Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fiji Coup Rumours

By Michael Field -25 September 2010 

By phone and email, the story this week was same; big things were happening in Fiji.

Assorted souls had been arrested, military forces were splitting and re-aligning and a new coup was underway.

A sample message:

Fri, 24 Sept 2010 12:25:08

Praise the Lord!

Time for change in Fiji has come.... wait and watch these two days ... new leadership is coming with the road to election being mapped out in 2012 with Australia and New Zealand. Coup soldier

The roadmap has being drawn by Teleni and Driti and tevita as they will raise to the peoples voice because its time that GOD has sent his mighty sword to clean Fiji and take us to a new set of team to move this country forward.

This will be an admistrative takeover , with peace in place and we will see some people being moved :

1. PM

2. AG

3. Solictor General

4. Commissioner of Police

5. Commander Navy

6. Reserve Bank Governor

In fact, the only thing big in Fiji in the last week was the surf at Cloudbreak where, thanks to the military regime's Surfing Decree, anybody could surf for free. Fiji was benefiting from a powerful storm south of New Zealand, sending the kind of long fetch swell that surfers usually only ever dream of.

Earlier in the week the metrological gloom over New Zealand had been relieved by this widely circulated email:

Hello everyone .... been holding off on reporting this one- BUT this was leaked on Friday night just past ... from the lips of Poseci Bune himself (half-brother of Roko Ului Mara) at the QVS club ....that Bainimarama and Aias Khaiyum were placed under house-arrest ... (bodyguards were changed and new "bodyguards" now minders of that other kind).

Driti apparently is the one now in charge .... we dont know what part Ului has played , but we suspect that either he is out of the picture altogether, or he has actively conspired with Driti to get Bainimarama out of the way because of the way he was treated (Ului's personality is such that after being "sent on leave" for having an affair with Serevi's wife, he would have been seething, and would not have taken this "insult" lying down).

In conjunction, we have found out that Driti has been talking lots to Rev Lasaro, that rogue Methodist Minister, so perhaps if we can put 2 and 2 together, Lasaro has prob threatened the army with the masses - something he was able to do in previous coups. Will let you know what else if anything transpires.

This one proved easy to dismiss; the so-called arrestees were seen next day at some cocktail event at the Holiday Inn.

Fiji rumours are not new. It may come as a surprise in Fiji that rumours themselves are not new at all, and nor were they invented in Fiji. They way some media commentators now rabbit on, one would believe that Fiji is unique in the world of rumour.

In fact, rumour is the hallmark and trading fare of just about any totalitarian country you care to name.

Censor, suppress and threaten are vital ingredients to the creation of rumour. The more censorship and the more suppression, the more enduring a rumour will be.

In civilised, democratic and free countries rumour also exist, but they have a half-life off around the length of time it takes a journalist to call a relevant source. In other words, in a transparent and open society, rumour quickly melts away in the warmth of free information.

Many of Fiji's rumours could so quickly and easily be debunked were it an open society. Take the one that Bainimarama was under arrest. The idiots at MinFo do not need to in anyway directly respond to the rumour, but hey, a picture and a press release of the military strongman kissing babies at a kindergarten and the rumour would be over and gone.

Instead we have military camp followers whining that they are being destabilised by the rumours. Some claim - with a touch of hyperbole - that the rumours "can be dangerous and fuel racial tensions".

Perhaps, but the antidote to that came from Jesus Christ (albeit he is now out of fashion in the Fiji military): "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32.

Some how I doubt that it was ever the Apostle's view that an Australian agent working in MinFo in Fiji was ever going to define the truth that will set us all free: spin, not truth, is Sharon Smith-John's business.

While noting fairy tales, another one is worth pointing to, at least in respect of those touting rumours: the boy who cried wolf.

Having been around the traps awhile, I've heard a decent set of Fiji coup rumours. Soon after Labour won in 1987, there were rumours of a coup. Certainly in 1999 again. The rumours (or at least half the rumours) were right; coups did come although not quite in the form spelt out.

In 2005/06 one of the biggest coup rumour-mongers was Ryaz Sayed-Khiyum, brother of the commodore's Baggage Wallah. It was, as we now know, not rumour-mongering, but actual plotting. It mattered little though because Voreqe Bainimarama, in those days, believed in openness and transparency.

He said he was staging a coup - and he did.

This week, the same week the Fiji Times was sold to Fijian interests to comply with the Media Decree, the regime extended its martial law for another three months, and its associated censorship.

Plainly, the regime has lied again; they said once the media decree was in place and the rules complied with, censorship would end.

Well, no it did not.

And so we can be assured that the rumours were take flight again.

The intriguing thing is this; one of the rumours one day will be right.

Footnote: Bainimarama has shown up at the United Nations headquarters in Fiji. Fiji Broadcasting, with its military backing, has announced that Bainimarama "is looking forward to engaging with friends who are open and truly committed to working with Fiji as the country moves forward to 2014". What a creepy little country Fiji has become now; it leans on its friends for what it gets out of them - take take take - but never gives.

Tonga is raising money - unasked - to help the earthquake damaged people of Christchurch.

The people of Fiji - who ask for and get constant New Zealand help in cyclones - have not even made a token gesture.

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