By VICTOR LAL
I have deep political differences with Mahendra Pal Chaudhry - the Old Cunning Fox. I have exposed his hidden millions in Australian and New Zealand banks. I have publicly accused him for the strained race relations in Fiji. I have accused him for creating the environment for the 2006 treasonous coup. You name an issue, I have blamed Chaudhry for it.
So, you might ask why am I saluting a man whom I hold in utter contempt? I am saluting him because he seems to have woken up to what he was respected for - standing up to injustice and dictatorship. I am not interested in the charges against him for tax evasion and money laundering that could still see him, if convicted by a pro-regime stacked judiciary, land in Naboro Prison.
What has attracted me to him is what I have always believed should happen - someone - either a dictator's former friend or a rabid foe, should stand up to the dictator and his Indo-Fijian Goebbels, Aiyaz Sayed Kaiyum, and bring the whole roadshow to its final end.
It seems Mahendra Pal Chaudhry could be that MAN. "Men at some time are masters of their fates, "Shakespeare reminds us, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings". Chaudhry might be rotten to the core, but he has re-discovered that old fighting spirit, Again, to quote Shakespeare:" There's a small choice in rotten apples".
I am acutely aware that Chaudhry was in Rakiraki, for his own selfish political end - but if the end justifies the means - the removal of the present dictatorship, we should give Chaudhry that support - as dictator's friends, the Chinese say, "Its better to light a candle than to curse darkness".
We hope the people of Fiji will, like Chaudhry, disregard the obnoxious and oppressive illegal Public Emergency Decree. He has lit the way - lets follow him and defy the dictatorship.
I am not saluting Chaudhry, I am acknowledging his realisation that one cannot remain silent against oppressive laws as Fiji burns! The time for dialogue is long gone; demonstrations by thousands is the only language the dictator will bow to - as for the military, they will be on the demonstrators side - for they have also woken up to the treachery the dictator and his cohorts have played on them and the nation.
Long live the fighting spirit!