#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Isn't it time to reclaim our lost dignity?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Isn't it time to reclaim our lost dignity?

By Jone Baledrokadroka

Shiga Shigetaka is generally known among scholars of Japanese intellectual history as the pioneering advocate of ‘kokusui shugi’ (maintenance of Japan's cultural identity).  The  theory called for spiritual solidarity in the late 1880s when Japan was facing increasing pressure from the West. In translating the Shigetaka philosophy to the Fijian preservation of  our cultural identity, it goes something likes this: ‘noda i tovo vaka Viti’.

In 1886, after travelling through the Pacific and Fiji, Shigetaka warned against a too indiscriminate adoption of Westernization. His travels had reinforced his thinking that the Western culture had a demeaning effect in the South Seas. Shigetaka was also an anti-imperialist, who opposed Japan's march towards the "suicidal" World War Two.

After spending time in lengthy conversations with one of Fiji’s great pioneering Wesleyan missionaries, Reverend Fredrick Langham, the Japanese intellect found, “some similarity' between the Japanese and the Fijians. The common thread was this: both were ready and "willing to modernise, give up the barbaric practises of the past and alter their traditional national identity in order to become more westernized, while nevertheless maintaining their unique dignity and strength.” (Gavin, 2001:71). 

Since the 2006 coup, Shigetaka’s tribute caricature of the Fijians quote, ‘while nevertheless maintaining their unique dignity and strength’ has been severely challenged by the military regime. More so since we have been told that resistance to instituted changes is futile.

What have we as a race done to deserve such culturally insensitive treatment from this misguided military regime? 

Given our short westernized history, we have shown great adaptation to cultural and political change, something that once rivaled even the Japanese. Weren’t we once know as  ‘the gentleman of the Pacific’  for being ‘noble savages’ from ‘fallen savages’ in such a short span of westernization?

I do not believe our politics is still so Machiavellian that we deserve to be rudely lumped together as extreme ethno-nationalists when our short westernized and extremely low ethnic violence history proves otherwise.

And why do we need a dictator who believes we need him to tell us what is good and what is not good for us? Where is our collective intellect when we have come to accept the misguided notion that authoritarian order will always suit us as a people and bring progress for Fijians?

Are we that scared and dumb that we are willing to sacrifice future generations with our docility? A docility that will keep you subservient like a commoner in our bygone chiefly system now forced to meritocratize with time.

Wasn’t it just four decades after the Christianization of our people that Wesleyan reverend Aminio Baledrokadroka and other native Fijian missionaries spread the faith to other islands of Melanesia? 

Wasn’t it only a decade and a half after cession that we had trained native medical practitioners? Didn’t we fight in the great world wars against tyranny?  Weren’t we part of a superior education system in the Pacific? 

Didn’t we have the best colonial administration system of all the Pacific islands?

We have moved beyond colonialism to a postcolonial world of hybridity, quite smoothly despite our political masters. We have magnanimously bequeathed our land in trust for development to the benefit of all citizens.

So why do we need a military regime? To regiment us as has been done and shown to be ineffective and brutal in states of Communism, a system our forefathers died fighting against? And which the world has turned against as it came to know better?

Do you really believe civic resistance is futile to your false perception of an all powerful military regime? Mahatma Gandhi, in a simple loin cloth, led 60,000 followers in a peaceful salt march that brought down an empire.

So where is the courage of your conviction for democracy and dignity as a people in this modern era? And what is stopping us from exercising our rights and protesting for dialogue and democratic elections now? 


TheMax said...

This article is only trying to lay the blame for the predicament or a sense of confusion we the indigenous Fijians have on the military takeover of 2006. But the problem we have is much bigger than that and started really in the first military coup when the third in rank of the armed forces Siti Rabuka removed his Commander and the Chief of Staff through a coup within the RFMF itself. In that sense, this article is just a distraction from the root of the problem itself.

As an indigenous Fijian, I think we lost our dignity in the first military coup of 1987. That coup sowed the seed of extreme nationalism using militaristic force to grab power while at the same time give the corrupt opportunist, especially failed politicians and their cohorts in the business community, the chance to manipulate the ordinary folks.

In essence, in the last 20 years, Fiji hasn't really solved the evils of the first coup even after changing the constitution two times and then having democratic elections in between them. We in Fiji cannot be signatories of international conventions on human rights and so forth when at home, we have a racially-based electoral system, government and institutions, etc.

The indigenous people of this country have probably been one of the most well protected indigenous races in the world. One need only to read historical books on the colonial administrators of Fiji to find out what they thought about protecting the indigenous Fijians. The only thing left is for us to make use of our resources to uplift us economically and that means making changes or adapting to changes along the way so that we don't get bogged down with cultural obligations that have gone past their used by dates. In simple terms, we need to evolve with the times.

I don't want to take all these times explaining the fundamental problems we have but Jone Baledrokadroka would do well to concentrate on his studies then writing garbage and posting it online for, again, another group of people to be manipulated with.

Anonymous said...

Pretty good analysis but useless when JB is not in Fiji. He had the chance to follow Ghandi's example while there, but he choose to flee to Oz.Now he is asking the people in Fiji to do something he was not prepared to do himself.

Joe said...

"Do you really believe civic resistance is futile to your false perception of an all powerful military regime? Mahatma Gandhi, in a simple loin cloth, led 60,000 followers in a peaceful salt march that brought down an empire."

Why dont you come back and lead the march Jone.

Anonymous said...

No way Jone - Right now all the bati balavu and bati lailai just like the whole indegenous fijian race are bati da as they are frightened out of their skins by Khaiyum.

Just as the Military Council and Voreqe are worried what will happen to them if they do not follow his orders.

Khaiyum you are the man and thank you for putting your thesis into practice without any violence.

You and Mahendra Pal Chaudhary will never be forgotten as savious of the Indian Race after all that has happened since 87.

Anonymous said...

It is no use philosophising (if there is such a word!) now. You had recognized the evil for what it was but did not do anything about it when you had the opportunity, John!

TheMax said...

Too late JB but you are welcome to come back and have a go. Fiji is blessed with a leader like Voreqe...long live the Kiuva brave.

Anonymous said...

Because Jone like that of his fellow supposed intellectuals with very wide mouths with very little substance. If he has any courage he would to go back to rally the troops to back the article he disseminates. Comment edited-C4

Da Maxi said...

@TheMax : What a load of crap you going on about. You must be reading some story books instead of history books to claim that theKai Viti's have well protected. You dummy...the so called protection was in fact isolation to a communal life style...thats why you are stll backward compared to your Indian bruthers.

Do you think another coup will solve the problems started by a coup? You must be kuku.

Anonymous said...

@ The Max - I agree with you save for the part where you say, indigenous Fijians lost their dignity in the '87 coup.


Those who lost their dignity were the corrupt and wannabe-indigenous leaders who fanned anti-Indian sentiments to remain in power and we've witnessed the fruits of their work in every coup since, the latest of course with their thieving offsprings squatting in the white house and surrounding premises, i.e. the Ma, the Ga, the Na's.

The few i-taukei who lost their dignity alongside the wannabe- indigenous are those that purposely rode that bandwagon and instead of correcting past mistakes, these cheerleaders took full advantage of the situation - mainly to enrich themselves and their families, i.e. Pajero crew.

Anonymous said...

@ Max.

Get your facts straight - not Kiuva
- Gau.

Anonymous said...

the only people who lost their dignity and became cowards are those that directly supporting the current government...most of the natives remain loyal to the principles of Christ - no confrontations but simply embrace inner peace in the heart to forgive others and accept them because they do not know what they are doing...the devil is working very hard in this last day to have souls cast together with him in the lake of fire FOREVER...God forgive them because they do not know you...