Letters To The Editor, 24th November, 2018

The real winners Simon Hazelman, Savusavu   To all those who are still confused about the real winners of the 2018 general elections! The real winner is FijiFirst and the
24 Nov 2018 13:39
Letters To The Editor, 24th November, 2018

The real winners

Simon Hazelman, Savusavu


To all those who are still confused about the real winners of the 2018 general elections!

The real winner is FijiFirst and the losers are SODELPA, NFP, Unity Fiji, HOPE, and Fiji Labour Party.

The losers cannot be the winners no matter how you analyse the final results! We cannot compare 2018 with 2014 because there are variables involved to make any meaningful comparison!

To say that other parties are the real winners is nothing more than an illusion!

Congratulations FijiFirst, you are no doubt the real winners!.


Religious misrepresentation

Christopher Griffin, Perth


I must correct Simon Hazelman’s (Fiji Sun 22/11) misrepresentation of my letter (Fiji Sun 19/11). And here I speak only for myself.

First, I made it perfectly clear I was criticising the choice of photo online that accompanied journalist Jyoti Pratibha’s article.

I refrained from commenting on the article itself. Still, less did I call the journalist ‘callous’ or anything else.

Second, it wasn’t my brief to enter into discourse on the immoral behaviour of Catholic clergy in Fiji, let alone Catholic clergy around the world that so rightly disturbs Mr Hazelman.

Third, and further to this, I am simply unaware of any cases of Catholic clergy or lay sexual abuse of children in Fiji, recent or historical.

This is not to say there hasn’t been any, only to say that personally over the course of 40 years of familiarity with Fiji I’ve never heard of it.

In retrospect that’s surprising, perhaps. So, if Mr Hazelman knows otherwise, then he is duty-bound to call it out.

Thus far, however, his target is elsewhere.

Fourth, it is presumptuous of Mr Hazelman to say I have never spoken out against Catholic clergy or against the persons who sexually abuse children. How would he know?

In actual fact I did so in the infamous case of Catholic priests at my day-school in West London many years ago, which resulted relatively recently in some being sent to prison.

I should add I was not a ‘victim’ myself, only the recipient of floggings and other petty cruelties that in those days were taken-for-granted.

It was only investigative journalism in this century which brought the institutionalised sexual abuse to light.

My anger still with those men doesn’t extend to the Church as a whole.

Fifth, I am agnostic. I am not a practising Catholic. However, I see value individually and community value in the way so many believers of many creeds live lives of goodness inspired by their concept of God or gods, including Fijian Christians and Catholics.

For the record, I used to lecture in the anthropology and sociology of religion.

Sixth, to answer Mr Hazelman’s question about respect we must stand back and separate the good apples from the bad.

We must separate good individuals from poor institutions.

We must look at where power lies and how power (in this case within the universal Catholic Church and more specific locations like Fiji) is practised from day-to-day and with what effect.

It is naive to say religion has no part in politics, after all religious beliefs frame people’s values, world-view, and their sense of bigger Mystery.

These views are invariably complex, nuanced, dependent on cultural and historical context, are bound in with our emotions, and subject to revision and micro-variation within faiths (let alone between them) and it is for this reason faith-religions should proceed with care and infinite respect when entering the secular arena.

As best, we need to see and hear ourselves as others do.

This goes for editors, clergy of every faith and denomination, politicians, Mr Hazelman, and every one of us.

It is good though that we talk about these things. After all, lotu has long been identified as one leg of the Fijian political stool.

Today the stool has more legs and may be in need of upkeep. In working upon it we need to keep our emotions and analysis as independent as possible.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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