces at the Fiji Day celebrations at Prince Charles Park in Nadi on October 10, 2017. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

The Fiji Day celebrations here and abroad had drawn Fijians from all walks of life, different ethnicities, religious beliefs and cultures.

They came together because they felt something in common – their affinity to Fiji.

Many of them were born here and while they live overseas, they have not forgotten their land of birth. It’s that sense of belonging and patriotism that motivates them to join in the celebrations.

Some like Auckland-based lawyer and a columnist of the Fiji Sun, Farah Khan, made a special pilgrimage here to be part of the celebrations.

She said that you can take a little girl out of Fiji but you can’t take Fiji out of the little girl. She left with her family to New Zealand when she was a little girl.

It is this sense of national identity and belonging that draws us together. We forget our differences and come together in unison to remember the day, October 10, 1970, when we as a nation became independent from Britain.

When we talk about Independence, we mean freedom, basic human rights, equality and non-discrimination.

These are universal principles that are enshrined in the 2013 Constitution. No one will take away our ethnic, cultural and religious heritage. It’s our birth right and it is guaranteed in the Constitution. But we cannot impose it on others. We should recognise that others are not part of our culture or religion and we should respect them for who they are. Even for atheists – those who do not believe in God – we should respect them.

The Constitution expressly recognizes our cultural and customary rights and practices and our land ownership rights.

Misunderstanding often arises because of misinformation by certain politicians who thrive on divisive politics to advocate their narrow, sectional and even racist agendas, for cheap political gain.

The spirit of the Fiji Day celebrations clearly tells us that there is no place in our midst for politics that divide us.

Since 1970 Fiji has been moving towards  a one people and one nation goal. It has gone from a dream to a reality today, thanks to the 2013 Constitution and the Bainimarama Government for its political courage and foresight in coming up with a document that realized that dream.

Despite our differences we are able to come together at the national level in a show of unity.

The attempt to hang on to old prejudices and divisive practices is prevalent among the older generation. They seem to feel that the new way forward is not good for the cultural group they represent.

They need to realize that cultures that fail to evolve with time and readjust to keep abreast with modern changes face an uncertain future.

They could become irrelevant and die a natural death.

Cultures that evolve with time are vibrant and stay alive.

On Thursday, it’s Diwali, when we should all come together, irrespective of our religious backgrounds. The Festival of Lights,  which is symbolically the victory of  good over evil has a universal ring to it and resonates well with all religions.

The battle against corruption in our communities is basically a battle against evil. If we can teach and remind our people that corruption is bad and evil, then we can go along away towards achieving a just and peaceful society.

If we can also teach our men that violence against women and children is bad and evil, then we will have more stable and happy homes and families to create a better nation.

This is part of our challenge as a nation.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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