Monday, April 13, 2009

Who Decides the Life or Death of our Constitution?

Who Decides the Life or Death of our Constitution?
The life or death of the supreme law of this land, the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of the Fiji Islands, is not subject to what Iloilo or Bainimarama dictate. The life or death of our constitution becomes real only if “We the People” deem it so.
The act of Treason executed by Iloilo and it being after all a grossly illegal act, means that anyone who now supports any of the military junta’s ventures will also be hauled up (and we hope soon) to share the guilt of being treasonous. That’s why our freedoms are being rapidly curtailed in the shoddily put together Public Emergency regulations and Decrees 1-4. Both documents will have freedom-loving lawyers rubbing their hands in glee in anticipation of its day in court.
If you do not understand how your freedom’s and liberties are being held at ransom, please read the Public Emergency regulations NOW. It essentially dictates how the military dictatorship will control and curtail basic freedoms. Of course that will be compounded by the fact that an independent court of law will not be able to ensure you get the justice you deserve. As for the stated assertions that the Public Emergency Regulations will have a life of only 30 day’s, we will believe that when we see it.
Meanwhile the “khaki editors” continue to damage media freedom and unjustly halt our collective rights to know what’s happening. But the blog resistance grows with the internet now also providing an outlet for censored fourth estate-er’s. For those seriously contemplating joining the blogging community, a valuable starter’s guide is available here.
In terms of making your peaceful opposition known to the military dictators, this article highlighting peaceful protests in China is quite inspirational. In the event that haul-ups under farcical "inciteful" hunches begin in earnest, listed below are some practical tips if someone you know is called to be taken up for “questioning” or “arrest”
:If called or contacted, demand to know why you are singled out (remember also that last time some of the instances were instigated by petty tattle-tales of some).
Do not allow them to pick you up but insist that you will find your way there;
Contact Media, NGOs, Fiji Law Society, your Chief, your spiritual/church leader and/or Blogs so that between them they can blast to the 4 corners of the globe what the military is up to;
Get a group together and escort the person as far as you can to the place they have been summoned to and take pictures (still or moving) of that person going in, as evidence. Evidence must include good shots of the background i.e. the gates of the office and people to visually confirm their being there (if pictures can be date- or time-stamped using camera settings that is valuable also);
At the venue ask the officer in charge for a name and contact detail in order for you to keep abreast of your friend’s release and keep Media, NGOs, Fiji Law Society, your Chief, your spiritual/church leader and/or Blogs updated.
Upon release get third parties together and record a detailed account of the events that transpired up at the questioning or arrest, using Media, NGOs, Fiji Law Society, your Chief, your church leader and/or Blogs as witnesses and store these records safely.
For the immediate here and now however, We the People need to decide whether we want the Constitution dead or alive.
Take a stand: Wear a black armband to protest the April 10 Treason
Let's not play with words and just tell it like it is - we are now well and truly living under dictatorship. With the Constitution now torn up, our rights taken away, and self-appointed rulers imposing their will on us, it's time to make a stand.
If you feel, your actions as an individual cannot make a difference, think again. There's the saying about the straw that breaks the camel's back - any little resistance from those of us who are suffering the brunt of the actions of this illegal junta will make a difference - if not immediately, it will eventually.
We congratulate the Sunday Times for taking a stand today. Page two was blank in today's edition with the notice that "The stories on this page could not be published due to Government restrictions." Same thing on Page 3, where there were six "holes" from which articles had been removed. The cartoon on the editorial page could not be printed too because it was deemed critical of the military's president and their actions since the treasonous events of April 10 - yet another Black Friday to add to Fiji's list. The mere fact that there were empty pages spoke more than words alone could have achieved. Because of the Fiji Times' brave stand, don't be surprised if they are forced to close and the publisher deported. Media freedom is under attack, and by extension, your right to know what's going on has been taken away. It's a case of the military dictatorship telling the people, "When we want your opinion, we'll give it to you."
We say wear a black armband everyday as a silent, yet powerfully symbolic way of resisting this illegal junta. A black armband is simple and states that you are in mourning. We need to mourn the murder of our Constitution. Bainimarama told the nation on TV on Saturday night that it is a fresh start, along with all usual rhetoric. But what a start it has been with enforced media censorship and absolutely no toleration of criticism. He claimed that ordinary people from the rural areas and everywhere else had been praising the interim government for what they've done. Says who? How do we know he's not just making this all up? At least they should not insult ordinary citizens' intelligence, because we doubt the ordinary people believe the rhetoric any more.
People of Fiji must reclaim what's been taken from them. Watching Bainimarama and his ministers take the "oath" of office, was gut-wrenching. They used whatever words were suitable from the 1997 Constitution and swore to do what's right "according to law"! What law? Their law? What they really meant was they would do what's right according to their own vision of what that is.
So wear a black armband to show you do not consent to this high treason. What happened on Friday after the Appeals Court ruling, was just another coup. Yet this has been the most blatant of power-grabs since Fiji's coup-cycle began in 1987. This time the President himself has been involved, even though we all know he is just a puppet for the military junta.
Mobilize your family, friends and yourself - wear a black armband when you go to work on Tuesday, school or out in town. Do not think for one moment that such a seemingly small act will not have an effect. Just imagine in the weeks ahead if hundreds of people begin emerging in the streets with black armbands. That will be one way to show this junta and Bainimarama that they do not have the consent of the people - consent they claim to have.
Do not take this treason lying down.
The aims of what they are trying to do make look good on paper, but history shows us that force of arms never works in the long-term.
Grahame Leung, the constitutional lawyer, put it well when he said that no matter what the military tries to do - rubbish up the Constitution, take people's rights away, sack the judiciary, whatever, the people's desire to live in freedom is very hard to kill.
Wearing a black armband will show that your desire to live in peace and freedom has not been killed, even if they have killed the Constitution.
In solidarity, Chief

No comments: