An Appeal to the People of New Zealand

peni mooreAfter being in NZ  for the last two weeks, and seeing why people do not understand what is happening in Fiji, I am reminded of Alice Walker's words in her book We Are the Ones We Have been Waiting For.

Writing of those who work to improve the world, she says:  “They are the ones who feel no joy at another’s defeat.  No satisfaction at another’s pain.  Sit for a moment and consider what it means to be aware;  let yourself feel the many ways you have been morally and politically manipulated and tricked.  Consider your own part in this.”

This made me think of groups outside of Fiji (New Zealand and Australia) that  are calling for a "return to democracy" in Fiji by opposing the Bainimarama government, while many of us in Fiji are working with his interim government to create what we see as a true democracy.

We see democracy as different from that which was practised before. Our democracy will not allow
racist voting and will  not divide the population into antagonistic racial categories. The society towards which we are working will acknowledge the amazing contribution that generations of people from different racial  groups, including those from a Girmit Indian heritage,  have made to Fiji, economically, culturally and socially. We want a democracy where  all people are equal regardless of their chiefly title or economic power; where commoners have the same rights to make decisions, to benefit from land rentals, and be able to utilise the land for the financial benefit of their own families, and not for the benefit of the Chief.

When I read the comments made by Nik Naidu with regard to Ratu Tevita wanting to come to NZ,  I agree totally with him.    It seems genuine democrats  are fighting against each other for the same goal.  We all want Fiji to be the best, the most wonderful country in the world.  We all want our citizens to prosper and grow.

I beg people in Australia and NZ who are calling for democracy to support our efforts to move towards a truly democratic constitution and voting system. Please do not be manipulated by those who lost their political careers in 2006, or  by those who are only interested in their own personal gain. The "democracy" they speak of is not one that would be fair to all Fiji citizens or one that most New Zealanders would support.

In Fiji lately  many  people who disagreed with the Coup  are now working with  the Bainimarama government to help resolve Fiji's problems. The civil society organizations now engaging in dialogue with government and each other include the Fiji Women's Rights Movement (Virisila Budadromo), the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre (Shamima Ali has not attended, she has sent others along),  the Citizens' Constitutional Forum, Dialogue Fiji,  Pacific Dialogue,  and the National Council of Women, Soqosoqo Vakamarama, but some, like my own organization, Women's Action for Change,  were engaged to some degree before. Most, in one way or another, are helping ordinary people, in towns and rural areas, to better understand electoral processes and alternatives in preparation for next year's electoral reforms and the elections in 2014.

There is still some distance to go before dialogue really opens up, but we are talking, government is listening, and we are making progress.  Please help us in our work.

Peni Moore
Women's Action for Change.
Suva.

Comments

max said…
Thanks for taking the time to pen that letter. I do hope that NZ and Aust listen to what you have to say.
jambalaya said…
Google the term: "beta-democracy".
We are the ones we have been waiting for! said…
First class comment from Peni Moore and women's action for change. Of course we are the ones we have been waiting for. We know fully and fundamentally what is required to be done. What is more we have the confidence now to say so and to say this in a public place and that includes an international public place!
We are the ones we have been waiting for! said…
First class comment from Peni Moore and women's action for change. Of course we are the ones we have been waiting for. We know fully and fundamentally what is required to be done. What is more we have the confidence now to say so and to say this in a public place and that includes an international public place!

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