Sunday, May 10, 2009

Baledrokadroka Rally Speech in Sydney

May 12, 2009 by Free Fiji
Sat 9 May 2009, Marickville Town Hall,Sydney
Jone Baledrokadroka Speech.

Good evening, Ni sa bula, Namaskaram, I would like to begin my speech by citing the Australian values as contained in the Life in Australia booklet and before I give you a quick review of the political and security situation in our beloved Fiji . What underscore Australian societies are the shared values most of you as former citizens of Fiji are now cherishing and proudly profess, that of:
-Respect of the freedom and dignity of the individual
-Commitment to the rule of law
-Parliamentary democracy
-Equality of men and women
-A spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance , fair play and compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good- the good old Aussie “fair go”
-Equality of opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background and last but not the least
-Freedom of religion.

Now the Fiji Situation as of Friday 8 May 2009 is:
-PER 30 day extension- with suspects held of up to 7days in police custody before taken to a court that has lost all semblance of independence and neutrality.
-Heavy press censorship is still on of all media outlets, thus truth has become the main casualty.
-Release of convicted soldiers of Rabaka and Verebasaga case on CSO and cause for alarm from inside and outside prison as to its selective use.
-No judges yet appointed to high and supreme courts and so even the charade of justice has come to a halt.
-Termination of over 2000 over 55 year’s civil servants. FNPF has severely restricted many applicants withdrawal of their pension fund.
-Surfacing of Col Tuatoko and others statement of Commodore Bainimarama’s attempted treason back in December of 2003.
-Rumours of another 10% dollar devalue.

So in essence ladies and gentleman the rally that we are all attending here tonight if it was held in Fiji would definitely be labeled illegal and according to the new legal order in place my speech would be inciteful. Since our inaugural meeting at Yagoona, the FDFM has grown in numbers and publicity. The acting President (Pita Waqateirewa) has put out an open letter to Commodore Bainimarama which has been replied to somewhat angrily and incoherently – a sure recognition of fear for the movement and its principles.

The goal of this movement is the immediate restoration of democracy and freedom in Fiji under the 1997 constitution as upheld by the Fiji Court of Appeal judgement of 09 April 2009. The FDFM only reiterates what the Pacific Island Forum, United Nations, the Commonwealth and The European Union are appealing for- the electoral return of constitutional government from the rule of the power of the gun. There is no justification for the coup culture besetting Fiji, be it ethno-nationalism, anti-corruption, electoral reforms or the latest mantra of racism or even what Bainimarama calls “the coup to end all coups” in the name of good governance. For most of us who are indigenous Fijians here tonight given the coups of the past , I’d like to echo the words of former Fiji Law Society President ,Graham Leung, “ If the racial supremacists in Fiji are now converts, let it be the Damascus experience of Saint Paul and not the ambivalence of Hamlet. Fiji’s latest coup should be seen for what it is—a naked grab for power”. For those of us who are indo- Fijians and have been victims of previous coups and many of you may have left Fiji disenchanted.

I appeal to you that this is not the time for resigned indifference for Fiji and the FDFM needs your active and progressive minds and voices. I therefore urge you in the words of Mahatma Gandhi who in the times of great national turmoil before Indian Independence said, ‘hate the sin but love the sinner’. Indeed we say to the dictatorial regime in Fiji it is an illusion to go against international and regional outcry such as being mounted here tonight. Fiji is badly hurting economically but more so socially as the majority of our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters in Fiji try to hobble out a living in a stagnant and (some harsher critics would describe as) a crumbling society, just as we gather here tonight.

To those of you who openly prop up the dictatorship, history is not on your side for political legitimacy must be earned by those who govern. To quote John Clark in his paper The Decline of the African Military Coup’ (2007), ‘in most cases the military rulers (in their misguided adventurism) turned out to be at least as or even more corrupt and authoritarian as the civilians whom they replaced’. Indeed the cruel hoax of nepotism, cronyism and clientelism that were the very raison d’être for the coup of 2006 have been committed with impunity by this clean up regime now caught in a political legitimacy dilemma the scourge of all military adventurism.

For like Rabuka before him Bainimarama is riding the tiger as the officers and men know that the only way to maintain there privileged position is to stick together. The core reason for this is not insubstantial for these unrepresentative regime leaders and there followers have one thing in common: the fear of the masses. That is why our rally tonight is so important for the restoration of democracy in Fiji for it puts fear in the regime and courage in the oppressed masses back home. Tonight in fact this instance this rally will be on the internet and various other media outlets. We call on the regime to stop fooling itself and heed the outcry and demand of the people of Fiji for democracy. If it wants to eradicate racism than practice what you preach by balancing the military’s ethnic composition first. And stop shoving your brand of religion down indo-Fijian serviceperson’s throats as in the police force.

Further more it is a fallacy for the regime to carry on with the propaganda of China and India coming to rescue Fiji financially especially in its ill conceived People’s Charter design. In a world that is interconnected in every sense and in grave economic recession, these global actors have much more going regionally to risk its relationships with an unstable and increasingly isolated pariah state.

As for us here tonight what is of utter importance is our ability in this land of freedom- Australia, to keep the pressure on Fiji’s dictatorial regime’s lack of international ,regional and local legitimacy, that is to say, their lack of a moral title to rule and the right to govern. Hence its moral inadequacy hampers it still further, by denying it the civilian collaboration it must secure through draconian methods now in place. To quote Samuel Finer ‘The rule of force alone or the threat of such force is inadequate; in addition governments must possess authority. It must be widely recognized not only as the government but as the lawful, the rightful government’1.
We rally here tonight to question that authority on behalf of those that cannot question. We rally here tonight to question on behalf of those who cannot question what is illegal and unconstitutional. We rally here tonight for our beloved birthplace and what many of us still refer to as My Fiji.

So with the protest march that is being organized, I urge each and everyone of you to stand-up, spread the word and be counted for what you profess as enshrined in your Australian Values and which your brothers and Sisters in Fiji do not enjoy under the military regime.

Vinaka Vakalevu Dani bhat and God bless Fiji.
JRB

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