Friday, May 04, 2007

Disgraced Fiji Military and Iis Leadership

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Our blogger Sotia Vakacegu writes...

This article goes out to those senior soldiers in the Military who attend church regularly but seem to support this coup through their silence and inactivity.

The likes of Senilagakali, Naivalurua former land force commander who preach in church about the goodness of GOD and yet subscribe to the acts of this monster.

Fiji Military Forces; Former Pride of the Nation.

Growing up as young boy, I recall fondly the war games i'd play with my cousins in the bushes around the Nadera/Kinoya area (it was still clear then). We'd split up into groups and carry out mock attacks amidst the thorny overgrown grass, hide in the muddy creeks with our aresnal of small stones, mud bombs and homemade 'rifles' (shaped out of the coconut frond base with the odd rubber band attachement).

We would name our groups and the first choice would always be Fiji Army or "FIR". The days of free thinking, ignorant of "lepto" and the only health risk was what we'd get from our mother's if we came back with too many scratches. The days of free innocent thinking... what i'd give to get those days back.

In our young eyes the Fiji Military Force stood for Honour, Pride, and we always associated the blue UN berets with the uniform.I had an uncle who was serving at the time and served as an inspiration to us, those of us who had relatives in the force were the group leaders.

This nostalgic trip is a result of my comparison of today's Fiji Military to that of the 'old' for us the not so old of Fiji. Two of my "war" mates joined the RFMF then, served in the UN peacekeeping missions and somehow moved on to greener pastures before 2000, whilst the rest of us found our own niches to carve.

The current public perception of the Fiji Military Forces is one of stark contrast to that of my generation.

The hard earned reputation built by the older , wiser, more 'diplomatic', hardworking Fiji military personnel in the days before Rabuka speaks for itself. The number of UN PEACE KEEPING missions that Fiji undertook in various hotspots around the globe has earned Fiji and it's soldiers a high honourable international reputation.

All this seems to have been wasted as our younger generation grow up with a totally different example set by the once honorable institution.

Do today's youngsters play pretend fiji military ? do they enact coups as part of their 'war' games?The training that once produced the world's respected soldiers has lately been used to produce Fiji's worst nightmare.

When we read about the beatings of unarmed civilians - men and women - it's like something our of an international news piece on what's happening in other parts of the world. Except that it's happening right here in Fiji!

The beatings of women, stipped to their underwear and humiliated in their cells and in public. The beatings of civilian men stipped and made to exercise at gun point or carry out other humiliating acts.

The beating to death of a 19 year old boy for no apparent reason. No reason or justification given by the military to contradict the young boy's mother's story about her son being at the wrong place at the wrong time. What about the boys right to fair and proper questioning?trial? The young boy and his friend(s) were taken captive by the military for now reason. Abducted would be the right word. To this day, no one has been brought to justice for the beating to death of this young boy. The mother's plight has been aired on New Zealand radio for the world to know of the "peace keeping" carried out by the Fiji Military Forces in Fiji.

The beating to death of Nimilote Verebasaga, a man dragged from his family home at 5am in the morning for no apparent reason. His family's next sight of him was his dead broken, bruised and battered body.

The self proclaimed military spokesperson Mayjahhhh Lewenski initially claimed that Nimilote Verebasaga already had those bruises when the military thugs took him from his home the early hours of the morning. Mr Verebasaga's family disputed that claim and the mayjahhhh has since been quiet and evasive about the whole issue preferring not to comment.To this day, the once honourable institution has remained silent on the murderers and what's being done to bring them to justice. Nothing so far has been done to file this murder investigation in court. A legal process that was denied Mr Verebasaga in the first place for whatever alleged infringement he may have committed. It's too late for that now. It is not too late to bring his murderer to justice. It is not too late to stop Fiji's cascade into the darkness of illegal, irresponsible, unintelligent leadership.

When these acts were carried out against civilians, the military commander Voreqe paraded around in his white naval dress and denied any accountability in the humiliation, beatings and deaths of civilians. He publicly said that it was "Driti's area and he didn't know what went on". His denial spoke volumes of the caliber of this commander's mentality, a fact later proven to the world as his illegal reign as military dictator continued.

A military commander who does not hold himself accountable for the actions of his men and those that serve under him, is not worthy to serve in that rank or any other.

One wonders at the caliber and mentality of the soldiers in Fiji's Military now, to be alble to carry out such humiliating degrading acts without any qualms. How do they live with themselves for what they or their colleagues did?Do they take this back with them to their families? Do they seek some sort of solace in a religious form of atonement? What do they do when they look their children in the eyes? How do they wake up in the morning and not bring to mind the image of a beaten, broken 19year old body that could have easily been their son?At the end of the day, when they go home; Can they honestly look their children in the eyes and thell them "Daddy's proud of what he did today?

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