Mar 14, 2007

Snapshots of our Nation in trouble

Here are a just a few troubling 'snapshots' from the past few days . I have a lot to say on this today so grab your draunimoli, bisikete and sashay forth into discourse (can someone tell ah-Leweni-ah how to-ah- spell that - ah - vinaka)

- Bainimarama says "unbalanced and provocative reporting could create unnecessary fear and anxiety"

- Illegal AG warns those "deliberately trying to upset public order"

- "Soldiers will be stationed in every govt and statutory department"
What happens when the junta keeps repeating things like this and why we have a right to question their statements ?
People start to believe what they are saying.
Well stop right there - the "unnecessary fear and anxiety" and "upsetting the public order" have ALREADY been caused by the army through human rights abuses, army propaganda, interrogations, bashings, sexual molestation of females taken to the army camp, threats, murders and subsequent cover ups.

What happened for instance, to the transparency the Commander promised he would be promoting ? Why for instance isn't Mr Kean kept in custody like the ordinary man - ok he's got bail - wonder what strings were pulled? Why the delay in prosecution ?

Why have the police been 'discouraged' from investigating the murders of Rabaka and Verebasaqa, and why on earth did they have to get 'permission' from the army ?

Just a FEW questions - but we have the RIGHT to some answers Mr Commander and Mr 'none-of-your-concern' Leweni - after all, we the tax payers pay your wages, and to add insult to injury, we are being coerced into paying your wages still - illegally - as we did NOT vote you into the corridors of power to take and use our tax money the way you see fit.

Furthermore it is not for you Mr Commander to force upon us your PERSONAL VIEW (to "clean-up") in regards to the previous government. When there are things wrong in society, there are avenues of addressing these . Rome wasn't built in a day and neither can it be torn down in a day.

Bainimarama decided to be Caesar and is behaving like Caesar. We all know what happened to Caesar don't we?

Growing fledgling countries like Fiji would have weathered and grown their teenage pangs normally but by slapping the teenager down, the teen becomes more juvenile, withers in spirit and recedes in both mental and spiritual growth. Rebellion here we come.

Coup Culture and the Principles they violate
By carrying out this latest coup, the Commander and his loyal senators are teaching the people of our nation and our children that wrong is right. 

If you don't like something, it is OK to bully and force your way into the situation, just because you personally think you should.

If society is meant to be like this just think about the sheer anarchy ! 

This is the reason we must speak out about the law being upheld - without this, there is nothing that holds a society together. We are all equal before the law and before the ultimate Judge of all judges.

The principles of right and wrong have been so trampled on, it is hard to believe that people aren't more angry - well, we know they are, they are just too scared to say in case they are taken up to camp and abused.

People have forgotten already that we voted our members of parliament in and if we did not like an idea , we could talk to our MP or take our submissions to hearings; we voted for the systems we had in place. We had recourse to units in society such as support groups in the church, in the vanua, in the koro, within our women's groups and in our clubs.

The trouble is there were too many people in Fiji just voicing their unhappiness around the grog bowl , sometimes exchanging informed opinion, sometimes twisting reason and logic to until they were personally comfortable, making conjectures, exchanging gossip, tut tutting about stuff and not getting up off their backsides to do anything about what they felt unhappy about.

It was too easy to get behind the barrel of the gun and be a coward about getting your own way. This coup culture started with Rabuka and he has a lot to answer for because of it.

Today the overseas press has Mr Graeme Leung a wise and respected lawyer, saying the following - "
whatever the justification is for many apparently respectable and intelligent people, [who] are on the record as having supported the illegal takeover there can be no justification whatsoever for the overthrow of an elected government".
"There have been all kinds of views expressed, one being that the ousted Government was corrupt and not properly elected," he said. But Leung argues that there are constitutional mechanisms for addressing these issues within the framework of the Fijian Constitution. "If you think an electoral result is invalid or irregularly obtained, you can institute a challenge, a court challenge of the 71 seats that were declared. In the last general elections in Fiji, only two electoral petitions were filed. One was thrown out on a technicality and another was eventually withdrawn after the coup. For all intents and purposes, those results should have been respected, but obviously the military rulers thought otherwise. So now we are in this state of huge confusion," he said.
While he was unwilling to speak to the press in Fiji, Leung was happy to speak to Australian media about his situation. He was eager to express his frustration about the forced compromise to the rule of law and democracy. "Recent events in Fiji since 5 December last year indicate there has been a fundamental assault not just on the constitution but the rule of law and democracy. These are worrying developments in a country that has experienced now its third coup and one attempted coup in 2000 which failed," he said.
"When you have a coup, it is an extra constitutional usurpation of legal authority and it strikes at the very heart of democracy and at the rule of law. Of course, no sensible or right-thinking person, least of all a lawyer, would countenance an illegal usurpation of constitutional authority by anyone."

Hear hear Graeme. Well done - thank you for saying what all of us are thinking.
Our Right to Voice our Opinions and the meaning of Incitement
So back to us voicing our opinions .

Based on history and it's lessons, it is very likely that this oppressive junta will interpret the meaning of incitement (by opinion, reporting the facts , by commentary, by slogan, through expressing an opinion, advertising, and indirect incitement ) broadly, to crack down on legitimate forms of expression.

They will take hold of indefinite legal concepts like 'incitement', trying to make individual writers and editors responsible for the things they report (retrospective incitement).

Reading between the intimidating and bullying comments, according to Leweni and Co, we the writers and champions of free speech could one day be charged with conspiracy to "incite". 

It's time for your lesson of the day Mr 'thats-not-for-you-to-know' Leweni.
The word 'incite" means (the act of inciting) - that which incites the mind, or moves to action; motive; incentive; impulse.
Used in the way the army is using it, they imply incitement as as a hazy ,ambiguous , catch-all type of 'offence', in that it is a multiple inchoate charge (ie. just begun). Nothing needs to have happened, it is all about a wish, an aim or an intention.
It is different from, for example if one of the Democracy Now supporters had smashed army property. Legally speaking, an evident crime, criminal damage, would have occurred. This is a real breach of the law.
Inchoate charges are patchy, lacking a clear structure, and hazy.
The real offense to Bainimarama, Leweni and Co. is that people like Richard Naidu (a very learned and wise man) Peceli, , Mesake , Netani, Laisa (the noisy ones) and bloggers such as Intelligensyia exist.
Why we will not be silent
We cannot be silent while the systems we have relied on to protect our rights are being systematically stripped from us . What are these you ask ?
1) there has been a deliberate disengagement and interference by the army, of the independence and impartiality of both the policing and judicial systems - which is turn disengages and discourages us , the general public, from placing our trust in these systems - a system that may have been slow but that worked in the general good for the promotion of law and order in a civilised and a diverse society such as ours. 

I feel sorry for the ordinary policeman and woman who knows they are merely being used as puppets and are themselves slowly being stripped of their usefulness , respect , importance and place in our nation.
2) by intimidating the general public and brow-beating people into submission, the army becomes successful at manipulating public sentiment. 

Intimidation comes in many forms - the most obvious is soldiers sitting behind workers in government departments and other organisations.

Intimidation by travel ban, intimidation by random illegal dismissals etc etc. And so we get people thinking ... hmmm yes we should just be quiet in case we get into trouble. We also get the likes of Ms Nazi Shameem bringing the very body we need in times like this to assure us of our rights into disrepute by deciding that she prefers to keeping the peace and therefore she is prepared to trade off freedom and principle !

She will SO go down in history !

Both she and all green goblins need to be reminded that In a state of intimidation, people know that the law will be hard pressed to protect their interests, and so will think of ways to come up against the system, and as domineering as they may try to be, history has shown time and time again that a military state cannot ever suppress a people's beliefs, tenets and persuasions .
3) by propoganda means , such as preaching via a certain radio station what the interim government (ie the army junta) is supposedly doing for the people of Fiji and how they must keep the 'public order' . 

The army is deliberately trying to divide people into 2 camps - those motivated by the desire to keep the peace; the other motivated by the desire to defend principle.
As you can see there are many principles and many precious rights that are being violated by the army and what they have done and it is difficult to keep focus on each as they all intertwine .
Is it possible for the brave and vocal citizens who speak out, and protest writers on the web to 'incite' "unnecessary fear and anxiety" and are we "deliberately trying to upset public order" ? 

I do not think so.
The current facts of our nation (the illegal overthrow of an elected government, increasing poverty and the lack of social care, the abuse of our taxes, attacks on freedom etc) are sufficient cause, a clear enough explanation for the origins of our climate of protest and the rise of culture of resistance.
The army may see journalists in general and / or the Blogger movement as a whole as one big 'conspiracy', and so the implication is that anyone connected with talking or exchanging views on the internet could be prosecuted for participation. A connects to B, B connects to C and so A and C are in the same conspiracy, even though they never met.
It is easy to see how the legal notion of 'conspiracy' might be applied by the junta to any group which the state takes a dislike to.
The best defence against this is for people to utilize their capacity to speak openly more and more; not for the movement to be silenced but to enhance and fortify its own multiple-path methods of communication.

Experience shows that we cannot rely on the mainstream media to report what is happening. A strong, credible and persuasive movement, complementary to mainstream with increasing political momentum for change, sometimes provides a real answer.

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