The Second Cassava Patch Kid; and Amnesty NZ on “Torture”
|Cassava (Manihot esculenta)|
Now Fiji has a second Cassava Patch Kid …
…who, with no bullets flying, broke bail and fled to Tonga, leaving his family, his colleague Pita Driti, his friends and many others in Fiji to pick up the pieces. When Tongans retreated from Samoa many years ago they called out, Malie, toa! that roughly translated means congratulations, warriors. I doubt they said this in welcoming Ratu Tevita. Ha tangata fakama angafo’i (a shameful coward) would seem more appropriate.
Fiji authorities are being blamed for questioning those who may have assisted his flight, and the international media are making much of alleged abuses, but the critics and the media have failed to mention that none of this would have happened had this Cassava Patch Runner not run. The focus should be on the bail-breaker, not on his excuses for flight, his road to Damascus conversion, or the Fiji authorities.
Allegations of torture
Part of the fall out is due to Ratu Tevita’s allegations that people have been “tortured” by the military — although, of course, he said he did not torture anyone. This allegation was picked up by Amnesty International NZ’ s Patrick Holmes in Sunday’s Barbara Dreaver TVOne news item, and was followed today by this Bruce Hill interview on ABC Pacific Beat. Hill asks Holmes how credible this is and points to possible self-interest: “He might be making it up to make himself look more credible to people overseas?
HOLMES: Well, I think there's always a risk of that and, of course, the politics within the Pacific is extremely complex (He has never been to Fiji!). However, I think people would understand he's from a very wealthy family, a very highly connected from royal (sic!) stock. I don't think he's got anything to gain now.(Bruce was not talking about financial gain). I don't think he's interested in gaining political ground. (Listen to his Tongan videos). I think he wants to be a soldier and a lot of the other senior officers in the Fiji army also want to be soldiers. They want to do what they're paid for, not police this regime. So I think what he has to say holds incredible weight and I think we should take it extremely seriously.
Patrick, that’s a lot of thinking, but the question is: What do you know, other than by hearsay, biased reports from people like Apolosi Bose, and the word of the Cassava Patch Kid? [Please note that I have ceased making annual donations to AI because of its well-intended but ill-informed stories on Fiji. ]