Fiji Day: Many Ethnicities, One People, One Nation

Everything about the opening of Parliament, from the President's Guard of Honour to the new parliamentary chamber and the President's address, was impressive. Who could not be stirred?   Eight years in the making and all the promise of the future;   a united nation, at peace with itself;  a nation of changed mindsets, with people thinking beyond their own narrow, parochial  interests;  a nation  joining hands,  across all political allegiances, working together to move our beloved nation forward.  These were the words of the President.

But he also warned that if politicians and the people generally did not work together, it would be to Fiji's "ultimate peril as a nation-state."

He could have been referring to  petty and major differences within parliament, laxity in the workforce or a failure to reduce economic or regional inequalities, and he probably had these things in mind, but I think he was mainly referring to the far deeper unspoken ethnic division that can still derail the nation's progress.

The first three Fiji coups exploited this division and the 2006 coup  was in part a reaction to a ethnically-biased government.

Creating truly equal citizenship in law and calling everyone Fijian are steps in the right direction but as a person commented on my blog, "There is no groundswell of support for a multiracial Fiji."

Cynically, the writer thought FijiFirst had "bought" the support of Taukei and Indo-Fijians voted "how we all expected ...  From all the people I talk to, attitudes to race haven't changed a bit on either side, and yes they are still called Indians and I'm a Fijian."

An exaggeration, perhaps, but he has a point.  Changing —or removing— labels does not change content, and change of the order needed to make Fiji a truly multi-racial and multi-cultural nation cannot be dictated or expect to occur overnight.

It has to be actively promoted by the removal of institutional racism (which Government has done) and nudged forward by Government, the Opposition and other opinion makers until there is a spontaneous groundswell of public opinion and behaviour demonstrating that the mindsets of most people have truly changed.

No opportunity should be lost to promote multi-ethnicity, and Friday's Fiji Day is obviously one ideal opportunity.

I'd  like to see  Singapore-style banners crossing the streets, reading:
"Many Ethnicities, One People, One Equal Nation"   
"Many Languages; One Nation" 
"Ni sa bula vinaka, Salaam alaykum, Namaste" 
"Many Religious Streams; One Godly River" 

And religious services, from Friday to Sunday, adopting these themes.

"Taxi Driver",  a font of ideas on many topics, writing on on my blog, thinks:
  • Schools should give their students an assignment that makes them write a small essay (and provide pictures) of how they celebrated Fiji Day with their family. The assignment should have a component whereby some marks are given if their homes flew a Fiji flag, or their family prayed for the nation, or some sort of activity that reflects the importance of this day.
  • Maybe Village 6 and 4 should offer a special offer to all families who becomes their patrons on this Fiji Day. Special offers may include reduced door prices or free ice-cream (courtesy of Tuckers whom have benefited so much from doing business with Village 6/4), etc.
  • Town Councils and Rural Local Authorities should encourage its ratepayers to buy a Fiji flag and fly these on Fiji Day.
  • Business groups can participate by offering prizes to specific homes for the various locations on the best decorated house and awesome party held on Fiji Day
  • Bars and nightclubs should also get in the 'wagon' and offer a discounted prices ... for all patrons who wear anything that has a Fiji flag in it.
These are only some ideas. A start has been made but many more are needed to transform the dream into reality.   -- Croz


Comments

Taxi Driver said…
A journey we have begun.

A new direction we have decided.

A dream we wish to realize.

Where do we start?

The wise before us said: start one step at a time.

And that’s what a few have done; hoping that it will be enough to cause a ripple to touch the thousands.

And when the thousands will be moved our destination in the horizon will surely not be far away.

Thank you for standing to be one of those few.
Riverside said…
Thank you Taxi Driver for your kind words.

"Please Oh God Almighty make this Fiji Day a really special day. A day we shall all proclaim our desire to come together as one nation wishing to realize a better tomorrow."
Taxi passenger said…
For Fiji Ever Fiji.

God bless Fiji
Ratu Naita said…
Exciting times for Fiji and all Fijians in Fiji and abroad. I won't be surprised if in the next year or so there is a huge exodus of Fijians back to our beloved shore to contribute positively towards the newer Fiji-back to "The Way the World should be".
Whilst it won't be easy due to some detractors that are hell-bent on achieving their own selfish agendas; for the positive modern thinking Fijians in the wise Taxi Driver's above contribution, " And that's what a few have done: hoping that it will be enough to cause a ripple to touch thousands".
Mate Nai Lavo Taxi Driver!
Onboard said…
There will and already is a huge pick up in investment from Fijians living overseas.

Mark my words the economy will grow over 5% in the next 12 months. Hopefully the government can ensure the benefits flow to every community in Fiji.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bill Wadely (the Kid) said…
@ Anonoymous

This is what I would refer to as the "Australian approach" i.e. throw money at a perceived problem and hope it will go away.

Is i'taukei language, art and culture under threat? Really? Thats your perception, not mine.

I think money would be better spent on providing primary health care, partcularly in addressing NCD's which accounts for 80% of all deaths in Fiji and within the taukei community in particluar.
Crosbie Walsh said…
Anonymous. We no longer accept anonymous comments. Please repost using your real name or a pseudonym.
Anonymous said…
You are such a turd--and you smell: putrid. Drop dead.
Crosbie Walsh said…
Anonymous has done me a good turn so I won't delete his comment. It shows exactly why anonymous comments are not acceptable and similar comments deleted. .
Billy the Kid (Wadely) said…
Thanks Croz for throwing out those low-life scumbags who have nothing positive to contribute towards building the 'New Fiji'.
Taxi Driver said…
Vinaka Ratu Naita
just wait, we will get to u. said…
I don't see any Fiji-Indian President, Vice President, Speaker, head of the judiciary, police, army ,navy, ...,perhaps we are still not ready for this after years and years of bainimarama and we just don't like these kinds of jobs? I don't want him to feel rushed of course. Out of curiosity, does bainimarama speak Hindi?
BLAH1 said…
fiji is no singapore. I agree , 'There is no groundswell of support for a multiracial Fiji', this has been imposed on Fijians and Indians know it. It is tolerated at best, you only have to scratch the surface. Lable it whatver they like, it just papers over it for superficial consumption.

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