Brij on the River Why
When prompted by a phone call from Radio NZ International, Prof Brij Lal said it’s a sad development when institutions whose role and responsibility is to investigate human rights abuses, fail to do so.
“And this is a question that should rightfully [be] asked of human rights agencies, UN agencies in Fiji and the Pacific, why they are keeping silent in the face of such serious allegations, made not by outside critics only but by members from within the regime, and so they must be held accountable.”
Brij, as you well know, Ratu Tevita’s ‘torture’ claims referred specifically to events in 2006 which did not tally with the accounts at the time of the three women assaulted. No police investigations will proceed without evidence. It is no wonder Suva-based regional bodies have refused all comment on the matter now.
As an historian who normally sifts though a range of sources before evaluation and assessment, I must ask why have you chosen not to follow your research training in Ratu Tevita’s case?
The same question can be put to the media that has also accepted his statements without question, but I have come to expect less from journalists than a fellow academic. They have something to sell.
The issue, in this particular instance, is not whether Ratu Tevita is telling the truth, which he may well be, in whole or in part. The issue is that the words of a person, with such a strong self-interest in being believed, have not been questioned by you or the media.