Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fiji Violence: When Indo Fijians are victims of Fijian thugs


Fiji Violence: When Indo Fijians are victims of Fijian thugs

Thakur Ranjit Singh

There is frenzy amongst Australia, New Zealand and Fiji NGOs concerning a video showing violence by Fijians on Fijians. Reportedly, some protests are planned for Auckland, Wellington and maybe Sydney, agitated by people who cannot see the complete picture in Fiji and its transition into democratic stability by arresting problems that have plagued Fiji’s discredited young democracy.

There is much hue and cry when convicted criminals, who allegedly escaped from lawful custody, causing mayhem in society through their thuggery, robbery, violence and fear-mongering. They say, if you live by sword, be prepared to die by it as well. While we do not condone violence, many appreciate the dilemma security personnel in Fiji face. In light of Fiji’s turbulent trial with democracy and human rights, balancing human rights against fragile security situation does create dilemma for security personnel.

The people rallying for action against Fiji were quite when my people got beaten, raped, and pillaged by the same sort of thugs that now fear strict security situation brought in by a military government when democratic system failed to provide security.

George Speight - misled people and caused a spate of racial violence targeting 
Indo Fijians. People need to be educated about democracy and constitution to avoid other false prophets like Speight.

In 2000, when George Speight and his army of racist Fijian thugs assaulted democracy, many Indo-Fijians were then the victims. These self-appointed NGOs jumping up and down now remained quite then. I witnessed that violence when I was the Publisher of the now-discontinued Daily Post newspaper. I visited violence-struck community in Muaniweni near Suva and reported on the incident.

I reproduce one such article to tell the protestors that they are guilty of double standards. When innocent Indo-Fijians were victims, Australia, NZ and their NGOs kept quite. When those violent thugs experimenting with violence get back their own medicine, there appears to be much noise from those who are paid to cry and protest to claim Australia and new Zealand Government funding.

Below is that article of May, 2000. I hope this flashback will enlighten the blinkered protesters and others opposing tough measures by security personnel, trying to pass a message to dogs of thuggery and violence.

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A COMMUNITY IN FEAR AT MUANIWENI

The attacks have stopped - - but the fear lingers on

You drive up the once dusty (but now tar sealed) Sawani Road from Suva, Fiji for some 30 minutes and you will come to a junction road to the right hand side, reading “Savu Road.” The rich farming area there is known as Muaniweni, which is home to some 110 Indo-Fijian households comprising some 700 people in total. They are farmers on Crown land (what Crown? you may ask) and provide a unique landscape to this area with lush dalo plantations and other cash crops. They also raise cattle and grow rice, ginger and other types of vegetable.

Speight -behind bars now, serving his term for treason

You drive further into this dusty, narrow, winding and repair-starved Savu Road for some 10 minutes; you will come to a twin school complex at the riverbank. This is called Muaniweni Indian School and Vunicibicibi Secondary School, which were established some three decades ago by the Indian community for the benefit of all the residents.

In the aftermath of Speight coup on 19 May, 2000, that place had gone through devastation and racial hatred erupted by some misplaced, greedy and power-hungry people. It could be described as a war zone. We were greeted by fear and grief-gripped Indo-Fijian farmers, depicting a picture of despair and helplessness. We were shocked and saddened by the stories of inhumane and criminal acts committed on this peace loving, hardworking and religious Indo-Fijian farming community.

Muaniweni Indo Fijian victims of racially-inspired violence in may 2000, crying to see their house looted and burnt by rebels and criminal Fijian thugs.

After cries of help, Muaniweni and Nasi residents in Baulevu, Naitasiri were happy for the setting up of Muaniweni Police Post next to the local school.
The Police post came late for about 100 residents who had abandoned their homes to take refuge at Sanatan Primary School in Lautoka, and later at Fiji Girmit Centre in a refugee camp. It is a pitiful sight to see their battened houses with lush green farms and neat well –kept compounds abandoned by residents.

Other Indians in the area who did not want to move had transferred all womenfolk to their relative’s places away from Muaniweni for their security. However with life getting more secure because of the new police post and armed soldiers, most are coming back to the place they call home – and the only home they know.

 They have been subjected to thuggery and fear by the nearby village youths who appear to be under nobody’s control. One helpless farmer commented that it appeared that the whole village condones this pillaging and assault on hard – working helpless Indian community.

Rebel soldiers causing mayhem and violence, seeking supremacy and Fiji for Fijians. It is such culture of violence and separation that Bainimarama wants removed from the new Fiji

Our team was pleasantly surprised by the philosophical comments of one Indigenous Fijian Police officer at the police post “I am a Christian and my heart cries out for these Indian farmers and what the so called Christians did to them. We need to break the cultural barriers between the races. Fijians should be taught Hindi while Indians should be taught Fijian language and culture. Our education system is to blame for this mess. Our schools are too exam oriented and we teach very little human values. We should concentrate more on extra curricular activities.”

Another thuggery–scarred Indo-Fijian farmer commented that teaching of the Constitution should be included in the school curriculum. “Everybody should know about their rights, especially the new generation of Indigenous Fijians so that no George Speight in future can mislead them about their Constitutional protection.”

Another neighbouring Indian farmer had his radio, two workhorses, one calf and five chickens stolen. “We spent the night in the open fields for fear of attack. Our stolen horses are used to cart stolen items from other farms. The most disappointing scene is that the elder thugs use young school- age children of ten to twelve years as apprentice in this looting. They send these youngsters to steal, if we say anything then they come out to threaten us. We are just wondering, what will happen when these kids grow up? Where are all the moral and religious teachings? Church and their talatalas (preachers) should take some blame for these lawless people. The greater blame should go to the parents who cannot and do not manage the moral teachings of their young ones. If my son brings anybody’s stolen items home, I will whip him. Most Indian children know this.”

Muaniweni Community post- law and order now restored.  Bainimarama Government wishes to prevent a repeat of such violence through policies removing racial segregation and promoting racial integration where all have a common name of "Fijians" .

One farmer whose brother left his nearby home for the refugee center said he could not make himself to leave the place he calls home. “One thug came with a gun that was new and still packed in its box with its wrappers intact. He shot my cows, gutted them and took them to Parliament. Anybody could walk in your farm and take whatever they wanted.”

The residents however agreed that Fijians by nature are very nice people and they appear to have been misled. Once the political problems are sorted out at the top level, then they are confident that things could return to normal, and they could go back to farming. If things do not improve and they are not allowed to live with dignity then they would like to join the others in the refugee camp and plead other countries to grant them refugee status.

In all this, the philosophical pleadings of the police office should be considered. The community leaders should get together to build a bridge of cultural understanding, and perhaps both the communities need to work more closely to appreciate each other well. This will ensure that in future political differences, they do not become mere pawns in the hands of the politicians who have their own personal agenda.
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Footnote:

Therefore the strong-arm tactics that we see in Fiji now to address the culture of violence among Fijians against others and those trying to destabilize peaceful multi-racial setting and provide security to all is to address such political instability created by those with vested interests. Many measures introduced by Bainimarama Government are to address exactly the situation that in the past promoted racial segregation and animosity. These were the issues spoken by Muaniweni residents some 13 years ago and now being addressed with policies which try to make Fiji a home for all Fijians, with common name and destiny. It is hoped Australia, New Zealand and NGOs financed by them can appreciate what Fiji has been through and what it needs- a home-grown solution without foreign influence and meddling.

THAKUR RANJIT SINGH
Blogsite: FIJI PUNDIT: www.fijipundit.blogspot.co.nz

Additional Reading:

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