Friday, August 22, 2008

Responsibility for our actions

Responsibility for our actions
SITIVENI RABUKA


Friday, August 22, 2008




Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf leaves the presidential house after his resignation in Islamabad.

Ni sa bula! How has the week been? As a family we have been having a great week, although last week ended with a funeral and a vakabogidrau (lifting of the mourning 100 nights after a relative's death).
These are usually heavy financially on family members but they are essential social commitments that keep the families closely bound together.
Last week I wrote about a former avid supporter of a former leader who was vehemently condemning his previous boss at another funeral gathering collection at my club.
The good thing about Fijian family funerals and gatherings is that it is based on families and family ties.
Now in urban and peri-urban societies and employment centres, friendship and work colleagues come within the relationship network and take part and contribute in the funeral gatherings.
The burden of grief as well as the financial load is often shared by those attending.
Discussions at these functions usually focus only on the good of the departed.
It has been a few days since the exit of the FLP triumvirate from the interim Government, and it was so matronly for the party queen to embrace and kiss them back into the drawing board to plot the next offensive.
I am using the word offensive here as a noun and hopefully the FLP know that, and will stop believing that it is an adjective only!
Even on his departure the official receiver was saying they needed to evaluate the Charter to formulate the party's response to it.
That was intriguing. Does a father or mother evaluate an offspring after it is born; even if the conception is the result of an unholy union, or prostitution on the part of either or both parents? While the mother could claim rape, the father may offer consensual union. But, it is the people, through their courts, who will decide that both must accept responsibility and mutually contribute to the life of the child until he or she is capable of independence. And if the child dies early because of neglect, both parents are to blame for bring an unwanted child to being and then neglecting it to death.
Who is responsible?
In future, this question will reverberate around the nation and around the region and around the world.
Even as late as this year, evidence is still coming out about the atrocities doctrined and perpetrated by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime in Germany, and researchers are still trying to piece together what brought about the Second World War.
In 2006 the War Office in London released documents that revealed that even during the War; Churchill had proposed the summary execution of several Nazi leaders if captured.
His colleague, Stalin of Russia, proposed limiting the execution to only the Staff Officers - 50,000 to 100,000 of them!
Fortunately for humankind, the Allied forces won the war and elected not to fully use the 'victor's justice' doctrine and instead agreed to treat the vanquished with dignity and justice through the International Military Tribunal which eventually tried 24 of the most important German leaders and commanders who were captured.
Even that tribunal was seen, by some, as not being impartial, because it was put together by the 'victims' of the atrocities.
One commentator offered that the judges must be fair and not neutral, drawing on the parallel that a burglar cannot protest the fact that he is being tried by a jury of honest citizens.
This is why those that decry the appointment of some judges by the interim Government will not have very many sympathetic ears in the justice profession - one that has already been publicly judged and condemned by our Prime Minister - so that wide brush he used painted his appointees to the bench and his A-G!
These judges must all be fair while some of them cannot be regarded as neutral.
The International Military Tribunal which later became commonly known as the Nuremberg War Trials also generated quite a lot of unique aspects of law and the administration of justice.
One such 'doctrine' is that obedience to an illegal command cannot be a defence because human beings are not 'automations but reasoning agents'.
So, getting back to the triumvirate and the interim Government; the former cannot blame the latter for the harm nor give credit only to them or themselves for good (if any) that resulted from their union.
This has been a very interesting week. A former guerrilla fighter internationally blamed for the loss of 113,000 lives in the long and hard struggle for the indigenous people of Nepal is now their elected Prime Minister.
The United States still regards him as a terrorist. Will the Gurkhas be allowed to serve on in the British Army and the joint operations in Iraq? It could also be the application of an age old doctrine - beggars cannot be choosers. Not many British young people or US service personnel want to serve in Iraq.
At home, a marijuana farm was raided in Navosa. Could that be the national curse we need to be cleansed from? Has the nation presented its I soro to God for the blood of His servant Thomas Baker? The people of Navosa have presented their I soro.
The people and the clergy should, together, read Nehemiah again and learn from it.
If we do not repent for the shedding of innocent blood, a Saint Giles hospital and jail in each urban centre will not be enough to handle victims of drugs, alcohol and other substance abuse.
General Musharraf has stepped down as President of Pakistan and already he is expected to go into exile in the 'accommodating' mother of modern democracy, the United Kingdom. And people wonder why there is growing extremism and terrorism in the UK! Will his pilgrimage to Mecca be for penitence or rededication to the 'cause'? Scotland Yard will be interested.
His resignation was the only exit strategy left to him - exit from politics and his native soil.
If the interim Government considers the Charter as an exit strategy; exit for whom to where?
Have a great week end and Shabbat Shalom.

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