Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fijian Native Lands

Subject: Fijian Native Lands

Sai Lealea - Unpublished letter to Fiji Times - 28 May 2007

Fijians may just wish to ponder on why the issue around the possible alienation of Fijian native lands is being raised now by Dr Sahu Khan and others.

I invite them to examine the intentions of people like him and why now and not any other time. After all it should be nakedly obvious how Fijians regard as
sacrosanct the issue of native lands, let alone the potential for it to be opened up for exploitation by others.

It is also clear that the likes of Dr Sahu Khan would not be raising such a topic unless they perceive that the timing for it is right and that it would receive
sympathetic hearing from those in authority. Fijians in the current regime have better decide if they want to be party to that form of deception and exploitation.

Dr Sahu Khan can put all the legalities and rationality around his intention as he may regard land merely as a resource and commodity. However, he must
remember that when it comes to land for Fijians, rationality has only a minor place as we are dealing with issues intimately connected to a peoples' values
and what defines them and their existence.

Any credible government must be alert to this reality because as the global environment force nations to look internally to deal with all the various crises,
there will be a tendency to seek refuge and affirmation in one's own insitutional practices, culture and values. Fijians are engaging in precisely this and that is why they will come out of the current crisis in Fiji and the trampling of their institutions by the current regime much stronger and affirmed as a people.

For the future, this resurgence will result in them challenging the state and its intentions and meting out retaliations to others who they regard as traitors
to the cause and collaborators in downgrading their status as indigenous peoples.

However, the alternative as seen in smarter nations, is to embrace and support indigenous peoples as the focal point and focus for forging unity and common
identity. When Fijians do well, Fiji as a nation, flourishes and has a proud sense of purpose. To achieve this, it is critical that the economic development of Fijians is accelerated and with them leading the journey and offering partnership with others. Regretably, the current regime and its supporters, even worse those Fijians in the regime, are leap years away from ever doing such a thing.

Sai Lealea

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