Making the Worst of Reality
WEEKEND READING • Allen Lockington on Rugby and Seed Farms • The New Navosavakadua and the Supposed Threat to i'Taukei Identity.Opinion by Croz Walsh
More than a year ago, Suliasi Daunitutu, the president of the Australia-based Fiji Democracy Freedom Movement he helped to found, was calling for the re-instatement of the 1997 Constitution, the re-instatement of judicial officers appointed under that system, and the re-instatement of the Great Council of Chiefs. And he still does so, almost every day, on Facebook's Fiji Economic Forum and a covey of anti-Bainimarama government blogsites.
In 2009 on the Matavuvale blog, he called upon "the people of Fiji... to be vehement about our total disagreement with the military regime. So give us liberty or death! The reality of the issue is that democracy in Fiji has been raped...from top to bottom...left to right....inside and out and vice versa!
In 2010, in the Solivakasama blog, he called on "Divine intervention, for a complete and through victory."
In 2011 he claimed his movement was gaining momentum with the flight into exile of Ratu Tevita Mara. But their membership and impact seems to have stalled. Overseas governments are not listening to them. And in Fiji there have been no protest marches, calls from the pulpit, or defections from the military, public service, the judiciary or government.
2012. There have been hickups in the leadup to dialogue, and government, in my opinion, has acted unwisely in the TV Decree and in granting only a limited licence to FijiTV, but most people are hoping the Constitution Commission will start the ball rolling towards a fairer Fiji and fair elections in 2014.
In a recent Facebook exchange I asked Suliasi whether he or the FDFM would be making any submission to the Constitution Commision. No, he said, because it's illegal and he does not trust the process. Fair enough. That's his choice. But the regime is a reality. The ball may not be over the line but it's no use saying the ref made the wrong call.
And if Suliasi and others like him want to have any impact on outcomes, they could insist their concerns are addressed by the Constitution Commission. If the concerns are genuine, they will be listened to. They will be shared with many other people in Fiji.
But if the concerns are disguises, like the ones he expresses on all possible blog sites (namely, a return to extreme ethnic Fijian nationalism, an intolerant Chistianity and the manipulation of democracy that led to the 2006 Coup) I can see why he and the FDFM are not making any submission.
They have no place in a democratic Fiji.