Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fact Checking The Interpreter: The Reportage Of Fiji's Socio-Political Scene By The Australian Media.

(Above image: Rewan Chief and SDL partisan, Ro Teimumu Kepa outside a Suva Court recently. Image source-Fiji Live)

Croz Walsh's latest posting examines the circumstances regarding the detention of Rewan Paramount chief and the strange bed fellows of Fiji's ethno-nationalistic politics.

The excerpt of the posting by Croz:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
(o+) Ro Teimumu, Methodist Ministers Being Questioned

Ro Teimumu, paramount chief of the Burebasaga confederacy, former Minister in the ousted SDL-led Government and an outspoken opponent of the Bainimarama Government, and at least four Methodist clergymen, including the controversial Revs Kanailagi and Lasaro, have been taken in for questioning about their rumoured plans to proceed with the Methodist Church's August Annual Conference in Rewa, to be hosted by Ro Teimumu, despite Government's refusal to grant the assembly a permit during the Public Emergency.

Last week the Church broke the conditions of a permit, that required the non-attendance of Revs Laraso and Kanailagi, by holding a standing committee meeting in Suva. It was apparently at this meeting the decision was made to proceed with the Conference, with or without Government permission. The Government position is that Kanailagi and Lasaro (and no doubt others) will use the Conference for political purposes which, in Fiji's present political climate, could threaten public order and national security.

If it is true the church intends to proceed with the Conference -- and my inside sources indicate it is -- this is a very serious development that could bring Church and Government into a head-on collision. I sympathise with the church's position, and the loss of funding the conference cancellation would bring, but there can be no doubt that the Kanailagi/Lasaro mix of religion with extreme Fijian nationalism has been an unhealthy (and, indeed, an unChristian) element of the Church for some time. But whatever the rights and wrongs of the current situation one hopes, for the sake of Fiji, that ways will be found to avert major confrontation before it turns really ugly. Click here for the full Fiji Times article.

Interpreter's Melanesia specialist Jenny-Hayward Jones has got it wrong yet again, along with the biased media reports from ABC. Jones' latest posting, unashamedly uses the talking points of the SDL segment, highlighting the 2 pillars of society, warning of imminent danger to the general public if their dual-pronged influence is permanently removed from the landscape of Fiji politics.

Ironically both pillars were also intimately involved with Fiji's 1987 and 2000 coups and it is rather myopic and repulsively selective for Jones to obfuscate that well documented fact.

A video (posted below)by Journey Man Productions/Foreign Correspondent explores the very scene of Fiji Parliament grounds and studies the various players involved in the 2000 Fiji coup, as well questioning the various motives prompting their action. The 20 minute footage includes a segment showing Rewa Chief, Ro Teimumu Kepa and GCC members visiting George Speight in Parliament for moral support of 'the cause', while the hostages were still being held in-situ.

Watch Ro Teimumu GCC members -Fiji 2000 coup. in News | View More Free Videos Online at

Edited version of above video (posted below)

Watch Cheifs and Politics in Fiji- A Catalyst For Coup Cycles. in News | View More Free Videos Online at

The proverbial pillars of Fiji's society, which Jones raised in her latest blog posting, was an emotional appeal for incitement. It may have escaped the mind of Jones, that those dual pillars she had highlighted; are so out of touch of reality that their influence on Fiji's populace has dwindled to a such a pathetic degree that, their appeal is actually anachronistic-oblivious to the changing demographics of Fiji's modern society.

Both pillars are no longer load bearing entities in politics, as they once were. Currently both bedfellows flaunt their roles in public, but the actual process of reducing their Chiefly/Religious footprint in Fiji politics would neither dent nor damage, the structural integrity of the progressing nation.

Jones quotes from a hideous Raw Fiji News posting that warns of violence around Suva and Rewa and it is rather not surprising that Jones bases her information on such vile rumour mongering.

The excerpt of RFN post:

Attacks around Rewa-Suva territory predicted
July 22, 2009

Some Fiji based commentators our sources spoke to today have predicted civil unrest in the greater part of Capital Suva, which is within the traditional territory of the imprisoned paramount lady chief, Ro Teimumu Kepa.

They say Suva City is undoubtedly the target area for those who will retaliate towards the detaining of their high chief.

Reports this afternoon reveal that despite the peaceful and prayerful nature of Ro Teimumu Kepa’s response to her uncivilized detention, people must not rule out certain confrontational destructive elements whose patience may have been stretched beyond its elasticity after learning of their chief’s unceremonious jailing.

We can also report that certain Embassies and High Commissions in Suva have issued alert warnings to their staff in the event that unexpected things happen in the middle of the night.

Jones erronously claims that, the lack of protest post 2006 coup was solely due to the dampening influence of the Methodist Church and Chiefs:

The lack of public protest in Fiji since the 2006 coup is usually attributed to the influence of churches and chiefs, who have been reluctant to endorse any protest that might end in violence. But these arrests may prove to be the one decision Fiji society cannot accept from its military leader.

It appears that the Interpreter's Jenny-Hayward Jones is strongly adhering to the talking points of antagonism, which are key words to population stimuli, which the SiFM had highlighted in an earlier post titled "The Audacity of Change-Fiji's Beta Democracy". That post singles out a white paper from Australian Government's Defense Department that mapped out these sensitive political areas in Fiji. Could the Australian media and blogs including 'The Interpreter' be declared guilty of impartiality?

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