As the illegal regime extends the public emergency regulations yet again, freedom advocate Suliasi Daunitutu looks at another area the illegal attorney general is trying to destroy, the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (Great Council of Chiefs).
He himself is of the Muslim religion, a religion bound by strict rules and tradition which I dare say, did not originate from India or Pakistan but from the Middle East and is still upheld by practicing Muslims around the world including Fiji.
I can say that the religion has evolved, too, and still endeavours to capture the core value of its belief.
There is also the traditions and culture that our Indian brothers and sisters brought with them from India. This might have been watered down to suit their habitat and the occupants of their new environment, but the Fijian race has not interfered with those values that could so easily be seen as a tool that isolates Indians from us.
That, in my view, is also a deterrent for economical and social advancement, as the separation caused by these traditions and cultures add up to difficulty in communication and can lead to intolerance.
It is, in fact, the Fijian structure that Khaiyum seems so determined to destroy that is the one that takes the first brave steps towards the merging (or at least, partly) of the two ethnic groups.
It is only in recent times that we have noticed that the two cultures can be harmoniously intertwined and engage in unison from a singular platform such as marriage, politics, business and at the same time preserve their individual heritage.
The Indo Fijians have also enjoyed their cultural heritage as dictated by democratic law in their own favoured way. Weddings, deaths and marriages are also conducted by their own priests, complete in their own unique rituals.
Again, Fijians could claim that these are also reasons the two different cultures cannot merge, but the indigenous populace have chosen to ignore the differences and to accept it is “the way” they do things.
Khaiyum's arrogant analysis that we are “creatures of British rule” could make me laugh as he has forgotten his existence in Fiji is also a product of that part of Fiji’s history, the one he is trying to wipe out like the Fiji Times.
The Bose Levu Vakaturaga, might be separate institution but it is an indigenous one, and should be respected for its content and representation.
If it is allowed to make vital decisions in the running of Fiji, then there is perfect sense in that occurrence.
I don’t see migrant Indians making an impact in the House of Commons or the House of Lords in Britain, or migrant Brits making their mark in the Indian government.
Fijians have the Bose Levu Vakaturaga, and it should be accorded the prestige and honour it deserves as those who preside in them, preside in the country and its 14 Yasanas.
And I don’t think the BLV will be making decisions that are detrimental to other ethnic groups as opposed to ones that promote the Nation.
I respect the analysis and research work done for the his thesis, but my views are based on the experience of daily co- existence, which I have had the pleasure of living through and enjoying.
In conclusion, the problem the illegal attorney general might be mistaking as the one caused by the Fijian system could be, in my view, a combination of both.
The Fijian has a vertical structure with Chief at the top down to the common villager, which was determined through their warlord lineage and conquering capabilties.
That structure still allows the chief's daughter to marry the common villager and vice versa.
The Indians have a horizontal structure or a cast system whereby the higher cast girl cannot marry "downcast" or vice versa.
That mentallity has to change in my view or in his (Khaiyum's) words - "evolve or dissolve" . Would he be willing to let his daughter marry a lower cast girl from the squatter settlements ? I think not.
Khaiyum will make sure that what he does is best for "him and his" - and whoever and whatever they are, remain in his thoughts. But all will be revealed in time and in his actions because as we now know, his thesis was a preface to them.