Character Assassination Follow Up

The publication last week by the CoupFourPointFive blog of the names and photos of people they consider “pro-coup” (with hints of dire consequences to follow) resulted in an exchange of emails between some of those on the blog’s “hate list.”

It started with Graham Davis who said he was proud to be associated with the others on the list: “Unlike our detractors, we support a prosperous, multiracial and just Fiji, with true democracy for every citizen.”

Another wrote, “I am honoured to be included in this group of very exceptional people who have shown a deep commitment to Fiji.” 

Scroll down to the WEEKEND READING. Allen Lockington Column Political Correctness (on race)-- Crosbie Walsh  Charter Pillar 10 (Health Service Delivery) : For Discussion Why Australia  Should Discontinue Sanctions -- Rodney V Cole   Comment-Spam: Anti-Bloggers' Rhyme and Reason  

In  comments on the blog, Liu Muri said he felt “insulted and hurt for being left out of the list”  by  the SDL bloggers.  Red Dragon misread the ‘rat pack’ heading, thinking it referred to the SDL bloggers,  but went on to ask where  the bloggers  were before, when  abuses occurred under the Qarase regime.  “We shall tell you why: because like so many others in Fiji they found it useful, convenient even beneficial to lie in bed with such persons and profit from their corrupt and greedy manoeuvring.” 

And on Friday, the only ethnic Fijian on the hate list, the Rev Akuila Yabaki emailed: “I am equally proud  to be associated with such distinguished people; all of them are thinkers outside the box in search for solutions through dialogue in which there’s no “we” and “them” but a commitment to  a better future for all.“

I know where the Rev Yabaki was in the “before” Red Dragon called attention to.  Like other members of the Citizen’s Constitutional Forum, he was speaking out for a better Fiji, which the CCF has been doing since it was formed in the wake of the 1987 coup led by Sitiveni Rabuka on the pretext of protecting ethnic Fijians from the rapacious Indians, while really protecting the privileges  of a section of the the Fijian elite and associated Indian business interests.

Which leaves us to ask where the SDL bloggers are now.  Do they truly want an inclusive democracy in Fiji, or merely a return to the old days?   If the former, they also should be trying the think outside the box; if the latter, well,  they’ll just keep  blogging.

Three other comments on my blog item “Sick Character Assassination…” further demonstrate where these people are coming from and why, arguably, at least  some aspects of the PER  perhaps need to be retained:

Says one: “(I) couldn't be happier with coupfour comments...the sooner people in Fiji accept there are serious consequences for supporting an illegal regime the better.”
Says two: “We can smell the fear. Do you think those who have foolishly collaborated with and supported this human rights abusing illegal regime know what is coming? No wonder the Hon PM Qarase is saying (sic!) silent and chuckling to himself? “
Says three: “ The regime is finished. You and the others know it. A smart move for everyone who has collaborated or supported this human rights abusing murderous regime would be publically distance themselves from such thugs - don't you agree? “

In the Weekend Readings, I published some of the comments I’ve rejected over the past few months.  See “Comment-Scam…” to see why.


Proud fijian said…

I was suprised to find that your most readers were from Brasil. Even more than Australia , fiji and New Zealand.

I wonder if these were from fiji logging through Proxy servers.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Proud ... This is most probably a "nonsense statistic" caused by suddenly having been noticed by a search engine. I doubt it's people using proxy servers. I'm thinking of deleting the Visitor facility. People accessing the blog via Facebook etc are not included, and Blogspot give me more extensive and reliable information. Thanks for your support.
Cakeater said…
Introducing fruit into this debate means that you probably didn’t get what I mean, unless you were referring to our propensity to try making little fruit salads whenever the lights are out.

To use your analogy, I’ve tried making pies and (although I’ve never tried this particular recipe) suspect that whether I baked a Kai India, Kai Colo or Kai Vulagi pie, they would all taste the same.

Unlike some people I don’t talk to plants so can’t say whether or not they would prefer to be known as ‘plants’ or would prefer ‘guavas’, ‘apples’ etc.

However I will say that one sure fire way of people treating each other, and being treated, differently is to emphasise ethnicity within a single nation. I can’t see any reason why a government which wishes to emphasise nationality and de-emphasise race and ethnicity should do as you imply and occasionally make reference to the latter. I would be interested to hear when you feel such times would be useful and allow me to comment.

I believe that anyone who feels a need to consider race is locked into viewing whatever ‘race’ is through a relatively short time frame. For instance, Ratu Mara was Fijian. Being of obviously Polynesian heritage was he ‘more’ or ‘less’ Fijian than, say, Rabuka? Since her family has been in Fiji since 1871, is Sandra Tarte Fijian? (If anyone says she’s not, just try to get her entry into Europe without a Schengen visa). She’s probably less familiar with iTaukei rituals than a Melanesian in Nadroga, but I wonder if a Melanesian born and bred in Los Angeles is as familiar with those rituals as Sandra is. Would that LA-born Melanesian, if in the VKB, have more or less right to own iTaukei land than any 5th generation ‘settler’ family? Ask the Simpsons, the Whippys and others. I’m starting to get dizzy, so I’ll stop.

My point is that as soon as one starts to consider ethnicity and race as being important in some way, one begins to lose sight of the intrinsic humanity of us all. You’ve tried to reduce my argument ad absurdum by (rhetorically) suggesting parents are discriminatory if they call brothers and sisters different names and dress boys and girls differently.

I’m not suggesting our hospitals offer antenatal care to a man but, as an example, I see no need for the Ministry of Health to mention that Indians are, as a group, more likely to suffer from diabetes and Fijians, as a group, are more likely than others to suffer from, say, STD’s. Targeting such groups runs the risk of deflecting attention away from the actual dietary/ lifestyle cause of diabetes and spread of STD’s.

But, as I wrote earlier, I’d be interested to hear when you believe ethnicity/ race should be considered.
Anonymous said…
Hurray Cakeater!! i agree totally with your view. ethnicity must be totally irrelevant to all government policies. As soon as we go down that road, we start to create racial stereotypes of communities. The diplomats are good at this. They ask people like Brij Lal or the Delightful Wadhan Narsey - "what do Indians think of this issue?" Do Indians have a homogeneous view on anything? Do we need to know that more Fijians are reportedly raping their children? The fact is that statistics gathering is so flawed in its methodology that even if we do have figures that suggest that one ethnicity is up to no good, we should question things like unreported statistics and literacy rates which affect all information gathering. Croz knows this better than most of us. So if we can't rely on official figures, why try to put people in ethnic boxes?

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