Thinking … Not Sleeping: Critical but Helpful Ideas on How to Take Fiji Forward

Introduction to Six Postings
The dialogue between an anonymous reader “Wishful thinking” and me started with the initial exchange shown below. It went on to become a series of comments written under the pseudonym “Thinking … Not Sleeping,” a name that in itself tells much. I think the ideas expressed comprise a most helpful string of suggestions and for this reason they deserve to be widely read. They appeared as comments to my postings on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 July.
Many of the comments will be seen as anti-government but this is not necessarily so. Thinking's suggestions are positive and forward looking. It is the diehard anti-government people who never put forward positive ideas. Thinking's political comments link to ways to rebuild the economy and complete the Roadmap, and to this extent his ideas are pro-government. Better to have a sheep in a wolf's clothing than a wolf in a sheep's!
Some readers do not follow the comments at the bottom of postings, which I think is a great pity. They add immeasurably to the value of any blog site. Others, I'm told, cannot find them. Look for the small “Comment” at the bottom left of each posting, click on “Comment” and you're in).
Like me, you may not agree with all that Thinking writes, but doubts and concerns should not be hidden. On balance, he makes the sorts of useful criticisms and comments a wise government, and a wise Prime Minister, should listen to even if – no, especially if – they do not like them. Banimarama's best friends may in fact be critics like Thinking, and not those he sees with smiles on their faces who agree with everything he says and wants to hear.
Thinking's comments will be published daily as follows:
Saturday 31 Parts 1–6. Running a Government with Bad Advice Sunday 1 Parts 7–8. Double Standards Monday 2 Parts 9–10. Travel Bans and Elections Tuesday 3 Parts 11 – 13.The Good and Bad News on Business Wednesday 4 Part 14. What Should Fiji Do? Thursday 5th. Part 15. What Should Australia and New Zealand Do?  
Soon afterwards, I will publish questions based on the series in our companion blog Na Sala Cava (click on orange man and path icon in the right sidebar) so that they may remain as permanent features allowing discussion to continue at that location.
The initial exchange
Wishful thinking to Croz. He wrote that no country that values democracy and the rule of law will give legitimacy to a military junta. To think otherwise is wishful thinking. All countries will help Fiji if they see that Bainimarama genuinely wants Fiji to move forward. He also expressed the view that the longer he remains as a dictator the bigger the hole is he digs for himself, and for Fiji. Reality check Croz - before it is too late!
I replied that my blog had never called for the legitimisation of the government. The focus has always has been on dealing with the reality of the Fiji situation; media imbalance; recognizing the good (and long overdue) things being done; and questioning the poor decisions in a helpful manner. I've also criticized the well meant policies of Australia and NZ because I think their policies are unrealistic and have helped create the present siege situation and siege mentality which, ironically, could produce the opposition of what they wish: an entrenched military after 2014. They should help the coup to succeed, because in this way they would make it doubly difficult for Bainimarama (or God help us, someone else) not to hold elections in 2014.
Continued tomorrow ...
BREAKING NEWS.  The Suva High Court has thrown out all charges against Fijian lawyer and human rights activist Imrana Jalal. The decision speaks highly for the independence of the judiciary.

Comments

Regime Rhetoric said…
Croz
Everybody, including the US, EU, UK, Australia, NZ want Fiji to move forward out of the chaos it has found itself in since Dec 2006. However the military regime needs to play its part. Last week bainimarama said elections might be delayed beyond 2014? Today he said there might be another coup if elections are held? These are not good messages for the credibility of the junta. Lewini was pretty hopeless when in charge of ministry of information but since he has left it has really deteriorated? The current media/PR of the regime is terrible. It needs to be urgently reviewed and corrected with some leadership who know what they are doing?
And now they are all travelling to china again while the sugar industry is floundering. Please can we have less rhetoric and more action!!
Snoopy said…
Great idea Croz - i was also most impressed with Thinking's postings. It adds greatly to an already open an informative blogsite.
Cicero said…
Long, long ago when the March of Folly was raised as a serious study of how countries and their leaders "Went Wrong" since Troy, it was suggested that Barbara Tuchman made a most important and insightful comment in the final chapter. The remark centred on her belief that once political leaders come into power and the daily grind of governing, they cease to grow either intellectually or personally. So demanding is the responsibility of governance, particularly if it is an attempt at Good Governance, that eventually all these leaders succumb to the isolation of only hearing whatthose surrounding them wish them to hear. They also are unable any longer to "bounce ideas" off better minds and never have sufficient time to effectively reflect on what they have had to do. History bears this out and surely even former Australian PM Kevin Rudd - so recently 'couped' by his Deputy might agree even in his short tenure? But what if in addition to having to lead and to innovate and reform, this hypothetical Leader also faces a determined and well-entrenched insurgent opposing force? Funded by organised crime and doggedly determined to hold sway like any Cartel we see daily in the news? What space then is left for governing? viz President Karzai in Kabul; viz the beleagured and almost pitiful leadership in Pakistan; viz the stale-mated contending political leaders in Iraq. All three countries are supposed to be recently proclaimed democracies. In reality, they are under siege on all fronts from insurgencies which may even now have triumphed by stealth and perfidy. What is the price of Liberty? What is the price of Justice? If dictators can be said to fail it is because they become moribund and under siege even by those they deemed once to be their friends. Sooner or later, everyone around becomes a potential foe. What is the test of a True Friend? And is this true of dictators alone? No, it is true of political leadership "per se": in any country, anywhere in the world.
Help a coup?? said…
Help a miliary coup to succeed?
Croz
Your distorted logic of this one has really lost me?
Entrenched military said…
If there is an entrenched military after 2014, so be it. The way things are going it is very unlikely there will be a free and democratic government anyway?
Leave it as it is then, and we can all look back at a classic case study of a military destroying their own nation. We have seen it all before in other dictatorships and this case study may really open up all our eyes across the Pacific to how things can go so horribly wrong?
Anonymous said…
Thinking.....not sleeping

Perhaps you could edit my spelling and grammar first please Croz ! Should have used that preview button.
Road to Ruin said…
Going horribly wrong.....

Conflicts of interest - wilfully unrecognised as such and undeclared in any corporation or institution of State which allow numbers of greedy and power-hungry people to amass for themselves what should belong to the many (The Public) will bring any nation down. The people who pay taxes for the administration of a country must have accountability and development and proper services for their taxation. This will only come about through leadership of repute and quality. That leadership must be sustained and it must be, like Caesar's Wife was expected to be, above suspicion. Trust and confidence in the leadership is essential (or the people will be confounded, betrayed and sold off to the nearest bidder?). What if the 'nearest bidder' is a Drugs Cartel wearing another guise? What if we have failed to recognise this in our own country? Indeed, we have permitted money to be laundered from these drugs, we have permitted organised criminals to run free assisted by rotten politicians, lawyers and other professionals - all of whom are profiting - still, Where are the honest, tough people prepared to take on the Carrion Crows? Are there enough? Are we prepared for this struggle? Or are we in fact part of it all, the harbourers of escaped prisoners who violently invade and terrorise innocent families in their own homes. These persons are complicit in terror. That is the challenge. If we fail to understand what we confront, how can we win through? Early elections will be a distraction from what must be done first. Elections will allow more space for the corrupt to "launder themselves" again in politics: just as was done before. That is the paradox which ingrained corruption presents.
Alter ego said…
That news about the Jalal charges being thrown out is indeed a point in favour of an independent judiciary. Unfortunately it also serves to highlight the extreme vindictiveness and legal incompetence reposed in FICAC (and to a lesser degree in the Public Prosecutors).

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