January 24, 2013

Can Fiji's United Democratic Front work?

Now here's a news story worth noting. And we would urge Felix Anthony and his political group in the strongest terms possible to get on board and "hang together" with the others.

Unity, as those in the fray of labour rights know full well, is the only way to defeat tyranny and restore the rights and freedoms of The People, in who's name they serve.

Updated 23 January 2013, 18:25 AEST

Can a united group of Fiji's political parties actually work?That's the question being asked in the wake of the decision by the SDL, Labour, United Peoples and other parties to form what they're calling a United Front for a Democratic Fiji.

They say they are cooperating against a common enemy - the coup installed military government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Getting different political parties and groups to work together has never been easy.

Politics attracts people with passionate and unyielding views, and even if there is agreement on the basic philosophy, internal disagreements, often about personalities rather than actual policies, tend to cause division, as lampooned in the film "Monty Python's Life of Brian".

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speaker: Grab from film, Professor Bill Hodge of Auckland University

MONTY PYTHON: The only people we hate more than the Romans are Judean People Front and the Judean Popular People's Front. Oh, yeah, and the People's Front of Judeah. The People's Front of Judeah, splitters, we're the People's Front of Judeah. Oh, I thought we were the Popular Front. People's Front. Whatever happened to the Popular Front. He's over there. Yeah.

HILL: In Fiji, an attempt at cooperation has been made among parties with very different, political and ethnic backgrounds,

Such attempts at broad unity among differing parties is often called the Popular Front approach.

New Zealand's Constitutional scholar, Professor Bill Hodge, says historically such attempts are not common, and their results have been rather mixed.

HODGE: I'm not sure it would be common, but it's certainly an appropriate tactic for centre groups and left wing groups in the face of what I'll call a military approach and perhaps more recently the Popular Front in Madrid were faced with Franco's Fascist army coming over the horizon. An even better example might be the 13 American colonies in the 18th Century, a very desperate group with slave owners in the South and traders in the North and they became a popular front against what they regarded as British tyranny. So it's not, I wouldn't say everyday event, but Popular Fronts are possibly the natural instinct of making strange bedfellows out of a greater enemy, which would be the military here.

HILL: It's not an easy thing for former political foes to work together, is it. How does it work in America and Spain?

HODGE: Well, I think certainly in America, we've got the great precedent of Benjamin Franklin, who told his colleagues that we've got to hang together, meaning work together or we hang separately, which was probably true in the end and for them it worked. Unfortunately, for the Popular Front, that's the one in Madrid in the mid 1930's. I think one can argue that if Franco hadn't had a successful fascist army, the Popular Front might have been consumed from inside by one of the Stalinist elements of the Popular Front, but it succeeded for only a short while in fending off a superior Fascist force.

In Fiji, I wouldn't characterise the military as quite the abomination that Fascism in Europe might have been, but on the other hand, it's bad enough for the South Pacific, so it's a natural instinct for a disparate group of trade unionists and Fiji Nationalists and religious groups and so on to come together, hopefully, more than temporarily.

HILL: Is it possible for these strange bedfellows to work together really effectively or is the danger that at some point one of the components of this might be seen to be pulling ahead or using the others for its own purposes. Is that how these things usually fall apart, internal jealousy?

HODGE: What I would say at some point, they would almost always do that, but one would cross one's fingers. I mean most of us have been looking hopefully at what was happening in Fiji and hoping that evolution back to democracy would occur. Now it's ebbing away and the true colours of the tiger or the military riding the tiger's back are coming to the fore, but the Popular Front is an idea that should, well in theory, and I'll be optimistic here, and I know I'm still optimistic about Fiji, would hang together long enough to steer the ship back to a form of democracy, somehow getting enough signatures to become a party and even without the trade unionists, which I find an abomination, it' s just a bizarre ruling that trade unionists can't participate. That's just contrary to democracy in the Western world. But hopefully, the Popular Front could steer the vote or with the well, hopefully the benign withdrawal of the military, which is looking less likely then this Popular Front is the right way forward.

HILL: But if the military won't withdraw from politics, and they've made it very clear that they won't. Is there anything that even a strong or united popular front as we put it could actually do about this. If the army's in control, surely there's nothing anyone can reasonably do to affect what happens in Fiji?

HODGE: Not in the short term, but hope, crossing my fingers and being absurdly optimistic, the habits of democracy may continue to grow. It hasn't been completely forgotten and if the military, without stepping all the way back, steps back, then hopefully a Popular Front can establish a tradition that puts the military where it belongs, which is back in the barracks and possibly earning some foreign currency by sending a battalion to the Middle East, which is in theory a good thing, as long as that battalion doesn't come back and occupy the streets of Suva. But the habit of democracy, cross fingers, will strengthen and revive.

HILL: The weakness of these Popular Fronts is that once they perhaps achieve their objectives, how long it takes, it automatically falls apart. The victory fells the destruction of it?

HODGE: Well indeed, but falling apart is not the end of the world. I'd rather have the Popular Front fall apart after getting power than have them not come together at all. So it's worth a try, even though we all see some dangers and some probable futures for a Popular Front. It's better to go that route now in the face of ? I don't see any alternatives. So good luck to them.

January 23, 2013

PM yet to decide on 2014 election

January 22, 2013 03:12:14 PM

Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is still yet to confirm whether he will contest the 2014 General Election or not.

Bainimarama in an interview with Sky News in March last year had stated that he was still considering his options, however he told FijiLive today that  he has not made a decision yet about standing in the election.

"My priority right now is to move Fiji forward and to see that the constitutional process is completed," he said. 

"I cannot comment on elections because I have to ensure that things are in order so our country can return to democracy."

Under the new political party registration decree 2013 the Prime Minister is allowed to contest elections however as the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Bainimarama will have to resign from his post before applying to be an applicant or a member of a party.

Meanwhile while visiting students at Vatuwaqa Primary School today Bainimarama has promised teacher and students that government will be looking at more ways to improve the school’s infrastructure and to provide them with a better pay ground.

He also said everyone needs to have positive view about things as this would be a way to move people forward.

By Mereani Gonedua

Chaudhry and Baba speak on the United Front

Publish date/time: 23/01/2013 [08:05]

Some years ago, it was almost unthinkable.

But now the Fiji Labour Party, SDL, United People’s Party and the National Federation Party who could not see eye to eye on a number of issues in the past which resulted in public disagreements are now working together.

Their group is known as the United Front for a Democratic Fiji.

In the past, parties like the SDL had even said publicly that they were diametrically opposed to the Labour Party when they were given the opportunity to form a multiparty cabinet but they later formed a cabinet minus Chaudhry.  

The FLP had joined the Commodore Bainimarama led government from 2007 to August 2008 and had rubbished parties like SDL then.

FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry said this about the leadership of the SDL and its leader Laisenia Qarase in June 2008.

Mahendra Chaudhry now said the United Front for a Democratic Fiji is just looking at common issues however this group may develop further as they come closer to the elections.

However, he started raising questions and making allegations against the media when Fijivillage asked Chaudhry the important question that many have been asking on how Chaudhry can work with the same people and parties who he could not work with before.

When contacted, United People’s Party leader Mick Beddoes only said that he is happy to support the statements made by the United Front for a Democratic Fiji.

Meanwhile, Doctor Tupeni Baba who is a spokesperson of the SDL said they are part of the United Front because the group has a common enemy.

When asked how he can work with the FLP leader who he has strongly opposed and criticized over the past years, he said it has to be done.

The National Federation Party will comment later.

Story by: Vijay Narayan & Akuila Cama

China backs RFMF

  • Increased training help
  • Machinery for engineers
  • Possible new navy boats

January 22, 2013 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom

Fiji could receive new navy vessels from China.

They would replace the ageing navy boats which have been servicing and guarding Fiji waters for decades.

Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander and Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama revealed this after meeting Major-General Qian Lihua, Chief of the Foreign Affairs Office in China’s Ministry of Defence, yesterday.

Major-General Qian and his delegation were treated to full Fijian traditional ceremonies of welcome at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks (QEB) in Nabua yesterday morning.

Commodore Bainimarama said the visit was part of their annual defence co-operation briefing.

“We discuss areas of co-operation, training and development,” he said.

Major-General Qian also assured in his short speech after the ceremony that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the People’s Republic of China would help and support the RFMF.

He made a tour of the RFMF facilities, including the Engineers Corps, the Forces Training Group in Nasinu and the Fiji Navy.

“The inspection will allow them to see areas they can further assist us,” Commodore Bainimarama said.

“We have discussed a few areas and where they can help like machinery, which we will use for more rehabilitation and regional development.

“We are also looking at replacing our navy boats and also possible help in improving our band,”

This latest development will also result in increased assistance in the form of vehicles, uniforms, other equipment as well as training opportunities for defence personnel.

Major-General Qian was accompanied by Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Huang Yong to the QEB.

In 2011 the RFMF received road construction and maintenance vehicles from the People’s Republic of China, which is assisting the Government with its rural development projects being implemented by the Engineers Corps.

China’s partnership and bilateral relations with Fiji were strengthened following the so-called smart sanctions imposed by Australia and New Zealand in 2007. The Prime Minister and RFMF Commander has acknowledged the willing Chinese support.

Australia, UK to tackle cyber threat

PUBLISHED: 16 JAN 2013 20:11:00 | UPDATED: 17 JAN 2013 08:46:42

Australia and the UK will commit to closer co-operation on cyber security amid alarming growth in attacks on government and business systems.

Annual ministerial talks involving Foreign Minister Bob Carr, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, Defence Minister Stephen Smith and British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will be held in Perth on Friday.

Among other topics to be discussed are Fiji’s stumbling efforts to restore democracy, Afghanistan, Australia’s United Nations Security Council push to ensure protection of medical personnel and supplies in Syria, co-operation on defence equipment purchases and the joint operation of diplomatic posts.

Support for the French intervention against Islamist forces in Mali, which Senator Carr warned on Wednesday risked becoming a terrorist haven like Afghanistan, is also expected to be discussed. Mr Hague told New Zealand’s TV3 yesterday that the UK was increasingly looking to work more closely with countries like Australia and New Zealand to help counter the growing cyber threat.

Mr Hague has previously conceded government and business in the UK is attacked every hour and that losses can be great. The menace had the potential to undermine Britain’s security and international competitiveness, he said.

UK intelligence sources suggested in October that British government and private sector websites were being targeted by up to 1000 cyber attacks every hour.

Australia and the UK have beefed up their cyber defences through the establishment of dedicated centres to deal with attacks and provide intelligence and support to the private sector.

States such as China and Russia, cyber criminals and hackers have all been blamed for launching increasingly sophisticated attacks.

Mr Hague is also expected to raise with Senator Carr his proposal for the UK and Australia to open joint diplomatic missions as a way of extending both countries’ diplomatic reach to more countries and stretch straitened government budgets.

Mr Hague said the UK also shared Australian and New Zealand concerns that Fiji be returned to democracy in a timely fashion.

Senator Carr confirmed Wednesday evening that Fijian interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama’s stuttering efforts to restore democracy were likely to be discussed at the Australia- UK ministerial talks.

Fiji remains suspended from the Commonwealth after the coup Commodore Bainimarama staged in 2006.

Though Commodore Bainimarama has pledged to hold democratic elections in 2014, the Fiji government has proposed a decree restricting union leaders and other public officers from founding political parties and imposing other onerous conditions on political party formation.

“Fiji’s transition to democracy must enshrine human rights protections, media freedoms, judicial independence and parliamentary checks and balances,’’ Senator Carr said.

“We all want to see a Fijian democratic constitution developed which will put the country beyond the culture of coups.”

Commodore Bainimarama has also come under fire for expelling an International Labour Organisation delegation and proposing a redraft of a new constitution.

The Australian Financial Review

January 21, 2013

Grubby Replies

Darling Shazzer,

It is not often that I whinge and whine about your failure to control what is written about Fiji throughout the world (although my sweet redhead, you do an excellent job in Fiji).

But just last week (after I had recovered from our palaver with that lovely Cab Shazz- ooh, I see your name everywhere) I noticed that Spinning Jenny Wayward-Jones ran two articles in the Lowy Institute's The Interpreter by that Professor Nasty

The first article (The Interpreter, 15th January) tried to turn our Great Success at Trashing the Cash Ghai Draft Constitution into a pathetic weapon bringing together our more pathetic political opponents in Fiji.
Hah hah. They don’t know what’s in store for them until we put our spin (yours and mine, my darling) on the Mother of All Constitutions To End Constitutions in Fiji- being currently written, as you know, by Shameonme, Khaiyumyum, Antonia and Banana's (who will of course, only read it when it is done) i.e the SKAB constitution. Hah hah hah. That will get up the unionists' nose.

Of course the SKAB constitution will be "rubber" stamped by Ulukau NellyTheCow (no, no, darling, don't think about those "rubbers" that NellyTheCow always carries with him). 

My darling Permanent Secretary of MisInformation (ooh, I hope you ARE going to be permanent), the second Nasty article in The Interpreter stupidly tried to imply that India and China ought to be principled about aid to countries that don't respect human rights, that they should at least respect the interests of Australia and NZ in Fiji; and they should stop supporting our Glorious Leaders Kranky Bananas and KhaiYumYum (I will explain the Indian translation of this when we meet, my darling).

Goodness gracious, what next, I ask you? 

We all know that Australia and NZ they are not the Masters of the Universe even in this little South Pacific backwater, but minions bowing to their Master, The United States of America.

When US's Greatest Leader Bush said “jump” into Iraq, Australia's Lil Jonny Howard jumped (and asked “how high, Sir” on the way up). 

But US also now has a MASTER - The People's Republic of China (ooh, I love that oxymoron - I wonder if we can use it for Fiji?).

Without China, US would have been utterly wrecked and racked (oh I am so onomatopoeic) by the GFC (that’s not Good Fried Chicken, darling, but you knew that), and Australia would also have gone down the dunny. 

Kevin Rudd knew this very well. Poor fellow, he tried to speak Mandarin with the real mandarins, but it did not help him. Hah hah hah - he should have had biscuits, cheese and smoocheroo's with Gina Lionheart, as did Julia GuiltHeart, very sweetly giving the Royal Boot to Rudd.

[In confidence darling, I am also learning a bit of mandarin to negotiate (I mean navigate) with those cuties between O’Reilly’s and Traps on Victoria Parade. [Now, now, don’t get jealous my hot-tempered red-head - you are not available every night for our intellectual tete a tete over a good red). Remember, "East is Red" but the "East" can be better than a "Red", hah hah]

Just how sniveling Australian leaders kowtow to China (what a sweet reversal of roles) was obvious when Car Crash limply (oh dear) agreed with Our Glorious Leader KhaiYumYum that the Cash Ghai Constitution was not all that good, and we should not leave it to the ignorant hoi poloi to modify in the Constituent Assembly. (When will the stupid Fiji people understand -  democracy is NOT about what the PEOPLE want, but what our two Glorious Leaders want.)

Our real Glorious Leader was over the moon for days after the first Car Crash gaffe, until that snooty strutting condescending Madam ShameOnMe, making heaps of money, came out with her Party Poopers’ Decree, forcing even Car Crash to back-track with a bit of pressure from the Australian Union bludgers (don't worry, David Abattoir will skin them soon). 

As for pathetic India, well they really don’t matter do they? They are just trying to catch up on China who has left them in the dust for the last twenty years.  Forget about how many sports medals these "bandy gandhi's" win, but look at how they messed up the tiny Commonwealth Games - not a shadow of the Chinese Olympic Games, was it?

We all know these Indian diplomats are a bunch of idiots who can’t even give you a good red at their cocktails - just a few cheap line Johnny Walkers (Red Label, of course) and some bhajia's and bhooja's, which our little carts in the street do better. 
Anyway, Our Glorious Leader KhaiYumYum, backed by the heroic talibans of ParkKissStern , will soon force India to convert their hopeless ExIm loan into a grant, having thrown a spanner in the FSC works for the last year.

Now where was I, before I was side-tracked?  Oh, my teeny weeny whinge and whine.  

It is about this Lowy Institute woman, Spinning Jenny Wayward-Jones, who ran the articles by this Nasty fellow. Why on earth is Spinning Jenny putting pressure on our Two Glorious Leaders by irritating China and India with this second article?

I thought that you (and Cash TheButt) had sewn her up with that phony TheButt Opinion Poll that showed that Our Glorious Leaders had 105% support throughout Fiji as the most popular Prime Minister and Attorney General ever. 

Our Glorious Leaders even managed to get that independently verified by God's representative on earth (Arch Boozer MutterCa) and by ADB expert John Smarmy who also got some cash from Fiji tax-payers (and there is nothing wrong with that. So do I, and we both know that it does not at all affect my 105% unbiased independence as a Fijian journalist). (I LUV these percentages).

My darling, please, please write very firmly to Spinning Jenny and tell her, NO MORE articles from that Professor Nasty, who thank goodness, has been stopped from poisoning and polluting the young open minds of USP or the Fiji public. What a come down for Nasty to blog on sites NOBODY reads, except you and me, my darling, or where will our lovely bottles of red come from (good heavens, we might have to do a decent day's work). 

With smoocheroo's etc., hoping to put this teeny whinge behind us.

Your dearest Grubby

January 20, 2013

Sacred Emblems of Fiji's Nationhood - Defend It

Blessing grant oh God of nations on the isles of Fiji
As we stand united under noble banner blue
And we honour and defend the cause of freedom ever
Onward march together
God bless Fiji
For Fiji, ever Fiji, let our voices ring with pride
For Fiji, ever Fiji, her name hail far and wide,
A land of freedom, hope and glory, to endure what ever befall
May God bless Fiji
Forever more!
Blessing grant, oh God of nations, on the isles of Fiji
Shores of golden sand and sunshine, happiness and song
Stand united, we of Fiji, fame and glory ever
Onward march together
God bless Fiji.
Meda dau doka ka vinakata na vanua
E ra sa dau tiko kina na savasava
Rawa tu na gauna ni sautu na veilomani
Biu na i tovo tawa savasava
Me bula ga ko Viti
Ka me toro ga ki liu
Me ra turaga vinaka ko ira na i liuliu
Me ra liutaki na tamata
E na veika vinaka
Me oti kina na i tovo ca
Me da dau doka ka vinakata na vanua
E ra sa dau tiko kina na savasava
Rawa tu na gauna ni sautu na veilomani
Me sa biu na i tovo tawa yaga
Bale ga vei kemuni na cauravou e Viti
Ni yavala me savasava na vanua
Ni kakua ni vosota na dukadukali
Ka me da sa qai biuta vakadua
He jagdishwar, kripa karo tum Fiji desh pe apne
Ahle watan hum teri sharan mein, teri dhwaja ke neehe
Ajaadi ki raksha aur samman sada hum karege
Sab milke badhte rahege
Sarwamangal Fiji

Yeh Fiji, hamara Fiji
Hum sab mil gaate rahe
Yeh Fiji Hamara Fiji
Yeh naara lagate rahe
Dharti hai apni, azaadi, asha aur garva ki
Kripa rahe prabhu ki, Fiji par sarwada

आशीर्वाद फिजी
के द्वीपों पर ओह राष्ट्रों के भगवान अनुदान जैसा कि हम महान बैनर तले नीले
एकजुट और हम सम्मान और स्वतंत्रता के कारण बचाव कभी
आगे एक साथ
मार्च भगवान भला करे फिजी
फिजी के लिए, कभी फिजी, चलो हमारी आवाज गर्व
साथ अंगूठी फिजी के लिए, कभी फिजी, उसका नाम जय दूर और चौड़े,
स्वतंत्रता आशा है, और महिमा, का एक भूमि सहना करने के लिए क्या कभी
बीतना भगवान भला करे फिजी
हमेशा के लिए और अधिक!
आशीर्वाद अनुदान, फिजी
के द्वीपों पर राष्ट्रों के भगवान, ओह सुनहरी रेत और धूप, खुशी और गीत
की किनारे एकजुट खड़े हो जाओ, फिजी, प्रसिद्धि और महिमा से हम कभी
आगे एक साथ
मार्च भगवान फिजी भला करे.

The strange bedfellows that make the Fijian Gleichschaltung

18 January 2013

Gleichschaltung (DEFINITION:  Coined in the Nazi era, it is the shifting of an entire society according to a predetermined clearly defined world-view, or dictatorial philosophy to facilitate riding roughshod over society deliberately and systematically destroying existing traditional societal structures and critics , including the abolition of the middle class/academia so that every form of independent activity such as media freedom and association was controlled by the State.The aim is to strike petrified fear into all and sundry and get abject compliance in all things)
The Fijian Gleichschaltung began when Kaiyum's vindictive practical pursuit of his sunset clause theory for the Fijian culture began, and Bainimarama's love of money and thirst for power met.

All aspects of life in Fiji now fall under the absolute leadership of these two fiends and their cohorts. Like the two symbiotic parasites they are this is a marriage made in parasitic heaven.

A confession, and bit of history
I knew Bainimarama personally for many years. 

As young people growing up in Suva, those were adventurous days, and Bainimarama stood out in our crowd for many inapt reasons. 

First a massive chip on his shoulder about not being of Fijian blue blood or of Fijian full blood. He was immensely envious of those who had blood ties to the great Chiefly lineages and had a thing about wanting to be better than 'them'.

Second, always wanting to be the Big Man, and the Leader of this team and that project, and absolutely hating any opposition to his ideas. 

Third, a sneering condescending attitude to Indians and other races. He was and still is very racist despite what he mouths today . Frank seemed to resent the fact that he was actually classed as a kai-loma and not a true Fijian as we would say in those days. Therefore he tried very hard to be as "Fijian" as he could. He had a very ostentatious manner of speech, was big on taking revenge and exhibited a quick irrational temper and a constant venomous spirit. He sure wanted to be noticed.

At the end of the day we would snigger about his behaviour as his swagger and mentality became more and more uncouth and thuggish. Eventually as the years went by, we all drifted away and he was left with very few friends, most of whom exhibited the same behaviour in the hard drinking and hard swearing gang. 

Fourthly, when there was hard work to be done, we could never find Frank - he was always narcissisticly grooming himself, settling into a rehearsed posture as if he were busy thinking or delegating work to others, even when he was in the midst of a group ... Nooo his hands wouldn't be dirtied if he could place the work/blame onto others.

So that was Frank. When he emerged a second time as Coup 'Saviour' in 2006 , my heart sank. I knew his exhibited traits when we were younger had morphed into a wanton lust for power and privilege. 

At last Frank can lord it over those with Fijian Royal Blood  At last he can vent his frustration and anger against our Chiefs and those institutions that never recognised him as either a leader or a chief or dare I say it even as a Fijian, and those that ridiculed him because he was 'kai-loma'. I do note that somewhere along the line, he did give himself the title of 'Ratu'. It must be really good to be a dictator.

The spider
A few months after the coup in 2006 along came the spider in the form of some odd chap called Ayarse Khaiyum, a 2 bit lawyer with an manipulative personality and an extreme attitude about Fijians, his fellow countrymen.

He had written a thesis about closing down the Fijian culture and when he met a power hungry Frank, some light bulbs went off. Aha, here was a way to prove his theory and control and cull those dastardly natives he despised so much.

The two men had many things in common. They were both narcissistic, opportunistic, greedy, mean-spirited and power-hungry. Frank was also running from treason charges, and Ayarse was reeling from not being able to climb the career ranks in Suva as quickly as he thought he should.

Ayarse persuaded Frank his legal know-how was priceless and that only he knew how to squash his enemies. They had many a laugh as to who would suffer, for how long, and the methods by which they could achieve their enemies demise. 

In return, Frank offered him powerful positions to lord over the great unwashed.

Combined with the threat of gunpowder and physical intimidation from his private army, Frank uses Ayarse to control the populace with laws (illegal) called Decrees, and manipulate governing rhetoric.

Ayarse uses Frank to carry out his thesis and rule our nation as the puppet master. How he must snigger at Frank's naivety when he goes home at night.

So, here we stand - Fiji 2013. 

Decree after decree (269 at this point in time) after intimidation and warped rhetoric, these strange bedfellows are telling us not asking, to surrender our political will and individual liberties to them. 

To what end? And why to them? What's so special about these two men?

How perverted that these two men, polar opposites in their hatred of the other race, should now demand we are theirs for the taking as lords and masters of our destiny and our nation.  

As history shows, abusive and power hungry leaders play on their people's insecurities and promise much for so little.

How much more of these opportunistic, deceiving, lying, greedy buzzards can the people of Fiji stomach?

The trouble with accepting Gleichschaltung and the Fuhrer principle is that it creates dictators and despots who speak of unity and togetherness while solidifying power and control. As an example many citizens are not aware of the development In the Fiji Military Forces - now having to swear allegiance not to Fiji, but to the Commander himself !!!!! (a fine illustration of the Fuhrer principle).

Freedoms surrendered are seldom if ever reinstated apart from revolution or war.

China and India: the elephants in the Fiji room

Professor Wadan Narsey

When it comes to Fiji affairs, the international media usually focus on what Australia and NZ think.

Thus when the Fiji Regime recently created a political crisis by rejected the Draft Constitution devised by its own Yash Ghai Commission, Jenny Hayward-Jones, in her article (The Interpreter, 11 January 2013) noted "despite this setback, international actors including Australia should continue to press for progress in re-establishing democracy in Fiji and engage where they can to maintain momentum in the process".

But the dialogue needs to also include the two "elephants in the room"- China and India - whose critical support for Fiji's Military Regime has arguably undermined the diplomatic stances and sanctions imposed by Australia, NZ and the EU.

For an analysis of the Regime's rejection of the Ghai Draft Constitution, go here.

India's support for Fiji Regime
While observers were surprised that India, the world's largest democracy, so readily supported the 2006 military coup in Fiji, perhaps relevant was the Regime's claim that it wished to protect the people of Indian descent from unfair domination by the indigenous Fijian majority.

This was reinforced when the largely Indo-Fijian Fiji Labour Party (led by Mahendra Chaudhry) quickly joined the Regime in 2007.  Chaudhry was however ejected after a year.

However, India's major contribution to the Regime, the large ExIm Bank of India loan to upgrade the milling efficiency of the Fiji Sugar Corporation, has backfired.

The loan proceeds did not lead to any increase in milling efficiency, partly because of inept sub-contracting at the Indian end and technical inefficiencies at the Fiji end.

The sugar industry continues its slump for other reasons as well, and India is under pressure from Fiji to convert that loan into a grant.

Perhaps as a face-saving device, India also recently supported Fiji's Chairmanship of the International Sugar Organization for 2013, a symbolic role used as great propaganda by the Bainimarama Regime.

India is aware of the Regime's media censorship, denial of basic human rights, and its reneging on its promise to hold elections in 2009. Now they see the Regime back-tracking on its own constitution review.

India has to worry that its continued support of the Regime may bring negative consequences from a future elected Fiji government.

China's support for Fiji Military Regime
China's support for the Fiji Regime does not pose any great dilemma for political analysts:  China does not share the West's belief in full democratic rights for its own people, or a free media, or other basic human rights being denied in Fiji.

With China becoming an economic Super-Power which "saved" the west from the Global Financial Crisis and continues to save it from outright recession,  it can afford to disregard international opinion, as it does over devastated Syria.

But, like the US, as Chinese imperialism matures, China's foreign policy will eventually have to pay greater heed to good governance, human rights, and environmental issues.

Note that Chinese investments in Fiji are relatively minor compared to their economic interests in Australia, NZ, PNG, Timor and West Papua.

China's aid/loan program to Fiji has resulted in many infrastructure developments which will be of significant economic value, when the economy grows.

But Fiji's economy  has totally stagnated under the Military Regime for six years, with declining real incomes, increasing poverty, and rising public debt – while other Pacific economies have prospered.

China's unqualified support of the Fiji Regime arguably undermines the diplomatic stance of Australia and NZ, who have a legitimate interest in discouraging unlawful regimes and political instability in the Pacific Island countries.

A Fiji Regime that keeps breaking its commitments, and tries to hang on to power, regardless of the economic and social costs to its own people, is not in China's long term interests in Fiji.

Super Power Roundtable on Fiji?
One of the weaknesses of international diplomacy in the Pacific is that the traditional powers (Australia, NZ, US, Britain, EU and Japan) have tended to exclude China and India as equal multilateral dialogue partners, as they did at a 2011 meeting called at PIDP in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

This may partly be due to historical and cultural reasons, and partly because the emerging super-power rivalry sees it as a Zero-Sum game in the Pacific. This does not help countries like Fiji.

Fiji's people would benefit if Australia, NZ, US, EU, and Japan were to engage in a diplomatic Round Table dialogue with China and India for a more "pacific" solution to the ongoing crisis.