Showing posts with label Neocolonialism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Neocolonialism. Show all posts

Friday, October 25, 2013

X-Post: Pacific Politics - Lamentations from the Pacific.

Kalafi Moala writes that true freedom will come when Pacific peoples start thinking for themselves.
A cry is being heard from almost every corner of the Pacific; a cry against injustice, a cry against the harsh hand that has been dealt against us in the centuries old deliberate attempt by the powerful West and their allies to shape us and our social culture, to become like them.

In this colonization of the Pacific peoples to transform them into Western thinking and ways, the overall effect have been devastating. We’ve been abused from the back when we were not looking or when we lacked knowledge, but now we are being abused from the front, when some of us knowingly chose to be subservient rather than assertive. You annexed whole island nations like Hawaii, imprisoning kings and queens, giving the leadership of that sovereign kingdom nation to your European business friends. You took our lands and destroyed our culture, and have turned our shores into bases for your powerful military.

Many of our nations, as in Kiribati and Tuvalu, face a crisis that threatens to sink the islands from the sea-level rise effect of climate change, and our ocean environment in many places have been ruined by the same effect, scientifically proven that it is caused by global warming, a condition caused by reckless Western industrialization. Oh thou Great and Almighty West, when will you understand? When will you stop to think that what you have done and are doing to our peoples have hurt us more than helped us? You’ve set yourself up to be our problem solver. Your attitude is that you know more than we do what is best for us. It’s like a drug-based health care; the medicine often produces worse effects than the disease.

Our ancestors suffered from diseases foreign to our shores, diseases introduced to our region through your intrusions, causing epidemics that wiped out whole village populations. You fought your wars on our shores, tested your nuclear weapons on our islands, and the suffering of our peoples in French Polynesia and Micronesia is still being felt with the fatal effects of exposure to radiation. You created geopolitical divisions and partitioning among all of our island nations, so that it would be easier for you to control us. You divided us among your allies: British, American, French, Australian, and even the Kiwis were given a share.

We felt like war spoils being shared around.
Kalafi Moala

" Oh thou Great and Almighty West, when will you understand? When will you stop to think that what you have done and are doing to our peoples have hurt us more than helped us? "
You would not leave us alone because now you need someone to control, which is characteristic of your imperialist nature. But even when some of our nations have been decolonized politically, you’ve continued the re-colonization process through education, media, and other social configurations. And we have become so aid dependent, we lack the knowledge of what else to do, because we have been trained by you not to think creatively but only to think what we’ve been taught.

You mined our gas and petroleum resources, and sold them to the tune of billions, yet our people in those island states remain poor. You exploited our forest resources, and now those areas are barren and our balanced eco systems have been forever altered. You signed agreements with our governments for seabed mining, fishing rights, and to abstract whatever you need from our ocean life.

For thousands of years our peoples were proud to be self-determined and had homegrown solutions to their problems. They sailed our great ocean lanes to trade, to explore, and even to make a fight or two. But thanks to you we are no longer independent as you have given us a system of civilization that makes us dependent on you, and in the process we have lost our dignity and our determination not just to survive but to live thriving meaningful lives.

In our desperate plight to survive, in a world where you control almost everything, we’ve welcomed the willing help offered us by countries like China, India, UAE, Japan, Korea, and others from the non-Western world; but you have insulted us by saying that we are just changing aid dependency from one colonial power to another. You would rather we continue the dependency on you than on others you’ve held in spite because of their success in self-determined development. Well, for whatever its worth, we don’t recall China or India ever taking over by force our sovereign nations. They did not test their nuclear weapons on us, you did. Is it no wonder we welcome their help more than we do yours?

In a world where the standard of success set by you is measured by political, economic, and social wellbeing, rather than by meaningful relationships and its effects of peace and happiness, it is no wonder why it is so hard for us to make it in your world. Some of our people are relegated to the corners of poverty, ignorance, and high crime rate, in your cities.
Kalafi Moala

" You are the same brutal imperialist power that brought suffering to our forefathers, and we have inherited their unjust plight. "
We speak your language, learn your culture, and operate in your system of things, yet you do not respect us enough to learn our language, observe our culture and values. The solutions you have given to us is that we need to be transformed to be like you – we need to learn your systems, practice your culture, in fact, think like you do, and we then can make it in your world.

Some of our leaders, in fact a lot of our people have embraced your ways and think the way you do. They have made alliance with you, and now they have acted like you, abusing us from within, and selling out on our values. For the past two decades you have increasingly ignored the islands of the Pacific partly due to your view that our worth maybe less than any meaningful investment you make.

The Western powers headed up by the USA and UK have diminished involvement in the Pacific, handing Australia and New Zealand the responsibility to “govern and manage Pacific affairs.” These two regional powers have been outsourced the running of things for the Western powers in the Pacific – from trade, fisheries, mining, forestry, transportation, finance, border security, natural disaster management, to telecommunication, energy, climate change, environment, and many other things serving your own interests.

Now that our non-Western friends like China are becoming more involved in our region, you’ve decided to come back in, but your basic mentality, attitude, policy, and practice have not changed. You are the same brutal imperialist power that brought suffering to our forefathers, and we have inherited their unjust plight.

The basis of unjust policy and practice must be replaced with that of justice. But that is not going to happen until the mighty and powerful decide to come to their senses and forego the misguided illusion that might is right, and power cannot be unchallenged.

As the steps to a long journey begin with the first one, it is time Pacific peoples start thinking and doing what needs to be done so as to start them on their journey to freedom. This is a freedom that only them know when it happens, a freedom that restores independence, self-determination, and dignity.

Source: Pacific Politics


Monday, October 07, 2013

X-Post: Pacific Politics - Self-determination Thinking Crucial.

Kalafi Moala writes that maybe there is a lesson or two to be learnt from Fiji when it comes to home grown solutions.

The news that AusAID has been reconfigured as a bureaucracy and placed under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the new government of Australia has shaken up the Southern Pacific states, especially Tonga and Samoa. And more particularly after the announcement there will be cuts to Australia’s overseas aid of about $4.5 billion in the next four years.

Australia is Tonga’s biggest aid donor of about $33 million a year. And the same goes to Samoa, even though New Zealand aid to Samoa is significantly much greater than to Tonga. Interestingly, Australia’s aid to Fiji has increased since 2006, despite the opposition rhetoric and sanctions against the coup regime governing Fiji.

Questions are being asked at the corridors of power in Nuku’alofa and Apia whether the cuts to Australia’s foreign aid is going to impact current aid packages to these two Polynesian countries.
It is understandable if the Fijian government is privately chuckling at the turn of events, because they have had to make do without Australian and New Zealand endorsement, and in some cases significant political and economic roadblocks in the form of sanctions.

In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Commodore Frank Bainimarama in reference to Australia and New Zealand said that Fiji had friends who turned their backs on them when they needed them. He said: “Regrettably, and to our great disappointment, some of these oldest friends had no faith in us. They abandoned us and sought to punish us with sanctions. We sought their assistance and understanding, but they turned their backs on us.”

Prime Minister Bainimarama pointed out that Fiji has struggled for many years “under a system that created different classes of citizens in which the votes of some Fijians counted more than others.” He has reiterated time after time again over the past few years, that the new society his government was building in Fiji is a multicultural society, and that the new Constitution and electoral system reflect that. And at the United Nations General Assembly, he again pulled no punches in reference to Australia and New Zealand. He said: “They chose to support a form of democracy, governance and justice system in Fiji that they would never have accepted for themselves.”

With reference to newer developing relations with donor countries like China, Prime Minister Bainimarama said: “Our isolation led us to seek out new relationships that have proven fruitful. Now, our standing in the world has never been stronger.”

Others from the South Pacific, who gave speeches at UNGA, included New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, and Tonga’s King Tupou VI. But Commodore Bainimarama’s speech was definitely the one to take note of, in the sense it gave clarity and rationality to what his government was trying to do in Fiji.
Other Pacific nations would do well to go over the points of Commodore Bainimarama’s speech, and especially his statement about self-determination of our own destinies as sovereign states. It is precisely this point that many of our Pacific states have fallen weak, in letting aid and funding determine what is important to the Pacific rather than determining what needs to be done because it is important to us.

Kalafi Moala

" Other Pacific nations would do well to go over the points of Commodore Bainimarama’s speech, and especially his statement about self-determination of our own destinies as sovereign states. "
One of the worse characteristics of colonialism is the assumption by the colonial powers that “we know best what’s good for you.” “The policies and practices for you small island states are best devised by us; we determine what is good and appropriate for you, and don’t worry, we will pay for it!” The problem with modern colonialism, as I see it, is not so much with the colonial powers themselves but rather with those colonized states that put themselves at the mercy of those who makes decisions to determine their future.

A common practice of development in the island states has been the search for aid funding as a means of securing employment rather than a means of implementing projects that are needed and relevant to social development.

There is an apparent lack of thinking and creating of development projects that will directly impact people and thus create wealth and eliminate poverty. What has become normal nowadays is the search to see where there is the availability of large funding, and then creating projects to be in line with the demands of these funding agencies.

An example of this is the millions of dollars available to funding of HIV-AIDS projects. In Tonga, for example, AIDS is not considered a major problem in comparison with other Pacific states such as Papua New Guinea or even Fiji. At least it is low on the listing of problems that must be dealt with in the nation. But because there is money readily available for AIDS projects, NGOs and others have come up with projects, some rather questionable, in order to qualify for AIDS money. It provides employment for those who are involved in the project without solving the problem.

The other major issue that attracts millions of assistance is to do with Climate Change and the Environment. Even though this is an issue that threatens the islands, projects and proposals for aid donors are still configured and built around what would attract the aid dollar rather than projects that really meet the needs.
Probably Tonga’s best initiative that attracts aid money has to do with alternative energy. The setting up and operation of the Tonga Energy Road Map (TERM) and all that has been achieved in the attempt to reduce reliance on fossil fuel, and to provide alternative, renewable energy, will directly contribute to one of the chief goals of Post-2015 Development Agenda, which is the elimination of poverty.

But the South Pacific states need to heed the words of Fiji’s Prime Minister, for it will help shift the thinking from others determining our future to self-determination. “A key principle that has guided Fiji’s political development and foreign policy,” he said, “soundly grounded in the Charter of the United Nations, is that we determine our own destinies as sovereign states. At the same time, we recognize the necessity of collaborating with all member states of the United Nations with the aim of sustainable world peace, substantive justice, dignity and respects for all.”

 Source: Pacific Politics

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