January 26, 2007

Freedom is the right to raise my voice

Intelligentsiya was first conceived in 2006 as an opinioted magazine website that would post provocative topics and encourage level-headed debate. It has been discussed among a small band of like-minded people - the "intelligentsia" if you will - but has only now got off the ground, albeit with a somewhat different debut.

After the Fiji military's December 5, 2006 coup, we felt that a site like Intelligentsiya was all the more important to document and discuss the army's ever-growing human rights abuses - most notably the silencing of dissenting opinion by detention and intimidation. These abuses are carried out by the armed forces in the name of "national security".

The army trots out the usual line whenever they are questioned about the latest arrest and interogation of somebody who expresses any sort of opinion that doesn't sit well with them: "They were arrested because they had made inciteful comments."

But "inciting" would be calling people to arms, to riot through the capital, to loot the central business district in defiance of the military rulers. But none of the scores of people who've been the victims of the military's heavy-handness have actually made such calls.

Intelligentsiya will bear witness to these abuses.

A blog was the simplest and fastest way to begin publishing but eventually we hope to become a fully-fledged website where Fiji's citizens and anyone with something sensible to say about Fiji's situation will have the total freedom to air these views.

Several years ago, some editors were asked by the Freedom Forum, an American press freedom body, to write something about what freedom means to them. On the last page of the booklet that emerged from those essays an editor had summed up what it meant to him: Freedom is the right to raise my voice.

Let freedom live.


Anonymous said...

Free speech is also about not hiding who you are.

Bob said...

I'm an aussie in Melbourne? what can we do to help?


Chief Intelligentsiya said...

Thanks Anonymous for your comment about freedom being about "not hiding who you are." I don't know if you realise the irony in your comment, since you yourself chose to comment anonymously.

Anonymous said...

to chief intelligentsia:

Your comment is cheap point scoring, and does nothing to enhance the image you (collectively hope to portray as responsible site administrator/s!

As you so rightly pointed out, perhaps now is not the time for anonymous to identify him/herself either!

Laisa Digitaki said...

I congratulate and thank the "Intelligentsiya" team for putting all these together. As the subject of your first posting, I was again very concerned for the lives of my partner and children at home. But after praying about it, I was referred to Psalms 118:5-8,"I called on the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is for me among those who help me; therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."
Thank you Intelligentsiya for telling my story as I had written it so that the truth be known. It has turned out to be the best form of therapy for me and I am not ashamed nor bitter about what had happened.
I do not hold any grudge against anyone and have forgiven them with the hope that they will forgive me too. Luke 6:37"Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." In the end, it will all be worth it for all these pain, sorrow and hardship is intended for good. We just need to believe, be patient and watch as important events start to unfold around us revealing the works of the evil one. But we must not be afraid and be of courage for our God intended it for good. To the Intelligentsiya team, thank you for allowing yourselves to be used a very important vehicle to liberate our people. Your blog is an instrument of hope and courage. God Bless and you will always be in my prayers.
Best Regards,
Laisa Digitaki

Anonymous said...

We will get to you. It will only tske a matter of Time.

Anonymous said...

Bible thumping are we Laisa? How about a tenure with Methodist Church of Fiji. Perhaps a post at Mavana.

Tomasi said...

Funny how people who are in control are still afraid of their shadows....no matter how long it takes....fear will always overcome the oppressor..look at Sadam...in a few years we might find Bainimarama hiding in hole!! And people like "anonymous" well its only a matter of time till we find you....and no hole will be big enough to hide you!!

Sa Dina said...

wateva man i just know that SDL was abusing my money in the form of taxes and its a refreshing change lets give the rfmf a chance i say.

Anonymous said...

To Sa dina! And the FMF has been abusing my money too. I did not pay taxes so that they can use their guns to remove governments or KILL little people like Rabaka. Stop this lawlessnes in the name of Jesus!


Anonymous said...

Sa dina - it is sad that you can make an allegation against the SDL and not feel you have to show prove - that is democracy in case you do not know. I was living overseas and on my return was very impressed with the way things have turned out especially economically after the 2000 situation. I am in no way saying that all is good but the positive stood out.
Beacuse of the positive environment then, I decided to stay back and work in Fiji hoping to again contribute directly to the development of the only one place, I can really call home. Little did I know that the army thought they know better and now we are heading into a hole that I belive is a little bit too small for all of us - unlike Saddam's hole. Enough for him.