Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Who Cares what the Commonwealth Thinks?

In all the comment on Fiji by politicians and the media, I have not heard one workable suggestion to show how Fiji might reach a solution to this crisis, without bloodshed.

It is all very well to insist that the constitution be upheld, that George Speight and his controllers are criminals and terrorists and must be punished, that democracy must be upheld, and that the Bose Levu Vakaturaga must not give in to the hostage takers. It's all very well to threaten ex-communication from the Commonwealth. But what can be done, I ask you, without bloodshed?

Our politicians and media are mostly being driven by their passion and emotional revulsion about the event eight days ago, and are not at all realistic about a workable solution for Fiji today, that Fiji can live with. Vocal European bystanders may be able to live with bloodshed, as long as the solution satisfies their tender sensibilities and principles. Fiji cannot. Let us hope that they do not have to.

None of us condone what was done, and few of us will be satisfied with the outcome. Major General Sitiveni Rabuka has indicated that he is of the same opinion, and is not happy that the chiefs are being blackmailed. Yet regardless of the rights and wrongs, and regardless of what we think, it is General Rabuka and Ratu Mara and the Bose Levu Vakaturanga who must craft a way forward, that Fiji can live with for the moment, no matter how imperfect.

I listened to New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Phil Goff, on TV last night. The thing I noticed is that this crisis has gone on long enough for him to move his stance from outraged knee-jerk to outraged rationalisation, based on convenient principle. He doesn't have to live in Fiji with the consequences of his principles.

In talking about international condemnation last night Goff cited a list of countries that have engaged in this condemnation. It is no coincidence that his list was all white.

In 1987 a Labour government found strong resistence to Australia and New Zealand's attempts to force the non-white South Pacific nations to openly condemn Fiji. Our politicians seemed impervious to the resentment Australia and New Zealand generated throughout the Pacific in 1987, with their overbearing insistence on the European Way. They're doing it again. The only reason Pacific nations put up with Australia and New Zealand in the South Pacific Forum is that they are heavily reliant on financial aid from those two countries.

The unfailing politeness of Pacific peoples towards guests and hosts alike is totally misinterpreted by Australia and New Zealand Europeans as unconditional friendliness, compliance and agreement.

The lack of enthusiasm, even abhorrence, for loud public condemnation of neighbours is often misinterpreted as endorsement, and sometimes as apathy. It is in fact the preferred non-response of Pacific cultures, which value sympathetic understanding, and the preservation of relationships, above the Anglo-European need to express opinions and outrage. In international relationships and diplomacy it is usually only the white countries that jump up and down. They need to learn that their way is not the only way, and not even the predominant way, albeit the loudest.

Did you notice that most African countries did not leap into the international media to condemn Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe? Just the white countries of the Commonwealth.

Britain, Australia and New Zealand, and sometimes Canada, use the Commonwealth to legitimise their own foreign policy attitudes, without any understanding of what the non-white countries in the Commonwealth really think. Once again a lack of strong response from non-white countries does not signify agreement.

The treat of expulsion from the Commonwealth seems to be the main sanction being considered by Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the Commonwealth Secretariat, led by New Zealander Don McKinnon.

Expulsion should be welcomed by Fiji, for the sooner this vestige of British colonialism disappears the better. The structures have changed since the days of the British Empire, but the colonial attitudes have not.

Article available at

Heoi ano, na Ross Nepia Himona Editor Te Karere Ipurangi - Maori News Online http://go.to/karere Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Abortion Law Reform (And The US Electoral College)

Abortion is such a polarising issue that politicians commonly avoid it like the plague. Co-incidentally though, New Zealand and New South Wales are both trying to reform their abortion laws right now, at exactly the same time – and in our case, that reform is happening for the first time in 42 years.
This week at Parliament, a special select committee began taking public submissions on the legislation being proposed. More>>

 

Climate Change: Adaptation And Risk Assessment Framework Released

“We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate such as coastal inundation and increasingly frequent and severe droughts, floods, fires and storms. This framework is an acknowledgement that we must start adapting”, James Shaw said today. More>>

ALSO:

Ihumātao: Mana Whenua Reach Decision On Land

Māori King Tūheitia says mana whenua have finally reached consensus over what to do with Ihumātao - they want it back. More>>

ALSO:

PM To Japan, New York: Ardern To Meet Trump During UN Trip

“I’m looking forward to discussing a wide range of international and regional issues with President Trump, including our cooperation in the Pacific and the trade relationship between our countries." More>>

PM's Post-Cab: "A Way Forward"

At Monday's post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a number of actions in response to the Labour Party's mishandling of sexual assault complaints. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Allegations Of Left Wing Media Bias

“Left wing bias” accusations date back at least to the mid 1990s... The charge of left wing bias was ridiculous then, and is ridiculous now. More>>

Next Wave Of Reforms: Gun Registration And Licensing Changes Announced

“The Bill includes a register to track firearms and new offences and penalties that can be applied extraterritorially for illegal manufacture, trafficking, and for falsifying, removing, or altering markings – which are a new requirement under the Firearms Protocol.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Mishandling Of The Alleged Sexual Assault

The focus of Labour’s alleged sexual assault scandal has now shifted from the party organisation to the Beehive... This is now a crisis of Beehive management and response, not something occurring at a distance within the party organisation. More>>

ALSO:

'History Rectified': Rua Kēnana To Be Pardoned

An official pardon for Tūhoe prophet and leader Rua Kēnana is one step closer after the Te Pire kia Unuhia te Hara kai Runga i a Rua Kēnana: Rua Kēnana Pardon Bill was read in Parliament for the first time today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels