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Tongan Prominent Leader Damns Fijian Coup

PRESS RELEASE 26 May 200

Tongan Prominent Leader Damns Fijian Government Overthrown

A prominent leader of the Tongan community in Auckland, Chairperson of the Alliance Mangere Branch and a strong advocate for Democracy in Tonga, Finau Kolo, has condemned the action of Mr George Speight and the Fijian armed men who overthrow the democratically elected Government in Fiji as cowardice and barbaric.

"I am not at all surprise that all of the political leaders of the Pacific Islands are deliberately silent on the conflict in Fiji, said Mr Kolo." Mr Kolo said that the main reason for the silence is that there is a widespread feeling in the Pacific Islands that the plight of Fijians in Fiji could have been theirs in their own country. Although this is a misplace belief, the feeling is very strong and is very real for them. Mr Kolo challenges and calls on the Pacific leaders to publicly denounce the event in Fiji in the last seven days and withdrawn support for the coup.

Mr Kolo said that there is a groundswell of popular support for nationalist and indigenous rule throughout the entire region. This new consciousness has been psychologically built in natives for decades and strengthened by indigenous peoples' experiences throughout the neo-colonial world, said Mr Kolo.

The indigenous Fijians (and those around the world) had very bad experiences with colonialism. This had caused deep-seated mistrust between indigenous Fijians and foreign institutions imposed on them. Such mistrust and unfounded fear has lead to violent overthrow of the Government in Fiji, said Mr Kolo.

Mr Kolo said that the race issue plays only a minor part in the conflict in Fiji but is being misrepresented and overplayed by the media and by European analysts. Mr Kolo warns that the situation in Fiji might escalate and uncontrollable if foreign nations are not treating carefully in their relationship with Fiji. Fiji, like most of the South Pacific Islands nations are very passive, unlike terrorised nations in Europe, Africa, Asia, Middle East and South America, where bloodshed always occur when there is a armed overthrown of governments. There is certainly no need for any foreign military intervention in Fiji as it will effectively help the causes of the uncivilised-armed men and make them heroes.

The root of the problem is quite complex with a mixture of class, ethnicity, traditions and modernity factors. Mr Kolo said that the Fijians' perception is that they are about to lose everything in their country. Land ownership, which is at the centre of the dispute, is seen by the Fijians is all they have left to hang onto.

There is certainly a conflict and power struggle between the old and new indigenous order, said Mr Kolo, but this is secondary to ownership of the nation. This is the only common ground of the old and new order. The difficulty and uncertainty of the event in Fiji for the world to understand is definitely due to the complexity of working through an acceptable and agreeable mean by both orders to resolve the conflict in a way to achieve the same end. That is indigenous ownership of control of the entire nation. This is something to the amazement of the outside world, said Mr Kolo

END

Contact: Finau Kolo
Tel: 09 275 7372
Fax: 09 275 7372
e-mail: fkolo@ihug.co.nz

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