A Multi-Ethnic Cadet Force: Is This Where to Start?

Photo: MOI
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Nasinu Secondary School put on a fine display for visiting  reviewing officer and chief guest Land Force Commander Mosese Tikoitoga yesterday. The Ministry of Information said, "History was rewritten as the whole school participated in a cadet pass out parade."

With a school roll of 570 and a location in an residential area where all races are represented, why couldn't we see a Fiji-Indian face in the parade?  We understand the history behind a Fiji military force that is 99% ethnic itaukei, but if history was really rewritten at Nasinu yesterday, we'd have expected a start to have been made towards making the military multi-ethnic. Very disappointing, given the People's Charter goals.

Comments

where is the problem said…
Croz
Fail to see your disappointment here? These young Fijians are the future of Fiji. They will ensure it does not get into the wrong hands. they will ensure that Fiji culture and land are protected. Isn't that what we want in the new Fiji where we are all one people?
We need to remove all racism - and a prime example at the moment is the so called Miss Indian Fiji Pageant - a pageant where women are selected on race and other races are excluded. This is shocking and someone must be held to account for such blatant racism by indo Fijians - and ASAP.
Croz Walsh said…
@ where ... Re your first para: one hopes that "protection" in the future will not need to rely on military intervention. Isn't the aim to remove the underpinings of the "coup culture?"

Re your second para: I certainly wouldn't put representation in the military and representation in a pageant in the same basket. And I don't see how having an Indian or Rotuman or itaukei pageant is at all racist. Racism is to do with attitudes and laws that discriminate against others on the basis of their race. Excluding non-itaukei from ownership of itaukei land is not racist. The land belongs to itaukei. Excluding non-Indians from an Indian pageant is not racist or discriminator, any more than excluding men from a woman's competition. No one suffers as a result.

Finally, you confuse nationality and race/ethncity. Being Fijian does not preclude Fijians from being itaukei Fijians or Indo-Fijian Fijians. Fijian is their nationality; itaukei, etc. is their race or ethnic group.
Don't call me a spade said…
Crosbie
Don't call a spade an earth moving utensil.
Of course a Miss India, or Rotuma, or iTaukei pageant is racist. How can it be anything other than racist when one of the criterion for entry is the race of the entrant and the entry of someone of another race is precluded? It's sexist too - just as exclusion of women from a men's club is sexist.
As far as excluding non iTaukei from ownership of iTaukei land goes, that's racist.
The laws of Fiji allow such racism to be ingrained for various historical reasons. I don't see that as being a problem - but let's call it for what it is. Racism per se is no more a force for good or evil than is nationalism. Both have their part to play in developing society, even though the left wing media have tried to tag people who subscribe to both concepts as morally disreputable.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Spade ... You continue to confuse race and racism. I suggest you look up their different meanings in a good English dictionary.
Confused logic said…
Croz
You seem to be getting increasingly confused? Is everything ok? Don't let the unfortunate collateral damage on gaddafi and his son and grandsons upset you too much.This is what happens to dictators who don't get the message. Silly of them to be in a 'command' building which would be an obvious target for those etermined to remove regimes. Relax and chill - just accept the fate of dictators.
Call me a shovel said…
Crosbie

I accept that there is a difference between 'race' and 'racism'.

However when the basis of selection for any event is that of 'race', then that basis is 'racist'.

If you're implying that it is 'cultural' and therefore does not discriminate on the basis of race then I believe that you're confused.

Let me put it another way. If a beauty pageant were to be held in Fiji which allowed only European girls to enter, that would be seen locally to be 'racist'. If someone were to open a club in Suva and advertise that it would allow entry only to expatriate Europeans, that would also be 'racist'. If someone wants to advertise their flat as being available for rent only to Indians then that is 'racist'.

All of the above use 'race' as a criterion for selection and therefore are 'racist'.

I'm not implying that one 'race' is better than another - I'm merely stating what is a self evident truth. Selection based on race is racist. Really - what else can it be?

I think your confusion is mirrored by that of the opponents of a very pretty young girl, Jacinta Lal, who last year competed in a New Zealand beauty pageant. She, despite having an Indian father and a European mother, wasn't considered Indian-looking 'enough' by some of her opponents because of her blue eyes and blonde hair.

The pageant organisor corectly defended her entry, saying that she complied with the entry criteria, being a NZ national and having some Indian heritage.

The sad fact that he was compelled to defend her demonstrates the diffculty that enters into these sorts of debates when race is considered.
Croz Walsh said…
Racism is unfairly discriminating against a racial group to its disadvantage. It proceeds from the belief that one race is superior or inferior to another, and that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by inborn biological characteristics. Racism excludes people who wish to be included, or vice versa.

You mentioned women and men's clubs. Yes and no. Do the women want to be members? Does their exclusion disadvantage them? Are there no equal alterntives? Does your logic also apply to separate men's and women's toilets? Or the exclusion of young people from adult movies?

However. I share your feelings on the Jacinta incident. What do you think about the exclusion of KaiSolomoni and others with Fijian mothers but not Fijians fathers? In these mixed ancestry cases what weight would you give to acceptance or rejection by the group concerned (e.g., by the mataqali, itokatoka or vanua) or (as in the Ah Koy case) to the determinations of some authority such as the NLTB and Ministry of Fijan Affairs?
Ok call me Doug said…
My attitude is that racism occurs whenever race is brought into consideration, your stance is that it is only racism when there is unfair discrimination to another racial group’s disadvantage. Therefore we’re going to have to agree to disagree on what constitutes racism.

Moving on to your questions, which seem somewhat rhetorical, if a women wishes to be a member of a men-only club and she is barred on account of her sex then the decision to bar is sexist. Even if that decision were made by, for instance, the club’s female secretary.

Does my logic also apply to separate toilets for men and women? Yes, of course. Cultural norms dictate whether or not separate toilets are provided. I’ve happily used unisex toilets in the workplace and I recall many years ago in Greece that some public toilets I visited had male and female entries into the same room. The toilets were widely used, by both sexes.

A question for you: In the privacy of their homes, is it ‘sexist’ for Muslims to insist that men and women who are not immediate family members remain apart? If not, is it sexist for this practice to be insisted upon when some (non Muslim) guests don’t believe separation is necessary? Perhaps you feel that such separation would be sexist if only men insisted upon it. Would you feel that it would be sexist if only women insisted on it?

The simple answer is – it is sexist. Regardless of religious or cultural mores, the separation is predicated by a desire to keep the sexes apart.

The exclusion from the VKB of children with iTaukei mothers and non iTaukei fathers is an example of institutional racism. The acceptance (or otherwise) of those children by the respective mataqali or vanua should be predicated upon the child’s (and its parents’) assimilation into that family or neighbourhood group – not upon the diktats of some body such as the Ministry of Fijian Affairs or the NLTB.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Doug ... I think we've covered the main issues. Many thanks. I hope readers find the exchange useful. Pity no one really got around to discussing the cadet issue.

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