Mention 'Fiji" to an average Australian or New Zealander or world traveller if you please, and you can pretty much guarantee the response: "Lovely place", "wonderful friendly people", "had a great holiday there", "know all about Fiji, Denarau, resorts, BlueLagoon..."But how my heart aches that so many are blissfully unaware and uninformed of the sorry state of my Island nation.
It used to be a paradise... Then 2006 Coup and the rot set in.
Under the cunningly devised cosmetic mask and veneer of slick tourism marketing and advertising and stark propaganda, there is the other real dimension.
Please God that many of our friends and fellow travellers on the road will have their eyes opened, understand our dire situation, and raise protests wherever they can, on our behalf.
My lovely Island Nation is degraded , enslaved, disenfranchised and engulfed in seemingly hopeless future tyranny. We are collapsing under the oppressive intimidating rule of a corrupt military & judicial dictatorship.
Restrictions of censorship and illegal decrees, and the lies of propaganda are the everyday tools to keep power in the hands of the unelected few.
Our people are really suffering the effects of lack of investor confidence - employment scarcity - low wages - falling value of currency - poor health services - escalating costs of education, transport, fuel and food. All these contributing to the hardships now inexorably spreading like contagion over the populace.
Of course it is obvious that the exceptions are those who have cast their lots in with the bullies on board the regime pirate ship , with captains Bainimarama & Khaiyum , the chief terrorists, holding the country to ransom.
Sounds far - fetched? Like a nightmare? Alas it is only too true!
Recently, in Wellington NZ, I was able to spend a little time on a tour of the Parliament & Government Buildings... I was fascinated and enjoying every minute.
Like a bolt of extreme pain , I was struck with a clear and sudden appreciation of the value of the democratic process , and an enormous wave of sorrow at Fiji's loss.