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Fiji’s nationalists blasted over terrorism threat

Fiji’s nationalists blasted over 'terrorism threat'

Date -- 31 January 2001
USP Pacific Journalism Online:
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SUVA (Pasifik Nius): The Fiji Sun today condemned Fijiian indigenous
nationalists seeking a "selfish and narrow agenda" with the threat of
terrorism such as experienced during last year's coup crisis.

Responding to a Close-Up current affairs programme on Fiji Television
last Sunday, the newspaper singled out a nationalist leader, Esira
Rabuno, for strong criticism in an editorial, saying people like him had
an "awesome responsibility in working for peace and justice - truth - in
this country".

Some nationalist leaders have recently warned that the country would be
plunged back into violence and upheaval if the Court of Appeal next
month upholds a High Court ruling that the 1997 multiracial constitution
is still the supreme law and the interim regime installed by the
military after the May 19 coup is illegal.

The newspaper said most ordinary people of Fiji wanted to bring back

"They want to see their children attend school without disruptions. They
want to see that their jobs are secure so that the money they earn will
ensure that there will be food on the table for their families," the
Fiji Sun said.

"They want to lead normal lives that are not disputed by curfews and the
threat of terrorism like we experienced with [coup leader] George
Speight's crowd. No thanks. They've had enough of that."

This was the desire of the majority of the people, the newspaper said.

"But there is a segment which wants to stabilise and keep destabilising
this place until they achieve their narrow aims.

"These are the people personified by Esira Rabuno who appeared on TV's
Close-up last Sunday and espoused a selfish and narrow agenda," the Fiji
Sun said.

"People like Rabuno cry bogey when there is nothing to be afraid of. One
would have thought that an academic like him would point out the
security of Fijian rights - everybody's rights for that matter - within
the 1997 framework.

"But no. He appeared to be the standard bearer of people with narrow

"Ratu Meli Vesikula and Filipe Bole (who appeared with him in that TV
panel) have said the 1997 constitution protects the rights of all -
Fijians and non-Fijians.

"They also rightfully expressed that it is the duty of people like
Rabuno to point out the truth and the ways of peace to the indigenous
masses and not to use their influence to cry wolf when there is no wolf
and unnecessarily cause concern and instability."



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