It "Looks Like Racism to Me"
|Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara|
@Croz You talk about "Fijian leaders" and `some Fijian parties" pursuing racist fears over fifty years. These sweeping generalisations about the leaders of a particular race look like racism to me. I
In 1977 or 1978 Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara introduced and won support for the the amendment of the Agricultural Landlords and Tenants Ordinance to increase the term of agricultural leases from 10 to 30 years. All existing leases were extended by a further twenty years. To pass this legislation he had to win the support of the Great Council of Chiefs (as required by the Constitution.) How does your claim that Fijian leaders were consistently claiming over 50 years that "'Indians have been planning to take away Fijian land" fit with this fact?
The National Federation Party leaders repaid the courage and vision of Ratu Mara in the 1982 elections by showing the famous Four Corners program on the Mara government all over the country. The inclusion in this program of a throw-away line about Ratu Mara's ancestors being cannibals was one of the low points in our nation's history - and something Jai Ram Reddy regrets to this day.
It seems to me that you are the one whose vision is clouded by stereotypes about race. The blog picture you've labelled in fact racist targets one individual, not the group to which he belongs. The late Dr Ahmed Ali who belonged to that same group was frequently vilified for his support for the vision and leadership of Ratu Mara.
Race is such a difficult problem in Fiji because there are no easy rights and wrongs. One thing is certain: a mono-ethnic army is not the leadership base for solving these problems. A genuinely multiparty government, something that was always the vision of the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, is the only way to overcome the legacy of past race politics.
Blogger Croz Walsh said...
@ Navosavakadua ... If you have followed this blog for a while, you would know my claim that some chiefs and political parties have supported or pursued racist policies, is not racist. If you knew your Fiji history, you'd know my claim is based on fact. And if you knew me, you would realize how wrong you are.
Think Adi Caucau, an SDL Goverment Minister, who in the House called Indians "weeds" to be rooted out and returned to India. Think Sakiusa Butadroka's Fiji National Party that also called for Indians to be expelled. In the 1977 election the FNP won 26% of the Fijian vote! Think of (some) chiefly support for Rabuka, and the Great Council of Chief's endorsement of his SVT party.
Think of the chiefs behind the 2000 coup and policies of the CAMV party in the 2001 election, and, after its dissolution, of it role within the SDL after the 2006 election. Think what the CAMV thought of the 1997 Constitution and the entrenching power-sharing it imposed. Think of the calls for the Sunday Ban and a Christian state that spurned the rights of non-Christian citizens.
Think of the muddle as Fijians seek to reconcile the unity of vanua,lotu and matanitu in the modern world, and the way some chiefs, some churchmen, and some others have sought to exploit the muddle, making a modern reconciliation that much more difficult.
Finally, think of the Fiji that could have been — and still can be — if the institutional racism of the FNP, SVT, SDL, CAMV (and, yes, occasionally, the NFP and FLP — were demolished.
You are right pointing to racism among non-Fijians, and Ratu Mara's multicultural vision. I have never written anything disrespectful of Ratu Mara. I was a colleague of Ahmed Ali and I know firsthand about the shameful abuse you mention.
But none of this is relevant to my article on the supposed Muslim takeover of Fiji. There are chiefs, Christian church leaders (to their immortal shame), and there were political parties, that "preached" racism and supported the 1987 and 2000 coups. To deny this is to deny the historical record. But, thank Heaven, there are also chiefs such as Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi (for whom I have immense respect) and church leaders like the Rev. Ilaitia Tuwere who have been outstanding spokesmen for the multiracialism espoused by Ratu Mara, and with which I am in full agreement.
Don't throw away the possibilities of a multiracial future because of your opposition to the Bainimarama government. Keep it to its promises, and force its opponents to declare their multiracial intentions.