Opinion: No Place For Racism, Religious Bigotry Here

  This past week I took a day trav­elling to the West via the Kings Rd, spent the night in Lautoka and travelled to Suva the next day via the
23 Apr 2018 13:35
Opinion: No Place For Racism, Religious Bigotry Here
2018 Coca-Cola Games boys division winner, Ratu Kadavulevu School, with Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on April 21, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar


This past week I took a day trav­elling to the West via the Kings Rd, spent the night in Lautoka and travelled to Suva the next day via the Queens Rd. I met and listened to many people from all walks of life.

It was easy to detect which political grouping they represent. The diversity of views was interesting.

In fact it is healthy because it contrib­utes to public discourse on a number of national issues.

What concerned me, however, was the continuing use of race and religion in the political conversation in some com­munities. It reminded me of the big billboards on the roadsides which say Embrace Truth, Reject Lies.

They seem to have come to life in a community I visited in the sense that I was asked the question: Is it true the Muslims are taking over? It is obvious­ly based on a perception because of the number of CEO positions in Govern­ment’s statutory organisations, held by persons from the Muslim faith.

The Acting Prime Minister and At­torney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was also targeted because of the role he plays in Government

The perpetrators of this myth have conveniently ignored the fact that these CEOs were selected on merit, after going through strict vetting pro­cess. It was about selecting the best suitable person, not about his or her religion. This is what happens when we look at life from racially tinted glasses. It destroys objectivity.

The other issue that was raised was the iTaukei rights and their land.

There is a perception that the iTaukei are losing their rights and there was also concern that they could lose their land. The scrapping of the Great Coun­cil of Chiefs has been used as an exam­ple that this FijiFirst Government was progressively dismantling iTaukei in­stitutions.

This is the work of desperate politi­cians appealing to the base instincts of the iTaukei to cause fear and alarm and scare people away from the Fiji­First Government.

I have explained before that the GCC was created by the British colonial rulers to control ordinary iTaukei through their chiefs, and prevent them from showing dissent. The GCC later became a political hotbed for chiefs/ politicians who used the forum to pro­mote their political agenda.

Since its abolition, the iTaukei have carried on as normal. They don’t ap­pear to have missed it so much. Only some politicians are making noises. The more they do it the more they be­come ancient and irrelevant.

These politicians are trying to drag us back to the old style divisive politics of the past.

The iTaukei have not lost their land or rights. Their land and rights are safe and intact, but some politicians continue to say they are under threat.

These politicians must realise that the majority of people have moved away from this kind of politics.

On the religious front, the perception on Muslims is wrong and is a figment of some people’s imagination.

The Muslims are one of the minority groups and it is ridiculous to suggest they will take over the running of the country.

The attack on them is again the work of desperate politicians trying to sur­vive the tough political environment by resorting to gutter level politics,

In Fiji now, there is no place for reli­gious intolerance, extremism and big­otry. We have seen enough of that in the past.

Let’s reject this gutter level politics and make Fiji a better place to live in.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj


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