Forum Out, EU Questions its Relevance; ACP Out: Who Did It? Thinking ... Not Sleeping: From Total Silence to Mature Debate?
WEEKEND READING. Allen Lockington's column; an Indo-Fijian's impressions on his home visit; Book Review. Michael Field's Swimming with Sharks, and in "Fiji and its Dictator" Chris Griffin, an Australian social anthropologist now living in Fiji, challenges ABC Rowan Callick's views published in last week's Weekend Australian. A veritable feast of comment and observation. Enjoy.
FIJI STILL OUT OF FORUM. The announcement causes no surprise and no further comment is necessary. Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn. -- George Bernard Shaw.
FORUM: EU SAYS FIJI MISSED. Fiji's absence from the Forum has prompted questions about its relevance and ability to help lift Pacific islanders out of poverty. The latest question comes from Christian Leffler, head of the EU Forum delegation.
"When Fiji is not participating fully in regional cooperation," he said, "as witnessed by their absence from this Pacific Islands Forum meeting, that also weakens the possibility to take the region forward. Fiji is an important regional actor in the Pacific because of its traditional role, because of its geographic location, because it is one of the larger islands in population and economy."
WHO TOLD FIJI TO LEAVE? With both the ACP General Secretary and the EU delegation in the Pacific supporting Fiji's claim that it is a full participatory and financial member of the Pacific ACP, who stopped Fiji's attended at the ACP meeting in Vila? It is thought only "one or two" countries opposed Fiji's inclusion. Who were they? This was a "mickey mouse" decision that lacked legality. Someone owes Fiji an apology and a full refund of expenses. A Cabinet Minister and a Permanent Secretary had better things to do in Fiji than spend two fruitless days in Vanuatu. I hope Fiji will take the matter up with the appropriate higher authorities.
RUPERT MURDOCH'S NEWS LTD profit for the full-year was $US2.5 billion.
Thinking ... Not Sleeping's series of postings over the last week sparked valuable discussion from readers, and, as previously indicated, I shall post the whole series on the companion blog Na Sala Cavu (see right side bar) to encourage ongoing comments from readers. The following is Thinking's response to a challenge from another reader in his last posting.
" A great thing about this site is we can agree/disagree/debate/learn. This is all absent in Fiji at present as you know. I assume you also live in Fiji and we are both using pseudonym for similar reasons. For me, my comments no matter how carefully I tried to put then would definitely land me in trouble if I put my name to them. As I have mentioned earlier this creates a serious issue going forward. We won’t be able to move from total silencing to mature debate over night.
"How will the military react for example in 2013 when perhaps a new political party starts to campaign… with a genuine platform and promise to restructure the military and apply the same checks and balances put in place by the military itself on government. For example audits, public inquiries, restructuring and reduction in numbers. At this time the military would have had seven years of only hearing exactly what they want to hear. They will be feeling 100% indestructible…how will they react to this legitimate new parties platform ?
"I disagree with Croz on many things and he, I am sure disagrees with me. I see what he is trying to do as valuable (well done Croz) and have learnt from reading his and his readers' points of view. I’ve altered my views on some things as a result and feel more open to alternate views even when I think them wrong initially. In fact that’s why I decided to write my long comments because I was not accepting the reality of Fiji right now and being way too negative. I was still critical/blunt but Croz chose to publish my thoughts all the same.
I think this freedom to debate would go a long way to healing in Fiji and produce better outcomes. Being able to see real people's names next to real debate would enrich it further. In fact people would probably start to ignore the ‘rubbish’ out there because it would be the only stuff that remains anonymous."
Note: The statue, for readers who do not know, is the "Thinker" by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) who said:
What makes my Thinker think is that he thinks not only with his brain, with his knitted brow, his distended nostrils and compressed lips, but with every muscle of his arms, back, and legs, with his clenched fist and gripping toes.On a lighter note, a good Fijian friend shared this joke about the statue: A little child stood looking at the statue with his mother who explained it was a famous statue of the Thinker. "What's he thinking about?" the child asked. "I don't know!" she replied. "Maybe he's trying to remember where he left his clothes," said the child.
Don't forget to check out the weekend reading.