Every person's upbringing, training and life experience leads them to behave in different ways from other people. Military people value discipline and obedience. Academics favour independent thought. The Lals were not opposing democracy. They are in a far more principled position than the likes of Michael Field who also is permanently banned from entering Fiji.
They were expressing a view shared by many about the legality of the Bainimarama takeover in 2006. It was not a position with which I agreed but as an academic my training and experience demands that I respect their opinion. Government's decision shows a regrettable shortcoming in its post election leadership and a total ignorance of the intellectual qualities required of those filling academic positions in a democratic society. It also deprives universities in Fiji of the assistance the Lal's could offer to their staff and students in Fiji and in Australia. Six months on when the issue has cooled, I would hope and expect academics in Fiji to work for a reversal of this regrettable decision. -- Croz