28 months into Bainimarama’s illegal regime, the people of Fiji remain in want of a leadership figure to give focus to our frustration with the status quo, and guide us in venting that frustration into a positive outcome. Nelson Mandela showed the South African population just how far he was willing to go to walk the walk for enduring peace. Mahatma Gandhi both told and showed India and the world that true power is achieved only through non-violence. Winston Churchill harnessed British pluck and community spirit to bring his people through ‘their finest hour’.
I fear that, without a leader who is willing to raise his or her head above the fray, without a leader who is willing to speak to us and for us, the very real frustration that people are feeling at the way we are being governed will boil over into chaos and, inevitably, death. We need organised rebellion against this regime. The closest we have so far is the excellent Solivakasama Worldwide Movement which collected $10,000 for the Flood Appeal, which helped get Vilisi Nadaku in touch with the heroic Jon Apted, and out of custody. But we need more.
We need a leader with a plan to get us back to elections. We need a leader who will speak at rallies, to Villages, to the Chiefs, to the people. We need someone we are prepared to stand behind, to march with, to rebel with.
In a worst case scenario (not that we aren’t already IN a worst case scenario), if rebellion were to break out WITHOUT such a leader, history tells us that we can expect rioting, more military crackdowns, further flourishing of organised crime, outbreaks of chaos and civil unrest – basically a path to civil war.
Our best solution is a path back to free and fresh elections (and decisive punishments for this regime). We need a leader who can harness our inevitable rebellion to turn our restlessness into a positive, peaceful, non-violent march towards change and democracy. Attar Singh, Kenneth Zinck, Mick Beddoes and others employ an admirable use of public jibes to keep the regime on the back foot. Sharon Rolls Bhagwan, the Fiji Women’s Rights ladies and the women’s movement make excellent ambassadors for peace. Lord bless our media for the vital part they play as our last bastion for democracy. But each of these is not enough.
I hope you will forgive my presumptuousness, but PM Qarase and Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi – we need you to lead. The nation NEEDS you. The alternative, without your leadership, is too grim to bear.
God bless Fiji