Fiji Elections: We need home-grown solution as Western media still jaundiced to Fiji
Thakur Ranjit Singh
As Fiji approaches the historical 2014 election on 17 September, 2014, one thing is evidently clear: there has been no indigenous, i-Taukei Fijian leader in Fiji’s history, who could ever win the hearts of the migrant Indo-Fijian community in Fiji, as much as Bainimarama has done. Despite all the venom of western media and his opponents, Vorege Bainimarama has been the most visionary leader that a multi-racial and multi-ethnic Fiji has seen. Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, Ratu Sir Kamiseses Mara, Sitiveni Rabuka, Mahendra Chaudhry and Laisenia Qarase have been left behind in the scrapheap of history, as Bainimarama looks for a home grown solution in a multi-racial fledgling democracy, plagued with ethno-nationalism and divisive politics.
He may not be perfect-but he is the best Fiji has seen so far. And in the process, expect some collateral damage, as any history-in-making produces.
|FRANK BAINIMARAMA-the most popular ever Indigenous Fijian leader to the migrant Indo-Fijian community. The most visionary I-Taukei leader ever that Fiji has seen for a multi-racial country which is struggling with its democracy.|
Every man and his dog, with their Western concept of failed democracy in Fiji had painted Frank Bainimarama as a villain and a selfish, self-centred man. The latest one is Nick Naidu, who represents an almost defunct organisation, the Coalition for Democracy in Fiji in Auckland.
Naidu’s claims on TV 3 interview on 15 September 2014 substantiates the reason why Frank Bainimarama is sceptical and suspicious of a free press in general and Western concept of press freedom in developing Fiji, in particular.
Naidu claims that Bainimarama is a person who only thinks of himself and nobody else. If Naidu and TV 3 had bothered to read that morning’s NZ Herald’’s article by its ethnic reporter, Lincoln Tan, they may think twice about airing such blinkered and jaundiced interview.
According to Tan, Nadi (Fiji) taxi driver Vinod Kumar said he "cannot wait" to have his say on who will form the next Fijian government.
The 55-year-old grandfather, whose son Shanil lives and works in Auckland, is "90 per cent sure" he will be voting for Frank Bainimarama and his Fiji First Party when the polls open on Wednesday.
"The West just don't understand, they think just because we had a military coup that makes Frank a bad person," Mr Kumar said.
"But life for us ordinary folks has improved so much under him. The roads no longer have potholes, crime is down and more children are going to school because schooling is now free."
He said small things, such as free school buses for students, go a long way because most in Fiji were "generally quite poor".
Mr Kumar said many Fijians were excited at the prospect of voting and election rallies were attracting crowds of thousands.
That shows the diametrically inconsistent White mainstream media in New Zealand which is still somewhat jaundiced and unsure on Fiji issues. My journalism studies at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in 2009 and 2010 revealed in my research papers that some of NZ media, who hardly employ ethnic reporters, were very opposed to happenings in Fiji just because Fiji had kicked away an unsuitable concept of Western Democracy, has kicked out some NZ reporters and did not at all miss the step-brotherly treatment given by NZ and Australia. Fiji marched along oblivion of Ostrich syndrome and snub by these neighbours. Fiji got other friends and ignored these two countries which now appear to be mending the bridges they burnt.
TV 3 failed to ask and Naidu failed to volunteer the information that democracy has become a dirty word in Fiji, especially among the Indo-Fijians who were starkly mistreated by previous ethno-nationalist and blatantly racist governments, masquerading as a democracy. NZ and Australia, as supposedly civilised First World neighbours failed to keep a tab on the wrongdoings of Qarase regime which virtually had rendered Indo-Fijians to a third-class status. It was only the blessings of 2006 takeover of Qarase regime that gave back Fiji some hope.
If today I could call myself a Fijian and enjoy dual citizenship of NZ and Fiji, and still have that dignity as a Fiji citizen, it is because of the same Frank Bainimarama that the Western World takes all opportunity to project as some villain, because he rejected western imported failed system against a home-grown solution. What Fiji needed was an understanding of the world and a local solution to its fundamental problems. Fiji cannot be blamed for befriending China, Russia, Cuba and Korea when its neighbours, founded on bible and Christianity never showed much love for their neighbour.
So many good things have taken place in Fiji, and consequently the credibility, authenticity and mandate of Coalition for Democracy comes into question for not knowing their Fiji. The leaders of other parties’ visited Auckland, nobody heard or saw. When Bainimarama visited Auckland on 9 August, 2014 at Vodafone Event Centre the place was overcrowded with people and Frank Bainimarama was mobbed like a Bollywood star. The blinkered Mainstream media in Auckland were blind to some 2,000 supporters but only saw a handful of protesters.
So many people know what perhaps Nick Naidu and TV 3 need to know about this popular Fijian leader. Frank Bainimarama rescued Fiji from chasm of racism and divisive politics, camouflaged as democracy. Fiji needs a home-grown solution, no more of imported failed western concepts. The elections in 2014 is a step in that direction. And when history is in making, as was USA’s 200 years ago, we are bound to have some collateral damage.
[About the Author: Thakur Ranjit Singh is a post graduate scholar in honours in Communication Studies from Auckland University of Technology. From a system which could give him a relevant job, he has started his blog sites, FIJI PUNDIT (www.fijipundit.blogspot.co.nz) and KIWI PUNDIT (www.kiwipundit.blogspot.co.nz) and publishes what the other media does not tell]