May 22, 2007

Another day in this blogging paradise

It’s been another day in paradise. Or has it?

Today Fiji’s bloggers have been given a reprieve. The army says it’s not bothered with trying to find us anymore. They shouldn’t have tried to in the first place, but that’s the military mindset at work: we order, you minions follow; if you’re not with us, you’re against us.

But despite the pretence of not minding our incessant blogging, the military really is itching to get its hands on us.

Fiji Times spoke to Colonel Pita Driti and reported,

“However, he did say that if bloggers were eventually found they would be taken to the camp to be questioned.”

So we’re not letting our guard down, because we know at least a bit about how the army mind works.

Already they’ve mistakenly taken in people accusing them of being bloggers. Yes we know business Ulaiasi Taoi was not the only one. There was at least one other person the military hauled up to QEB for “questioning” after being wrongly linked to the Freedom Blogs, and it was not SDL parliamentarian Ted Young.

It’s almost daily that the military junta make outrageous statements that seem to be its hallmark.

Self-proclaimed prime minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama made two today in one brief interview.

Asked by Fiji TV reporter Sainimili Finiasi outside his office this afternoon about interim finance minister Mahendra Chaudhry’s comments in India that Fiji would hold elections in 2010, Bainimarama almost snorted.

He said it “doesn’t make sense” for the military to have overthrown the government in December only to have elections several months later because “this would make us the laughing stock of the whole world”. (Ahem, we already are!) Now for those of you who were not convinced earlier that Bainimarama is an autocrat in the making, then this is proof from the horse’s mouth.

Bainimarama then used the familiar line that Fiji should be left to sort out its own problems (but thanks very much for the EU cash) before going to elections. This implies the junta will then think about elections when it feels like it.

He was also asked about human rights violations reported by people who were arbitrarily detained at various military installations and assaulted.

“Aha,” Bainimarama said, wagging his finger and smiling, “that’s where the problem is. They claim it (human rights abuses) and you report it as true.”

I thought I’d heard wrong, but it was there in colour on our TV screen.

So Ted Young’s black-eye must have been the result of walking into the cell door at QEB. And Ulaiasi Taoi’s account must have been a bad dream he had while naked in the cell.

Interim attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said today (again on Fiji TV) the interim government isn’t breaking the promises it made regarding arbitrary arrests. “It’s only when necessary,” he told Fiji TV, that people are detained by soldiers. It looks like military detentions have become a necessity then. Take the hint from a post on WFC – we should just be declared a “military state” (This theme was echoed by the Fiji Times editorial today titled 'Who is in control')

We really shouldn’t be surprised but then again… It’s a case of one arm saying something and the other saying something else, hardly the sign of a cohesive “government” leading this country to eternal bliss.

The irony keeps on coming. After unleashing their heavily armed selves on a coup-weary population, the junta is now persuading all and sundry that the “Bula Spirit” is well and truly alive. Of course, the hotel worker who lost her job or the casual labourer working on a construction site who was laid off, are all expected to be cheery and welcoming to the visitor, despite not being able to put food on the table.

While she’s part of an illegal regime, you have to give it to interim tourism minister Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau for telling it like it is.

On Fiji TV’s “Have Your Say” program tonight she all but admitted the dire state of the tourism industry, while in the same breath gushing about how tourists who do visit find that paradise never went anywhere when booking in at the four and five-star resort in the Western division.

“We don’t even have attachments that don’t pay,” she said in response to a question from a tourism graduate that he has been searching fruitlessly for a job in the industry for quite some time.

So while it may be another day in paradise for the tourists this country is so hard-up for, the ordinary people of Fiji are confronted daily with bread-and-butter issues, most of which were forced on them by the actions of the military leadership in their misguided belief that staging a coup would set things right for this country once and for all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Town Fires Four Workers for Gossiping
ABC News
(May 22)—What happened in the town of Hooksett, N.H., is no rumor.

Four town employees with 46 years of service between them were fired, in part for gossiping and discussing rumors of an improper relationship between the town administrator and another employee that Hooksett residents now agree were not true.

The administrator complained, and after an investigation the town council fired the women, finding, "Gossip, whispering, and an unfriendly environment are causing poor morale and interfering with the efficient performance of town business."

"When I was given my termination papers, I just looked at the gentlemen that were present in the room and I said, 'You've got to be kidding!'" said fired worker Sandy Piper, who insisted her comments weren't out of line. "We discussed it on a lunch break, and then it ended."

"It kind of sort of was, 'Oh did you hear that too,'" said Michelle Bonsteel, Piper's fired co-worker.

Gossip is ingrained in American culture, from the elementary school playground to the office water cooler. But Tory Johnson, "Good Morning America's" workplace contributor, said people should be careful about what they say when they're on the clock.

"Free speech only goes so far," Johnson said. "An employer definitely has the right to defend his reputation."

In Hooksett the four firings are ironically now the talk of the town. But for the women out of work, the controversy is not a matter of idle chatter -- they want to get back to work.

"I did love my job. And do I want to return? Absolutely," Piper said.

Lawyers for the Town Council of Hooksett told ABC News they have "no comment" at this time, but there could be a decision this week on whether to reinstate some or all of the women.

Copyright 2007
2007-05-22 13:40:15