Intelligentsiya is about presenting well-argued opinion. In a time when ordinary citizens are afraid to speak their minds fearing that armed soldiers might turn up at their doorsteps to take them away, Intelligentsiya will be a platform for free speech.
So in the spirit of free speech, here is an anonymously-written opinion piece that's been making the rounds on the email network. Pity the author is anonymous.
The tactic of terror
By Anonymous Intelligentsiya
Each time the military sends a platoon of armed soldiers to a civilian's home in the middle of the night, its respect and credibility is eroded.
It does nothing but harm to the military and to the nation as a whole. Such obvious and ham-fisted attempts to intimidate can only backfire.
In its zeal to suppress all criticism from all and any quarters, the army forgets that words present no threat to it. On the contrary, public criticism may well offer a useful safety valve that can let off steam in times of crisis without presenting even the smallest threat to the military's control.
The explanation that the military only wants to ask these people some questions is seen through by everybody in
. If that was all the army wanted, a simple telephone call - preferably in daylight hours - would be quite sufficient. Fiji
The decision to send armed troops to civilian homes is quite clearly intended to traumatise families and intimidate individuals. What is not intended and not understood is the depth of resentment that this kind of behaviour is generating among the public. The only real damage here is coming from the military and it is doing it - no doubt unintentionally - for no fathomable reason.
The army's clean-up campaign began with a solid body of public support. That support, however, has declined with every person or group that has been ordered up to the camp in the dead of night and brutalised. Admittedly and thankfully the level of brutality seems to be declining and everyone should welcome that.
But the army will restore complete confidence and respect by stopping it altogether.
The Interim Government's attorney general has added his own weight to the argument against interrogations pointing out that the Public Order Act could achieve the desired end without resorting to detentions and assaults that demean the military in the public consciousness.
The time for suppression - if there ever was such a time - is gone. The Interim Government needs the support of the population as it seeks to make progress. Such support cannot be commanded at gunpoint. It will need to be earned. The military can and should contribute to the progress that all of
wants to see. It has the manpower, the equipment, the organisation and the discipline. Fiji
But the tactic of terror takes us a giant step in the wrong direction.