Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Leave the Fijian Chiefly System alone" :This is one of the Essence & Fabrics of our Indigenous Society.

It is ironic for an academia such as Mahendra Reddy to be cynical & accuses the Fijian Chiefly system as the problem of Fiji's lack of Economic Growth. Fijian Chiefly system is the essence of our Fijian society & likewise for our fellow Melanesians as well as Polynesians in the Pacific. Chiefly systems compliments what Law & order dictates in a Court of Law. In fact on many occasions disputes are resolved at the village level where the Chief resides with any Government representations eg Land disputes or family disputes.
To blatantly blame the traditional Chiefly system of contributing to poor governance is a weak argument to say the least. It is obvious that this is another attempt by Reddy, using his academic proweress & flexing his muscle to try and sell his idea. We say to you, there are now many educated Indigenous Fijians who still stand by their allegiance to their home village, their familes and their Chiefs. Perhaps those that do not fit this category would be those that are either experiencing a tug of war within their own Chifely family system because someone who has more clout within the current bureaucracy has stepped in and stole the Chiefly title by hook or by crook.
Nevertheless, whilst the Indigenous Fijian Race are surviving, no amount of 'academic' bullying as such nor some sort of ideology that Reddy has been teaching his students will shrivel this old age tradition. We want to reaffirm to Reddy & others like him, this is one of the fabrics of our Indigenous society to which we hold dear and close to our hearts.
If we may comment, first theres the attack on the Indigenous land or 'attemtpting to do a 'land grab' from the natives & now this. (The same ole, same ole story we have heard so many times before.) It is obvious this is the 'push & hidden agenda and/or intentions' of those like Reddy who are propping up the current regime and are fighting 'tooth & nail' to 'DE-CONSTRUCT' the very 'Spirit of being an Indigenous Fijian'.
Reddy, arrogantly states in his comment, quote, "The traditional chiefly system prevalent in Melanesian societies threatens issues of governance..." unquote. Where are the facts & figures to prove your argument Reddy? Has Reddy forgotten that Tradittional Chiefly system be it in Fiji, neighboring Melanesians or Polynesians are there to stay and no matter what type of 'Iron cage Bureacracy' being dreamt about can alter this. Such is the make up of the Indigenous Fijians as well as other fellow Melanesians & Polynesians in the Pacific. On a gentler note, why has Reddy conveniently left the Polynesians out of this equation? Is he scared of the backlash from the powerful Manu Samoas & the King of Tonga 7 other neighboring Pacific Chiefs etc?
Would he accept if we were to run a parallel criticism as to why there are so many 'slum dog shanty houses' both in India & in Fiji that is creating a desperate climate of poverty & we challenge him as to what would he make of this? If we may cite a recent comment by Fiji Human Rights spokesperson, Shamima, who claims that teenage daughters were being sold to bring income to the families. Does this sound familiar to him? Of course, it is, however, he would rather do a 'much loved mud-slinging execise' with the Indigenous Fijians & their Chiefly system who has kindly shared Fiji with him . This of course has its historical slant by virtue of Colonial Masters bringing the Indian forefathers via Indentured Labour system.
Reddy has opted to ignore the perils of some who are now reportedly selling their daughters to get income into the house. This is unheard of in the Pacific Culture, as it is 'taboo' and is very un- Fijian & Un Pacific - so where did this idea of buying & selling came from? Reddy et al should focus their energies more to this type of problems that brings Fiji's economy to disrepute rather that accusing the Indigenous people's Chiefly system & the value this has on ttheir society.
Last but not the least, Reddy, there is nothing that you nor your concept of ideology can do about changing or reconstructing the 'essense of an Indigenous or First people in Fiji', including fellow Melanesian neighbors & the wider community in Fiji as well as in the Pacific.
To prove your point incorrect, one of the lady academia from the Solomons who holds a Doctorate recently presented a micro finance scheme that she was instrumental in setting up for the women in the Solomons & says its thriving well. This has allowed these Indigenous women to hold bank accounts & watch their money grow as a result of the leadership from within the system at the village levels. In turn these women have helped their children & families enjoy a much better existence and livelihood than they did previously.
Instrumental to these developments are the Chiefly leaders, whether they are men or women and they are very supportive to these type of economic assistance which helps stimulate economic growth at the village level. These must be promoted to all those overseas countries that are willing to siphon their Aid money to raise the bar & create Micro businesses at the grassroot level. This at the very least will raise the standards of living as well as shift the World Poverty Index Fiji currently holds thus closing the poor/poverty gap that is so often talked about by the Richer Nations.

Read further for Reddy's comment on Fiji Times Online.
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Chiefly system a threat
Wednesday, April 01, 2009

THE strong traditional chiefly system prevalent in Melanesian societies threaten issues of governance, says Dr Mahendra Reddy, the dean of the FIT's Faculty of Commerce, Hospitality and Tourism Studies. http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=118213

7 comments:

  1. Quoting comments from CIA 'The World Fact Book' on Fiji..

    " Trafficking in persons:
    current situation: Fiji is a source country for children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and a destination country for a small number of women from China and India trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation
    tier rating: Tier 3 - Fiji does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government has demonstrated no action to investigate or prosecute traffickers, assist victims, take steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, or support any anti-trafficking information or education campaigns; Fiji has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2008)

    This page was last updated on 19 March 2009" unquote....
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fj.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. The chiefly system must undergo change or die.

    Changes I support is omitting paramount chiefs. It is a fact, that the Paramount chiefly plane, is like having a state within a state.

    Village chiefs are fine where they are. That is where their place is, not in politics.
    Fiji can not have two systems-one for chiefs and one for all others.

    Seeing these changes only in the prism of erosion of Viti culture is a misanomer. Culture is not owned by the chiefs.

    ReplyDelete
  3. No one said that Culture is owned by Chiefs. The Chiefs are an intergral part of an Indigenous Culture whether its Fijian or Melanesian or Polynesian group we are talking about.

    Traditional Chiefs are the hallmarks of their Culture, Ethncity and/or race & it cannot be restuctured as the argument is all about.

    Secondly, one can not dictate to someone of Chiefly background who may one day become a Chief not to enter Politics. Likewise the system cannot dictate that a Chief is only good enough at the village level.

    By doing this one can be accused of trying to pre-determine or re - construct what a Chief can or cannot do.

    Question one may ask, "Are you trying to teach a Chief how to 'suck an egg' to put it bluntly? Or are you trying to cross a Sensitive Racial Boundary Line in your effort to try & usurp these Chiefs' basic Human Rights?

    One need to tread very carefully and know the diffrence of venturing too far into an Indigeneous sensitive issues such as Chiefly Traditional system and its land and people.

    Should these Chiefs want to enter Politics, thats an individual choice he or she makes & if he gets the support of his people, he is fortunate. Who the people tick at the ballot box during an election is another story and again its a matter of individual choice.

    To say, Chiefs should stay away from Politics, show us a clause in the International Human Rights Act & we will reciprocate by showing you where you have overstepped the mark on Indigenous Ethnic lines.

    To quote, from 61st United Nations General Assembly:

    "...calls for the maintenance and strengthening of their cultural identities, and emphasizes their right to pursue development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations."

    Therefore, any Traditional Chiefs within their Cultural or Ethnic group, be it in Fiji or in the Pacific or global are allowed under this clause to pursue and develop themselves in order to be a good & productive leader.

    ReplyDelete
  4. In response to comment no.2 by anonymous where he says, quote,
    "The chiefly system must undergo change or die."

    One wonders whther this person is so desperately wanting to smother the Fijian Chiefs of their powerful clout.. As the saying goes...La'o sara in logana.. Bhaiya!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. by John Liebhardt http://globalvoicesonline.org/2009/04/02/fijis-chief-system-debated/

    Fiji's chief system debated
    Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 @ 16:40 UTC


    A respnse fron: Adi Samanunu

    John,
    This topic is indeed a sensitive one for the Indigenous Fijian & one cannot help but pick out that this academic is performing an act of ‘Racial profiling’. To a point as an academic he is informing the public to shape their views on Traditional Chiefs from within the Melanesian groups, Fiji included. This is dangerous and can incite further unrest in a country thats already so divided due to Fiji being declared a failed state by the rest of the world.

    At this point of difficult times in Fiji, one can comfortably say that it is the Traditional Chiefs that are acting as barrier for their people not to break out into lawlessness & riot. As in one of your postings about ‘Moltov Cocktail bombs’ be made & used, one only need to look at who are the target victims to get an idea who are behind these thugs carrying these act of lawlessness. It certainly not the Traditional Chiefs as if anything they are the ones appeasing their people.

    I will share with you a short blurp of an incident that occurred in a village on one of the islands approx 15 or so years ago. A young Native Fijian man, married with children decided to join his Indian mates for a Saturday night social ‘yaqona’ drink at the Indian men’s house. This was a routine Saturday night event for them as these Indians and their families resided and had an arrangemnt with the Chiefs & people that owned the land they had their dwellings on just outside the villge belt.

    Trouble broke late that night during this social session and because the young Fijian man was on his own with no other Fijian mate, he was was hacked to death by these Indian men. By virtue of God the news reached the village at wee hours of Sunday morning. As a result the whole village came out in full force with spades, machetes, stick etc with the intent to totally wipe out these Inidan men that had killed the young Fijian man who now lay dead on the side of the public road into the village.

    The fury & anger of these dead man’s relatives & the whole village of men. women & children were only appeased at the voice of their Traditional Chief who had been woken up by one of his men to try and pacify the whole village.

    No further bloodshed occurred and the outcome was a peaceful exit of these Indian men and their families out of that village for good. Justice took its course and the men were charged for the murder of this Fijian man.

    Up till today, thE late Traditional Chief has left a legacy as he was able to gain control of his people at such a critical & difficult time. This was one of the worst would be riot in a Fijian village where the Police, Law & order were another 20 miles away on a dusty country road.

    This is a true account as I was a young person at the time it happened and was there in this village

    ReplyDelete
  6. In response to two (2) comments in Global Voices..John's column:

    The world map can be viewed through many lenses one of which is the Indigenous Lense as opposed to the Western lenses or any other for that matter. The world at this point in time is what the expert calls the McWorld v Jihad!! You can deduce for yourself where the problem lies in today's society before we try and cast the stone too far into what matters to the Indigenous Fijian people.

    Over the years so many land & Indigenous people have suffered the onslaught of Colonisations. It has the good and the ugly sides to it. Colonies are still reeling from the after effects. These nations are now marked in the world's racial map as the 3rd world or the poorer nations through the lenses of a Western model. Why is it that it has to be always the top -down approach and not 'bottom up' for once thus allowing these people who are constantly being oppressed by arrogant views as posted above. These echoes the familiar attitudes of 'the Brahmins v the Untouchables'. 'These people are humans and they have a say to their way of life and livelihood. At the very least if all else fails most them especially so in the Pacific , Fiji included, they still have their land to hold on to.

    As noted in the two posts above, the Western Ideology or bureaucracy seem to be used as an escape by many which ultimately seems to dictate the social order. Those who cannot see beyond these perhaps find it too comfortable in their glass houses.

    These idea that we need to move forward is true but not at the pace dictated by technocrats, bureaucracy & the Western world. As Indigenous people we too will move at our pace in our time & not be coerced by forces that are agitated by the slow rate of our development. More and more of our people are getting educated just like everyone else and given time we will be better equiped to take on the challenges of changing time. Meanwhile we do not need to be rush through or be gagged if we want to tell the world about what makes us tick. After all that is why we are debating these sensitive issues in a social forum for the simple reason that we ain't blind and we need to prove to people that finds our existence irritable to just get on with their lives and leave us to ours to try and work through our issues.

    As the saying goes, "people who live in Glass 'technocratic' houses houses shouldn’t throw stones. They should be stoned."

    Thank God, other peoples right of existence are protected under United Nation Declaration, International Human Rights Commission & UN declaration of indigenous peoples' rights etc.

    Otherwise if left to the perils of those that cannot look beyond their own little glory glass houses then we might as well bring back what Eichman did during the Holocaust or what actually happened in Ayti before its people revolted against the wannabe land grabbing settlers

    ReplyDelete
  7. looking back to Raw Fiji posts of Dec 2008

    High chiefs score good points for snubbing Frank
    December 15, 2008
    Frank says he is not bothered by the non-attendance of those three high chiefs from Burebasaga, Kubuna and Tovata confederacies. But the truth is that the guy is angry that his plan to seduce the three to submission has failed. Boycotting the QEB meeting literally means the three high chiefs agreement to disagree with everything connected to Frank since the 2006 coup. And they had better be seen not to be leniant to indigenous Fijian terrorists like Frank and Co, to bear witness to the native Fijians and to the international community that the Fijian race have finally arrived. They must observe the importance of sticking to their moral high ground. Failing that, the three might as well just kiss their chiefly status goodbye. They must remain strong and show their people once and for all that coup makers will not be tolerated ever and will be banished for life in their own motherland.

    Already, the three high chiefs non-attendance is viewed by many, including the international community, as the highest chiefly snub that will render the QEB meet as illegitimate. Frank and his bunch of insignificant chiefs will no doubt churn out a list of resolutions derived from John Samy’s charter. It is yet another desperate attempt by Frank and his inner circle to impose and legitimise themselves to the indigenous Fijian community. But they seem to fail to understand that many indigenous Fijians are supporting the three high chiefs, not because they are their chiefs but because they appreciate that the three have shown the highest order of respect for the rule of law in Fiji, which clearly states that any coup is illegal no matter what. By doing that, the three chiefs will continue to get unwavering support from their many legal-conscious subjects who have refused to revert to thuggery to plead their case but instead, have bravely followed the universally accepted way of adopting the litigious method of fighting for their rights in a court room. This in itself is an amazing development for the Fijian race as they become fully aware of their legal rights. It’s this new-found legal understanding by the indigenous Fijians and their three high chiefs that Frank is up against. A fight he can never win, no matter what.

    Posted by rawfijinews

    ReplyDelete

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