September 03, 2012
Coup-Coup Land: Life Under Fiji’s Interim Government
In coup-coup land people live in cages.
"How come the people live in cages, Babba?"
"They're not cages!" Babba scoffs.
But Babba is wrong. They are cages: houses wrapped in wire grills that are sturdier-looking than the shanty homes they protect. Wire covers backyards, too, like a kennel-run for the kids, to keep menace at bay. Fences crowned with barbed wire. Padlocks as big as grapefruit. And this is a nice palm-jungle rural road, where girls wait in neatly ironed grey uniforms for the school bus to Nadi. Sure, young Fijian men amble along the dusty roads, shirts tied around their heads, carrying machetes. But they don't look that threatening. The machetes are for coconut splitting. They are poor, they are bored - healthily muscled, though, and with a wide grin to offer the Fijian g'day: Bula.