Saturday, October 31, 2009

"FIJI'S MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE". Fiji's Next President as agreed by Chiefs & Chiefly System [Pre 2006 Coup] is Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.


The People and the Land are One. We chiefs rule both. We own neither,” so said Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna when describing the chiefs of Fiji and the metaphoric three legged stool (1980 Writings Ed. D.Scarr).

The distinction is an important one.The Mara-Ganilau dynasty is trying to do both – Rule and Own the Fijian people and our land, clearly shown by the recent appointment of Ratu Epeli Nailatikau as President, but not yet sworn in.

How did this appointment come about?Since illegally seizing power in 2006, Voreqe Bainimarama and his stooges have consistently chosen whatever route lets him avoid paying the price, under the rule of law, for what happened under his command to the murdered Counter Revolutionary Warfare soldiers and the four civilians.

Meanwhile Fiji languishes under Bainimarama’s politics of expediency.This kind of politics does not promote public good or Justice. It is greedy for power, money and status and it is an insult to the Fijian people, to our history, our culture and our sacred values and aspirations.

Our next President, as agreed by our chiefs and chiefly system, was supposed to be Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi. Instead we have a dynasty.If this regime is so confident that it knows what is best for the people of Fiji, then let them know, with their new appointed President in situ, to call an election for a new Parliament."

Dr. Mere Tuisalalo Samisoni,
elected Member for Lami Open Constituency (deposed)"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Climate Change in the Pacific: Ulamila Kurai Wragg Shares her thoughts.[click to view Meltdown Fiji]

Today, I wanted to highlight one of the TckTckTck campaign's Climate Witnesses, Ulamila Kurai Wragg, a mother and a journalist, she has seen the impacts of climate change worldwide and has a perspective we could all do well to listen to:

My name is Ulamila Kurai Wragg [Climate Activist] and I am from the Cook Islands.
When invited to speak about how climate change is impacting my island home at the United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week in New York in September, I did not know what to expect.

But I felt positive because I was going to be part of this great team of people working to ensure that a fair, ambitious and binding deal is locked and sealed in Copenhagen come December.
I met the media and (as a journalist) I got a taste of my own medicine. Plus, I was more careful with my second language, English, and did my best to captivate whatever audience I had.
But nothing prepared me for what I felt when I encountered three inspirational women – Sharon Hanshaw from Biloxi, Mississippi; Constance Okollet from Uganda; and Ursula Rakova from the Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea. I came with an open mind and I absorbed as much as I could from them.

We were part of the ‘TckTckTck Campaign’ as climate witnesses. The diversity in our representation gave life to our agenda to get global leaders to act and they must act fast.
They have to sign that moral deal because as
climate witnesses we are testifying that we are now living and regularly dealing with rising seas, hurricanes, eroding shorelines, vanishing islands, flash floods and much more in our daily lives.

Constance’s story of hunger, Ursula’s fear of her island now ‘a paradise no more’ and Sharon’s life of rebuilding after ‘Hurricane Katrina’ moved me to tears. I could feel their fears and aching hearts because I am a mother of four children living on an island with receding shorelines.
My mother told me stories that I cannot repeat to my children because there is nothing here to prove that there was a creek that meandered around some swamp where they would catch little fish and feed eels. All we see today are dry beds half eaten away by the waves.

I live on the beautiful Vaima’anga beach in the Cook Islands, my fears are now mounting as we enter into the cyclone season. Yesterday we put extra nails into some new roofing irons and are stashing away emergency boxes in case we have to vacate our house. We have learnt to always “prepare to expect the unexpected”. Proactive rather than reacting.

We are teaching our children what to do when cyclones hit us, we are also warning them to stay away from the shores when they see big waves crashing pounding the lawns.

After New York, I felt that there was still more work needed to drive home the issue that leaders have to work on a fair deal and seal ASAP.

I now see that there are many layers to this issue of climate change but I am proud to hold up my corner as a climate witness. But I am not seeing the leaders working on theirs.
I will moan about the leaders and their moral obligations but I refuse to be a victim of the situation. We are standing up to do our own bit making sure that we stay alive to see this through.

New York taught me that to be heard is to be seen.

Ulamila Kurai Wragg (Cook Islands). Ulamila is a veteran journalist who has worked for the past 20 years in Fiji and the Cook Islands, witnessing first-hand the diverse impacts of climate change in both island countries. She is the interim coordinator for the not-for-profit Pacific WAVE Media Network and heads its Climate Change team. WAVE (Women Advancing a Vision of Empowerment) is a network of Pacific women media practitioners focused on empowering Pacific women as leaders in and through media. Ulamila lives with her husband and four children on Vaimaanga beach in Rarotonga.

Richard Graves on Twitter:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reflections on Fiji Day in Wellington, Aotearoa, NZ.2009

Ni sa bula, No'oia, Kia Ora, Namaste & Greetings,
10 October 2009, on Saturday, was marked by many Fiji people worldwide as a day to remember Fiji's Independence Day from Great Britain. This year in Wellington, Aotearoa, we marked the day with much more sombre mood as we remembered also those Fiji families that have lost their loved ones at the hands of the military regime back in Fiji over the last three years.
It was not easy to celebrate as Fiji & its people still struggle to come to terms with the fact that their basic rights & freedom have been compromised. As of todate, there are still restrictions to freedom of speech, freedom of press/media, freedom to hold public meetings or church gatherings as in the case of the Fiji Methodist Church and many more. The question we ask, how can we celebrate this special day in earnest when the regime maintains a tight control on the individuals freedom of choice & expression in Fiji. We still mourn for the losses of lives and for many other reasons which are too many to mention.
On a lighter note, we have decided to blog some images of what took place in Wellington on 10 October 2009. As always, the intention is to give the children an opportunity to reconnect with their roots in Fiji by being a part of this day. This at the very least, will give these kids a taste of what Fiji Culture & tradition is all about. We wish to also take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, Wellington City Council (esp Rita for all your expert help and guidance & ensuring venues as well as all those finer details were met), & also your fellow colleagues,Bessie & Marie.
Trade Aid (Christian & Philippa, for co-hosting with us the Cheese & Wine evening on Friday 09/10/09 & also for being our special guest on Saturday 10/10/09. Thanks for having those crafts from Fiji by the Matemosi Women's groups on display & also for the team of Trade Aid Volunteers that helped out with us on the day.
Fijian Congregation Members of All Nation's Christian Fellowship, Wellington for the mekes & leading us through the evening vigil. Special thanks to Talatala (s) S.Tuinasau, E.Delana, Waiz. To Alisi & all Children, men & women that performed on the day and made the day so special.
Jan, Manager of Johnsonville Community Hall for assisting us with an alternative venue at such a late notice due adverse weather as predicted for Saturday 10 October 2009 which did not allow us to have the event as planned at Frank Kitts Park.
Steve Ready, the expert weather man in Wellington, who once lived in Fiji, worked @ weather Bureau, Nadi International Airport, now married to a Fiji lady.
Thanks for keeping your fingers on the pulse & alerting us well before hand as to weather predictions for 10/10/09.
All other members of Fiji Community & other denominations that made time to be with us on this day. We also thank members of the wider Wellington Community who joined us also.

Last, but not least all the hard working Luvei Viti Core Team for Fiji Day 2009, Valencia Mar Melesia, Pauline Teautama, Taniela Naitini, Rafaele Brown, Dennis Veisaku, Sally, Ana Fong, Adi Samanunu & all those Volunteers that helped out on the day.
Vinaka Vakalevu, Tena Koto Tena Koto Tena Koto Katoa.
From: Core Team
Luvei Viti (Children of Fiji) Community

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Minute of Silence for Tsunami Victims in Tonga, Samoa & Indonesia.

From Mr Kasi Muaiava @ myvuw.
Sent: Friday, 2 October 2009 2:06 p.m.

Dear All,
"Samoa and neighbouring island Tonga have been devastated by the impact of the Tsunami. The university are regretfully sorry about the pain, sorrow and despair this has caused to all who have been affected. The investigation in to the total of those who have perished is still under way as the rubble will take a few days to clean up. I hope we are all coping with the tragic loss of our loved ones who have been taken." unquote.

Our prayers are with all those students studying at Victoria University & also all over Aotearoa. together with their families & loved ones that may have lost someone in the Tsunami disaster back in Samoa & Tonga within our neighboring Pacific Islands.

We also would like to extend our prayers to those students from Indonesia that may have lost their loved ones & families too in the recent Tsunami.
Luvei Viti Think Tank Group @myvuw.

After the tsunami: Poems from the Pacific
Image: Sia Figiel and one of her sons

Writer Sia Figiel and her children live in American Samoa. Like many others they fled to the mountains as the tsunami hit their island, and viewed afterwards the destruction it brought.

Sia sent her reflections on the day's traumatic events and her family's survival to the BBC website and shared her thoughts with her family and friends.

Some of those close to her have responded by turning her words into poetry and adding verses of their own.
The evening bells have just rung for evening prayer.
Our prayer tonight is
that of gratitude
that our family and neighbours are safe.
But our hearts
are with those families

"our hearts are with those families"
who can not say the same,
who will sleep tonight
without a son,
a daughter,
a mother,
a father,
an uncle,
an aunt,
a cousin,
a grandmother,
a grandfather.
Their loss is our loss.
Even the night birds feel it
~ Sia Figiel

How right you are. I love the way you articulated it....and so I write for you:
Even the night birds feel it
your words

"even in our disconnectedness"
swim the sky
and through
red feather clouds
and blood tears
i know that we are
even in our disconnectedness
of space
~ CF Koya

To continue the prayer-poetry chain, I take your last lines and invite others to continue in prayer:
even in our disconnectedness
of space
the whole of Samoa is on its knees

"memories of the day before Wednesday"
Samoa in Aotearoa
Samoa in Fiji
Samoa in Amerika
Samoa in Hawai'i
praying and
swallowing salt tears
swallowing time
shoes and soles of feet
swallowing bones and lives and sheet
memories of the day before Wednesday
swallowing distance and space
swallowing our sea memories
to taste this pain
that is ours
~ Selina T. Marsh

I've added my part to the weaving, it follows Sia and the others, taking the pattern of repeating the last line of the previous poem...
To taste this pain that is ours
To remember one's heart is there
On that day in September
At the earliest hour
They watched the sea disappear
The bay empty like a valley
The sea rush back in a moan
Took the weaver from her fale
Took the child from warm arms
Took the elder from his family
Took the sleeper from her sleep
The blue deep, deep moana
There at the sacred heart of us
That echoes through each of us
When the panic madness falls
And the calm tide breathes
With all Samoa everywhere
With all of Tonga too
Remember your hearts there
And my heart too
~ Dan Taulapapa McMullin

And my heart too,
along with yours.
We are reminded
in the most brutal way
that we are all connected.
We are reminded
in the most brutal way,
that our relationship
with the ocean
is never
on our
own terms.
We are reminded
in the most brutal way
why dominion over nature
was never a part
of our epistemology.
We are reminded
in the most brutal way
why we know ourselves to be
simply a part
of a sacred continuum
of sacred relationships
where even
the ocean is alive,
where even
the night birds feel,
where even
the rocks have spirit,
where even
the blood red clouds
know why they are red.
We are reminded
in the most brutal way
the balance of life between
is sacred, va tapuia,
endlessly interconnected
across distance, space, time, species, life, death.
We are reminded
in the most brutal way
why long before
Christ arrived
on these shores
we have always been
a people of spirit
a people of faith.
~ Karlo Mila
A people of faith
A people
A people of
A people of faith
Faavae i le atua
They said
God will protect us
They said
Samoa is founded on God.
O children of the great and mighty Fofoaivaoese
Those of us who watch, and listen
from the great watery expanses of all the corners of the earth
hear Samoa's cry
Fofoaivaoese will not desert you Samoa
For even now the groundswell of love, support and prayers
Wave after wave after wave will crash on the very same tear-filled shores
which tore our worlds assunder
and will overcome, embrace and lift up our people, our aiga, our villages...our Samoa.
from despair and devastation
Do not grieve Samoa,
Outou, mataou, tatou...
With one hand we will hold on to the ancient words and wisdom of our ancestors
And with the other we will grasp the almighty power of Le Atua
As we people of faith
Calmly but what we have to do
Do what
Do what we
Have to do
To remain...
People of faith
People of the Vao ese
We are here, watching, listening
And waiting.....
~ Melani Anae
Aueeee, our fathers cry
>Aueee, our mothers cry
Auee, our children cry
>Aue, we all cry
>We cry salted tears
>We cry silent fear
>We cry mournful alofa
>For our people
>We cry, Aue…. We cry!
~ Allan Alo
We cry, Aue…. We cry!
The strongest of the strong cry
Through the push and pull of the tides
And waves of pain and agony
that crash against the shore of our wounded hearts we cry, Aue...
We cry
We cry tears of blood
that flow deep through the sea of sorrow flow with the whispers of our soft prayers ascending above the clouds and settle beyond the depths of our soul. It is there that our tears have dried dried into a grain of salt a grain of salt called faith, the one thing we continue to hold on to for faith, isn't faith until it is all that we have left to hold on to it is what will wipe the tears of the strongest cry give us comfort in the night allow the warm rays of the sun to brush upon our skin push and pull the greatest memories of love with that of the tides heal the waves of wounded hearts lost in the sea of sorrow dry our tears and carry us into tomorrow...
~ Christina Pelesasa

Bula, No'oia, Kia Ora, Warm Greetings, Namaste

Children of Fiji & Friends of Fiji

Children of Fiji & Friends of Fiji
Down memory lane

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#NaDinaFijiTruth Seeker & HumanRightsActivist.

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