Trouble in Paradise

Ethnically diverse groups of Fijian residents are a concern for social justice activists, following reports of foreign journalists being expelled and censorship of local news in the Fiji Times, after the latest round of crackdowns by coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama. Social networking website sotiacentral.com was taken off the net, and while Fiji residents are still able to use MSN to contact relatives outside Fiji, communication is difficult.

Property and business owners in the main islands, who are not ethnically Melanesian Fijians, may be the next target for Bainimarama’s high-handed tactics. Questions should be asked about how New Zealand will support non-melanesian Fijian citizens, and ex-patriate residents, should the worst possible outcome happen. This is not even counting the possibilities of harm to any foreign tourists currently holidaying in the ‘Pacific Island paradise’.

Today’s Dominion Post editorial says what many have thought, but not voiced in the past four months since the coup – that Bainimarama has styled himself on Robert Mugabe, the arch-totalitarian of Zimbabwe, known now as a genocidal megalomaniac. Our New Zealand Defense Forces, who trained the Fiji Army leaders at Burnham Military Camp, must now take stock of what their protégée’s have done with the skills and tactics so learned.