Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mr Bainimarama's easily forgotten legacy

Stop Pushing Us Publish date/time: 26/06/2008 [15:06]

The Interim Prime Minister stressed that countries like Australia and New Zealand (NZ) should stop pushing Fiji to have elections in March 2009. [Mr. Bainimarama fails to understand that it is NOT ONLY Australia and New Zealand BUT the people of FIJI who want elections ASAPossible NOT Practicable, as the term they seem to be flouting around at the mo.]

Commodore Frank Bainimarama said he is disappointed that following Fiji's decision to suspend its participation in the Forum Working Group, NZ Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said that it is clear that Bainimarama will not meet the commitment to have elections next year. [Be disappointed Mr. Bainimarama because unlike you Mr. Peters got his position by his OWN REAL MERIT AND HARDWORK.]

Bainimarama said the Working Group is to assist Fiji, not pressure the interim government to give in. [The Working group will assist a DEMOCRATIC government, not ride the band-wagon of an ILLEGAL, GUN-TOTTING regime.]

The Interim Prime Minister also said it is also disappointing that NZ and Australia have not accepted the new Fiji High Commissioners to the two countries. [Oh really? Jeez Mr. Bainimarama haven't you learnt a lesson yet!]

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Food for thought: One Man, One Vote

One Man, One Vote: A Dubious Principle

It's a highly dubious principle if you think about it.

Suppose you have two people, A and B. A is intelligent, well-informed, and serious. He does his level best to form correct opinions about the issues of the day. He is an independent thinker, and his thinking is based in broad experience of life. B, however, makes no attempt to become informed, or to think for himself. He votes as his union boss tells him to vote. Why should B's vote have the same weight as A's? Is it not self-evident that B's vote should not count as much as A's?

The problem, however, is that there is no obvious criterion that one could employ to segregate those who are worthy of voting from those who are not. A friend of mine once proposed that only Ph.D.s should be allowed to vote. That is a hopeless proposal for several reasons. First of all, specialized expertise is no guarantee of even minimal competence outside of one’s specialty. Second, there are Ph.D.s who are not even competent in their own disciplines. Third, there are plenty of non-Ph.D’s who are more worthy of voting than many Ph.D.s. There are Ph.D.s I wouldn’t hire to run a peanut stand let alone cast an intelligent vote.

The same holds for any other academic credential. Would you want to exclude the likes of Eric Hoffer from voting on the ground that he had no formal schooling whatsoever?

Sex and race are obvious non-starters as criteria for separating the worthy from the unworthy.

What about owning property? Should owning property, or once having owned property, be a necessary condition for voting? No, for the simple reason that people eminently qualified to vote may for various good reasons remain renters all their lives. It is obvious that, generally speaking, property owners have a better and more balanced understanding of taxation and cognate issues than non-owners do; but if we follow out this line of reasoning, then only property owning married persons with children should be allowed to vote.

There are people whose experience of life is very rich but who are too conceptually impoverished to extract any useful principles from their experience that they could bring to bear in the voting booth. And then there are people who have deliberately restricted their range of experience (by not having children, say) precisely in order to be in a position to develop fully their conceptual powers. Now to adjudicate between cases of these two sorts with an eye to determining fitness for voting would require the wisdom of Solomon. So forget about it.

We live in a culture in which adolescent immaturity often extends through the twenties and into the thirties and beyond. So one might think to exclude the unfit by allowing only people of age 30 or above the right to vote. But just as being 30 years old is no guarantee of maturity, being 18 is no guarantee of the opposite. In general, older people, being more experienced, are more judicious and thus more likely to vote intelligently. But the counterexamples to this are legion.

I’ll insert an historical aside here. The right of 18 year olds to vote is guaranteed by the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Before that, one had to be 21 years old. The 26th Amendment was ratified on July 1st, 1971 during the Vietnam war, a fact which is of course relevant to the Amendment’s proposal and ratification. Some of us remember the words of Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction (1965): "’re old enough to kill, but not for votin’...."

Once we exclude educational credentials, sex, race, property-ownership, and age as criteria, what do we have left? Nothing that I can see apart from the standard criteria of voter eligibility. ‘One man, one vote’ though certainly a flawed principle, may be the best we can do.

We would make it worse, however, if we went the way of the Aussies and made voting mandatory. As it is here in the USA, roughly only half of the eligible voters actually vote, though this is changing with the exacerbation of political polarization. This is good inasmuch as voters filter themselves similarly as lottery players (quite stupidly) tax themselves. What I mean is that, generally speaking, the people who can vote but do not are precisely the people one would not want voting in the first place. To vote takes time, energy, and a bit of commitment. Careless, stupid, and uniformed people are not likely to do it. And that is good. Of course, many refuse to vote out of disgust at their choices. My advice for them would be to hold their noses and vote for the least or the lesser of the evils. Politics is always about choosing the least or the lesser of evils.

I'll conclude by considering an objection. I said that 'One man, one vote' is a flawed principle. For it implies that the vote of a sage and the vote of a dolt count the same. It might be objected in defense of the principle that both are equal in point of both having an equal interest in the structure of the society in which they live. Granted. But not all know their own best interest. So from the mere fact that A and B have an equal stake in a well-ordered society it does not follow that each person's vote should count the same.

What's more, this sort of reasoning proves too much. For children and felons and illegal aliens also have a stake in a well-ordered society, and only the seriously benighted want to extend the vote to them. Of course, this does not stop many contemporary liberals from wanting to extend the vote to children and felons and illegal aliens. It merely shows that they have lost all common sense. (Presumably they would make an exception in the case of the unborn!) So if equality of interest entails right to vote, then we have a reductio ad absurdum of 'one man, one vote.'

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Upcoming elections IS our RIGHT

Elections is earmarked for March 2009. But in various Voreqe Bainimarama style, he keeps changing his tune at home and abroad.

But as citizens of Fiji, it is OUR RIGHT and OUR WILL that elections MUST take place. There is no IFs or BUTs about it.

This is what our UN Human Rights entails.

Tikina e 21.

  1. E dodonu ni tamata kece me vakaitavi ena matanitu ni nona vanua, se vakaitavi sara ga kina se ena vukudra na mata a digitaka ena galala.
  2. E dodonu ni tamata kece me vakayagataka vakatautauvata na veiqaravi ni matanitu.
  3. Na lewa ni matanitu me yavutaki ena nodra lewa na lewenivanua; e tau na nodra lewa ena veidigidigi me dau caka vagauna, vakadodonu tale ga. Me dolavi raraba qai vakatautauvata na veidigidigi ena nodra digidigi lo se dua na ivakarau ni digidigi vaka oya ena galala.

Article 21.

    (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

    (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

    (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

A matter of national identity and unfinished business

An interesting read of how Taiwan goes about its business of democratizing itself in the face of its "lordship" China.

An island divided
  • Tom Hyland
  • June 15, 2008

PETER HUANG doesn't look like an assassin. His grey hair is thinning and as he talks he sometimes pauses, as if lost in thought. Then he apologises and says he's 72 and these days sees a geriatric specialist. But he's lively and his eyes glisten when he laughs. He chain smokes as he sips iced tea on a humid night in Taipei, Taiwan's capital.

With his shorts, sandals and backpack, his glasses perched on the end of his nose, Huang looks like a veteran human rights activist, which is what he is.

He heads Amnesty International in Taiwan, and he's just come from an all-day meeting of human rights groups. He apologises for being late, but says such meetings are often complicated by intense debate, where everyone insists on being heard.

Things were different back in 1970, when he was a would-be assassin. In those days, Taiwan was under one-party rule and dissidents risked arrest, torture, even death. So Huang tried to create some democratic space by taking a shot at the man who was the regime's chief enforcer.

Huang's story crosses the fault lines of a new democracy with a violent history where acknowledging the past is unfinished business.

It's a divided democracy, independent in all but name. And it confronts what Huang calls "peculiarities", especially an unresolved debate on national identity - is Taiwan Chinese? It's a debate distorted by the threat of war from China, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province.

Huang's story also prompts a question: If Taiwan, a nominally Chinese state, could transform itself into a vibrant democracy, why can't China?

If Taiwan was a democracy back in 1970, Huang says he would never had dreamed of buying a pistol. He was studying in the US at the time, and planned to kill Chiang Ching-kuo, the son and nominated successor of Chiang Kai-shek, head of the Chinese Nationalist Party - the Kuomintang, or KMT.

The Nationalists had ruled Taiwan since 1949 after retreating to the island when they lost control of China to the Communists. Under martial law, Chiang jnr had controlled a pervasive system of repression that killed thousands and jailed thousands more.

So when Chiang visited the US, Huang saw an opportunity. His aim was limited: He hoped Chiang's death would ignite a power struggle within the Nationalists that "might open political possibilities", leading to democracy and freedom.

But when he pulled out his gun, a detective grabbed his arm and his one shot went into the glass door of Manhattan's Plaza Hotel. Huang was charged with attempted murder, jumped bail, fled the US and lived in exile for 25 years (even now, he won't say where). In 1996, the year of Taiwan's first democratic presidential elections, he sneaked back into Taiwan.

He concedes there may be an irony in a failed assassin heading a human rights group, but says that even the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights acknowledges a conditional right to rebel against tyranny.

Contradictions abound in the tale of man who tried to kill a tyrant, because in the end the door to democracy was opened not by an assassin's bullet, but by the tyrant himself.

In his dying days, with Taiwan isolated and facing growing internal pressure for reform, Chiang underwent a conversion. He lifted martial law in 1987 and allowed opposition groups to form the Democratic Progressive Party.

After ruling for half a century, the Nationalists were unseated for the first time in 2000, when Chen Shui-bian of the DPP was elected president. It was the first time a nominally Chinese government was voted out of office.

CONTENDING versions of history clash on Taipei's bustling intersections, where monuments to oppressors confront memorials to their victims.

For all but eight of the past 60 years, Nationalists have occupied the presidential office. They reclaimed it two months ago, when Ma Ying-jeou was elected president.

These days the Nationalists portray themselves as pragmatic democrats, emphasising economic growth and an easing of tensions with China.

Senior party figures have apologised for the decades of repression, but the party still traces its lineage back to Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo, and extols their wisdom.

Across the road from the presidential office is a marble wall inscribed in memory of the victims of the White Terror, the violent campaign by which the Nationalists entrenched their rule from 1949.

Behind the wall is the 228 Memorial Peace Park, commemorating an anti-Nationalist uprising on February 28, 1947. The uprising was ruthlessly suppressed and up to 28,000 people were massacred. There's a museum in the park, and a monument inaugurated by President Lee Teng-hui in 1995 - a Nationalist whose official apology alienated many in his own party.

It also rings hollow for Taiwanese like Faith Hung, a volunteer museum guide. "They say they are sorry, but they don't say they were the ones who were wrong," she says.

But could she imagine the Chinese Government ever allowing a monument to the victims of the Tiananmen Massacre? "If they became more democratic, maybe," Ms Hung says. "But I am not confident. In Beijing they change the history all the time, they just make it up."

They change history in Taiwan, too.

A short walk from the peace park is the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Last year, in an attempt to dilute its political potency, it was renamed the Democracy Memorial Hall. Inside is a statue of Chiang, and his uniforms, letters and limousines are displayed. Exhibits extol his wisdom, modesty and leadership. There's no mention of the atrocities commemorated nearby.

Even posing the question "could Taiwan be a model for China?" risks causing offence. It implies Taiwan is Chinese, and touches on the chasm that divides Taiwanese politics.

To Nationalists, Taiwan is Chinese and part of China, even if they want it to retain its own government. They insist on referring to the island as the Republic of China, and talk of eventual reunification with the "mainland". On this, they and their former Chinese Communist enemies agree.

But for many the question is not so simple. The 1970s reform movement that formed the base of the opposition DPP included a pro-independence strand that says Taiwan has a unique identity and a right to self-determination.

Press commentator Antonio Chiang sees lessons for China in Taiwan's democratic transition. "The Chinese are told they're unique and they don't need 'Western' democracy. This is rubbish," says Chiang, a national security adviser to the former DPP government.

"The Chinese can see it's working in Taiwan," he says. "They watch all our experiences, the process and the pitfalls, and it's a good lesson for them."

The Beijing authorities don't face the same stresses that confronted the Nationalists in the late 1970s - international isolation and a domestic clamour for reform. Instead, China's booming economy and assertive self-confidence is propelling it to superpower status, while boosting the Communist Party's domestic standing.

But the Communists can't be sure of political developments in Taiwan, even if they've been heartened by the Nationalists' return to power.

Huang says a key concern for Beijing will be whether Taiwan can consolidate democracy and resolve what he calls "our disease, our China problem".

Beijing's fear is that Taiwan will reach the "wrong" consensus on its national identity, he says. "If Taiwan deepens its democracy sufficiently, the people's choice might be independence or reunification, but it would be the people's choice. And if the peoples' choice is independence, do you think Beijing would like that?"

ON THE surface, Taiwan shows all the signs of a functioning democracy, with government changing hands peacefully in rowdy elections reported by an unruly media.

Democracy Taiwan-style is noisy and unforgiving. Fists fly in parliamentary debates. Taiwan's press freedom has been judged the strongest in Asia. Public protests are common. It's underpinned by an economic miracle that has made Taiwan one of the Asian Tigers.

"Democracy in Taiwan is resilient enough," says Chiang, the commentator. "The institutions have their inherent defects, but the democratic practice is well established now. It's become a way of life."

Others are not so sure. Pessimists point to unresolved issues of transitional justice. No one has been convicted for the crimes of the past, and there's resistance for calls for an official truth and reconciliation commission.

Corruption is widespread, crossing party lines. And critics fear the Nationalists remain wedded to their old ways - a top-down style of government where the separation of powers, judicial independence, and community participation are suspect. They also hold massive assets, worth over $US757 million ($A805 million).

Many worry that young people, like their Chinese counterparts, are obsessed with consumerism and politically disengaged. Those who've grown up since the end of martial law are sometimes dismissed as the "strawberry generation", a phrase that suggests vulnerability and inability to cope with stress.

Peter Huang says he's an optimist. "As a social-movement activist, I have to be," he says. "But there are so many things that are out of our control, and there are so many peculiarities."

The "peculiarities" include 1300 ballistic missiles that China has on its coast, just 160 kilometres away, all pointing at Taiwan.

Huang says the more Taiwan entrenches democracy and reforms its justice, education and social welfare systems, the more unlikely a violent Chinese takeover becomes.

He has a dream. It goes like this: "If Taiwan can make itself like one of the north European countries then the world would have a problem with its conscience if China tried to swallow Taiwan - and even China would have a problem with its digestion if it tried to swallow us up."

Tom Hyland travelled to Taiwan as a guest of National Taiwan University

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ratu Joni's military role view

As much as we agree with Ratu Joni on some vital issues with regards to how the people will not accept nor tolerate a charter and electoral changes that is "shoved down their throats", and

“It is in the military that the ever present threats of coups will lie,"

we don't agree however, with the view that

...the military had come to see itself as having a part to play in national affairs.

“Its complete return to barracks may have to be gradual. A generation of military officers has grown to maturity in the shadows of four coups,” he added.

“They will not be easily weaned off their appetite for more.”

This taking on of the responsibility to be the watch-dog of national affairs IS ONLY POSSIBLE because they have the guns. Nothing else. If they had the right attitude and training to preserve life instead of killing it, then we wouldn't have this problem.

Weaning is for babies. These are adults. Abolish the military! ASAP!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why we should dwell on military role

In this report below, Commodore Bainimarama who used his military guns to takeover a democratically elected government, is saying that we should not dwell on military role.

Why not?

Our coup history clearly indicates that directly or indirectly the military has been the ones at the centre or the lead in these coups. Therefore, it is IMPERATIVE that their role and existence is re-examined for the future maintenance and preservation of our country, its values, its culture, its traditions, its image, its people.

Do Not Dwell On Military Role Publish date/time: 11/06/2008 [15:56]

Interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has stressed that the findings and recommendations emanating from issues and the discussion paper prepared by the National Council for Building a Better Fiji (NCBBF) Working Group on the role of Fiji's security forces in national development is at the moment only for purposes of discussion.

Commodore Bainimarama said there is no official position taken yet, either by the RFMF or the interim government or the NCBBF on those findings.

Bainimarama said the subject of the size and role of the military always attracts the most attention and interest from critics, experts as well as ordinary members of the public. He said he is closely following the views expressed as it is important to have wide ranging discussions on this important subject, however, he clarified that the focus on the size of the military is only one of the many options highlighted in the Issues Discussion Paper.

As such, Bainimarama requested that commentators do not get preoccupied on this issue as there are many other equally important matters raised in the IDP regarding the role of the security forces in national development.

Meanwhile, chair of the working group looking at the role of fiji's security forces, Citizen's Constitutional Forum executive director
Reverend Akuila Yabaki said discussions revolve around the role of the military as a watchdog of government and the role it can play in national development.

The NCBBF working group continues consultations on the Role of the Security forces as part of consultations on the People's Charter.

Future of Fiji military

Anyone in its right mind when viewing how our country has suffered because of military intervention into our elected governments, either directly or indirectly will surely say that to solve the problem, there is only one way - abolish the military!

Now maybe that is too drastic because there are really some good, valuable, intelligent and hard working military personnel, who know where their real mission in military lives lie, and it is definitely NOT to interfere with politics.

Therefore, it would be best that the military is downsized only to a manageable number that would serve on missions overseas, and the rest of their million dollar fund be redirected to education, medicine, infrastructure, etc, etc.

At the end of the day, do you see educators or doctors and nurses or town planners overtaking a democratically elected government? The answer is NO!

The reason is simple-educators, nurses, doctors, etc DON'T have GUNS!
Fiji regime ‘has no views’ on NCBBF papers

11 JUN 2008
Interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says his government and the military have taken no official position on findings and recommendations on the future role of the army.

Bainimarama, who is also the army commander, made the comment after an Issues and Discussion Paper (IDP) prepared by a National Council for Building a Better Fiji working group looked at the role of the military in national development.

He said the issues brought in the IDP were only for discussions and comments.

In a statement, Bainimarama said that the subject of size and role of military always attracted most attention and interest from critics, experts as well as ordinary members of the public.

He said he was closely following the views expressed because it was important to have wide-ranging discussions on this important subject.

Bainimarama clarified that the focus on size of the military was only one of the many options highlighted in the IDP.

He’s emphasised that it’s premature for anybody interested in this subject to form a position or expect their views to be accepted in entirety in determining the final outcome on this important subject.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Take care of yourself

Jude 1:20 "Building up yourselves."

There are 2 kinds of people who won't understand your
need to take care of yourself: religious legalists who
never stop trying to measure up to certain moral,
ethical and religious standards; and serve-a -holics
who sacrifice self and family on the altar of endless
church activity believing that's the only way to
please God.

Clearly some of Jesus' disciples felt that way. When a
woman poured expensive oil on Jesus they were upset.
How come? Had they never read, "He makes me to lie
down...leads me beside the still waters...restores my
soul...You anoint my head with oil"(Ps 23:2,3&5)? In
Bible times oil was used to soothe, massage and
refresh, especially after a hard day or a long journey
in the hot sun.

So, God thinks its OK to take a break? Absolutely?

But serve-a-holics who need to be needed
keep thinking: "This oil might have been sold and
given to the poor." Their belief system is, "others
matter - I don't!"
Understand this: when you take care of others but not
yourself, you:
(a)become spiritually and emotionally drained;
(b)become resentful because your needs go unrecognised
and unmet;
(c)end up looking for oil in all the wrong places.
That's what drove Samson to Delilah's house. She gave
him a place to relax and let down his hair, and then
exploited it for his destruction. When we look to
others to pour the oil on us rather than learning to
pour it ourselves, we end up giving a foothold to the
enemy. Don't let that happen to you! Start taking
better care of yourself spiritually, physically and

Be encouraged & have an awesome day!

*thanks to my Guardian Angel for this

Chaudhry and sugar

Well, he is in Ethiopia talking up sugar.

Really! waste money gallivanting and talking when our poor citizens at home are suffering.

God help us!

*Click on the title to read the link

Friday, June 6, 2008

Is this the beginning of the end?

Now that the PTCCC has moved to Samoa, when will it be until the rest of the overseas initiated centres disappear from our shores.

Our reputation as being the "jewel of the Pacific islands" is slowly eroding. No thanks to military militia men and their supporters, who continue to usurp our democracy.

Instability forces crime unit to flee Fiji

06 JUN 2008
The Pacific's Transnational Crime Coordination Centre has blamed Fiji’s political instability for its decision to move offices out of the country.

Radio Australia quotes the assistant commissioner with the Australian Federal Police, Tim Morris, as saying the TCCC board of management decided it had to be moved.

"The ongoing instability surrounding Fiji has made the board that oversees the Pacific transnational crime network reconsider whether that is the optimum location," Morris said.

The transnational crime network coordinates the efforts of Pacific island nations in fighting crimes which affect all of them, including money laundering, human trafficking, drugs enforcement and customs law enforcement.

It was set up in 2002, based in Suva.

The new centre for the network was opened in Samoa's capital, Apia, today.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Burma's unspeakable crimes

Unspeakable crimes

The carnage of cyclone Nargis has aided Burma's murderous junta, writes Paul Ham.

The carnage of cyclone Nargis has aided Burma's murderous junta, writes Paul Ham.

  • Paul Ham
  • June 4, 2008

The carnage of cyclone Nargis has aided Burma's murderous junta.

THE young Burmese woman drowned during childbirth. Her body lay floating in the delivery position; her stomach protruded from the stinking floodwaters near a ruined village in southern Burma. Her child had died half-born. Her husband's body lay dead nearby.

"Nobody has come to claim her; nobody has buried her," said a Burmese journalist with whom I was travelling.

Of all the images that appalled the world after cyclone Nargis, this was surely the most disturbing - and not because the unwanted corpses of mother, father and child were any sadder than those of thousands of other victims. The most distressing thing about this image is what it said about the wretched regime that professes to govern Burma.

If the best measure of a state's civil and economic health is the infant mortality rate - the degree to which a government is capable of sustaining the lives of the most vulnerable in society - then by this measure, and in ordinary times, the Burmese junta has abysmally failed its people. If we impose the measure on a nation in the grip of a natural disaster, then the regime's callous disregard for its people's suffering is worse than failure. It was deliberate, and should be called by its proper name: a crime against humanity.

Virtually all the 300 people in the woman's village - now a twisted shambles of palm fronds and bamboo - had also died. When I approached, corpses lay rotting in the shambles, ignored by a passing team of gravediggers who were too revolted or exhausted to care. And this is just one of thousands of communities that were destroyed in the worst natural disaster in Burma's history.

The malign neglect by the regime of General Than Shwe has turned this event into a man-made catastrophe. Foreign aid workers were refused access to the area for three weeks after the cyclone struck - denying millions of tonnes of food, water and medical supplies. Until then, only a trickle got through, notwithstanding the brave efforts of many Burmese volunteers and ordinary soldiers. But they were too few and lacked the experience to meet the logistical and medical challenge set by 130,000 corpses and 2.5 million in need of help.

The most common outsiders' plea is: why? Why would a government deny aid to help its people? The British embassy received this official reply from a senior junta figure: "There are some subjects of which we cannot speak."

His silence goes to the heart of why this regime is now the most loathed on Earth. Had the generals swallowed their pride and considered the consequences of their actions, they might have acknowledged that Burma is a deeply impoverished nation and hasn't the resources to deal with Nargis. Common human decency might have prevailed, to sustain the most basic conditions of life for the cyclone's victims.

That, however, is the language of weakness in the eyes of a regime that has ruled with the machine-gun and the machete since 1990,

the year Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won a landslide victory in democratic elections. At the time, the generals annulled the result and placed Suu Kyi under house arrest, where she remains to this day.

The junta's warped paranoia and twisted machismo were put on embarrassing display in recent weeks when the generals showed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon over a Burmese version of Potemkin villages: neat little communities flush with aid and food set up to impress foreign dignitaries. The New Light of Myanmar, the official news organ, reported this as evidence of the regime's prompt response to the crisis.

The comfortless truth is that the cyclone, at least in the short term, has served the regime's political purposes. The junta has, through its failure to act, harnessed cyclone Nargis as a weapon of suppression.

The catastrophe struck at a convenient time and place - nine months after the junta brutally suppressed a peaceful monks' uprising, in the Rangoon area, the hotbed of dissent.

Few survivors have the will and resources to mount a decisive act of resistance. They are too busy rebuilding their crushed communities. My own local fixer, who loathes the junta, lost his home in the cyclone. He, like millions of others, is in no state to man the barricades.

Yet clearly this closed, paranoid society will never be the same again. The nation's rice bowl has been wiped out, for a season at least. Soaring prices have put petrol and even rice - now at a record $US25 per 45-kilogram bag - out of the hands of the poor.

There are flickering signs of potential unrest in Rangoon. On Thursday, May 22, a few thousand students were seen congregating on a university campus in a rare sign of defiance reminiscent of last September's gatherings. The following day, six truckloads of riot police were seen moving through the centre of Rangoon in an apparent effort to deter further protests.

The unrest coincided with the second stage in last month's referendum on whether Burma should adopt a new democratic constitution. In Rangoon and the Irrawaddy Delta, most people treated the poll as a black joke. On May 24, thousands were herded out of their humpies and lean-tos to tick a box that would legitimise the very regime responsible for keeping them in this hell.

Villagers were threatened with the confiscation of their crucial ID cards or bank books if they voted "no". In many villages, the local chief simply requisitioned all ID cards and ticked "yes" on behalf of the community. Many Burmese will not forget this outrage.

The generals claimed a 92% approval rating in the referendum, a shameless lie that rubbed salt into the people's suffering, the most shocking symbol of which was a mother and her half-born baby floating unclaimed in a rice paddy. It is small consolation that the child will never see the awful world that denied it and its mother a decent burial.

Paul Ham is the author of Vietnam: The Australian War and Kokoda.

The fight is on! literally

Is the fight on? It will be interesting what will transpire in the months ahead between Mr. Bainimarama's interim regime and the SDL politicians.

So, if SDL forms a new party, say FFF (Fiji For Fijians), will Mr. Bainimarama then start to say,

"I will abrogate the constitution because I don't want FFF to contest the elections."

By then, we will know for sure that this coup happened because Mr. Bainimarama has a "bone to pick" with SDL.

And that's not new for the rest of us on planet Earth.

We’ll Form A New Party: SDL Publish date/time: 03/06/2008 [11:10]

The members of the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party will form another party if the Interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama abrogates the 1997 Constitution just to stop the SDL from contesting the next election.

Speaking in a talkback show on FijiVillage Viti FM live radio, SDL National Director Peceli Kinivuwai said abrogating the Constitution will not stop members of the SDL from forming another party to contest the election.

Kinivuwai said in the past politicians have moved from one political party to another in time for an election and this can be the same for SDL if their members if the SDL members are not allowed to contest the election under their party banner.

Commodore Bainimarama earlier told Fijivillage that the military and the interim administration will ensure that the SDL does not contest the next general election as they continue to go against the People’s Charter process.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Illegal and Unconstitutional- We should be worried Fiji citizens

"The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer" these words by Henry A. Kissinger clearly explains the recent actions and words by/of Mr. Bainimarama.

In particular, the report in the Fiji Times (June 1) demonstrates how Mr. Bainimarama has taken the "illegal" and the "unconstitutional" to the extreme. Snippets of it is recorded below:

Chapter Seven and Part One of the 1997 Constitution on executive authority says the President and the Vice-President are appointed by the GCC after consultation with the PM.

Commodore Bainimarama did not elaborate, only saying there were many options to consider.

"The most unfortunate thing is that the events of December 5 were carried out by the military.

"Because usually when the military does this, it's seen as a grab for power. But we can't let the chiefs dictate how we do things because they've been very corrupt.

"That's why we're changing the GCC structure. We want people who are not corrupt to come on board with this.

"We can't let the church decide for us because the church has been politicised.

"So we've taken it upon ourselves because we think we're the only entity that can do this and that's most unfortunate.

"Because we're the military and with the military all over the world, as soon as you overturn the elected government, you're seen as being out to grab power.

"If the chiefs don't want to come in, if the people don't want to come on board with the charter, there'll be no elections."

Commodore Bainimarama said elections would be held on his terms and it was important for everyone to join in the charter process.

He said if the SDL came into power in two years time and decided to remove institutions like the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption and bring back controversial bills like the Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill, then he would step in.

"We've decided on the charter we've decided that this (charter and institution removals) is not going to happen. If you do it, I'll remove you.

"The reason is for us to come on board the charter so there'll be no coup. That is the reason."

He said the charter would be formulated by consensus and inclusive of all views. "But the people who have not given their views, if they don't say, ok I agree with the charter at some stage then there'll be no elections.

"Because what's the use of elections if SDL wins and two months down the line, they change everything else. What's the use of having elections?"

Below I have attempted to find the definitions and some related quotes about some systems and institutions we currently have in our country. If you read them, you will find that only one institution/system is set-up to counter-act the progression of peace and prosperity-the military.

Therefore, the assertion by Mr. Bainimarama that they are the only entity that can make changes in our country, is NOT to do with their genuine concern, it IS to do with the fact that they are ARMED and can and will threaten our lives and livelihoods with their GUNS. Period!

It is time they are STOPPED!

The head or leader of any body of men; a commander, as of an army; a head man, as of a tribe, clan, or family; a person in authority who directs the work of others; the principal actor or agent.

“Leaders are responsible not for running public opinion polls but for the consequences of their actions.”
Henry A. Kissinger

The act or process of educating; the result of educating, as determined by the knowledge skill, or discipline of character, acquired; also, the act or process of training by a prescribed or customary course of study or discipline; as, an education for the bar or the pulpit; he has finished his education.

“Education is not a problem. Education is an opportunity.”
Lyndon B. Johnson

The act of governing; the exercise of authority; the administration of laws; control; direction; regulation; as, civil, church, or family government.
The mode of governing; the system of polity in a state; the established form of law.
The right or power of governing; authority.
The person or persons authorized to administer the laws; the ruling power; the administration.

‘A government of, for and by the people, requires much from the people.’
Ernie Fletcher

The science which relates to the prevention, cure, or alleviation of disease.

“The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”

“Investments in our transportation and infrastructure are investments in our economy, in our communities and in our quality of life.”
Bill Lipinski

Of or pertaining to soldiers, to arms, or to war; belonging to, engaged in, or appropriate to, the affairs of war; as, a military parade; military discipline; military bravery; military conduct; military renown.
Performed or made by soldiers; The whole body of soldiers; soldiery; militia; troops; the army.

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a god or of gods having power over their destiny, to whom obedience, service, and honor are due; the feeling or expression of human love, fear, or awe of some superhuman and overruling power, whether by profession of belief, by observance of rites and ceremonies, or by the conduct of life; a system of faith and worship; a manifestation of piety; as, ethical religions; monotheistic religions; natural religion; revealed religion; the religion of the Jews; the religion of idol worshipers.
Specifically, conformity in faith and life to the precepts inculcated in the Bible, respecting the conduct of life and duty toward God and man; the Christian faith and practice.
A monastic or religious order subject to a regulated mode of life; the religious state; as, to enter religion.
Strictness of fidelity in conforming to any practice, as if it were an enjoined rule of conduct.

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion.”
Abraham Lincoln

Source: brainyquotes