Home » Uncategorized » “Race is a fact of life, and it is very difficult to reconcile our differences,”

“Race is a fact of life, and it is very difficult to reconcile our differences,”

Fiji TV station faces inquiry

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 12:30 03/04/2014

A Fiji television station is under investigation after broadcasting a story about indigenous dissent toward the military regime.

The comments by ratu or chief Timoci Vesikula hinted that Fiji’s supposedly dormant racial tensions remain a potent force.

“Race is a fact of life, and it is very difficult to reconcile our differences,” Vesikula told military leader Frank Bainimarama in a meeting aired by Fiji TV and now under investigation after the regime complained.

Ever since staging his 2006 coup, Bainimarama has claimed to have taken race – an element in all four of its coups – out of Fiji politics.

But Vesikula, who was a democratically elected politician, said it was indigenous Fijians who made the country.

Of Fiji’s 837,000 people, 37 per cent are Indians and 56 per cent indigenous, who are now officially known as “i-Taukei”.

Bainimarama has called for democracy-restoring elections in September.

He yesterday met Vesikula and the chiefs of the Tailevu area, traditionally restive and pro-indigenous nationalists.

“There are a few issues that we need to remind you of since you’re from Tailevu,” Vesikula told Bainimarama in an address translated by Fiji TV.

“We will be frank with you in the hope that you will take extra precautions.”

Using indigenous phrases, he told Bainimarama his power base was with the indigenous.

“You have the i-Taukei support for the general elections but do not be mistaken that other communities will support you.”

Bainimarama scrapped education scholarships for i-Taukei-only students, providing instead a non-racial version.

Vesikula denounced this, asking Bainimarama what he was doing and saying that while Fijians were not allowed to be called that any more, what exactly did “i-Taukei” now own.

“You have taken the scholarships away. I want to ask you, what will you be keeping for us?”

Vesikula said there were sections of people – he used a slang term in Fijian that implied Indian – who were simply appeasing Bainimarama to obtain business opportunities.

In a statement, Fiji TV said the military regime’s Media Industry Development Authority (Mida) was investigating the report after Ministry of Information secretary Sharon Smith-Johns claimed it breached the regime’s Media Decree Code of Ethics.

Other Fiji media barely reported the confrontation, with the pro-regime Fiji Sun quoting Bainimarama as saying: “I’m really touched with the support of the Tailevu province for me as I prepare for the September 17 elections.”

Mida, which was set up by military decree, controls media coverage.

 

It ruled last month that three foreign journalists from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Television New Zealand and Fairfax Media, would remain banned from the country.

 

– © Fairfax NZ News

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10 thoughts on ““Race is a fact of life, and it is very difficult to reconcile our differences,”

  1. True democracy allows such exchange to be reported. Unfortunately not in Papa Pig’s Animal Farm style democracy.

  2. So what really is the offence? bai getting told off by someone who had the guts to tell him in his face? To me that was real good news coverage and showed different sides of the story and opinion of the people. But if Fiji TV will face inquiry then freedom of the press has not yet been restored. I did like the news item and Rt Vesikulas presentation but when he turned and said he supported the regime thats when I found it silly.

  3. The problem with the TV news was that it gave one side of the story and did not show PM’s response.

    It is important that not only that be given to FB, but all political parties.

    But like the post above, RT vesikula made a fool of himself by contradicting himself.

    This is the same guy who ask LQ to resign from FDB but LQ stood firm

  4. @ jone

    I agree with your comment, though what is the bet that Frank’s response was to just ignore it? For all his pretty talk and speeches written by Aiyaz, he has no concept of criticism, debate or democracy – otherwise we would not be where we are today.

  5. Jone and Radio

    DISAGREE with you both re Qarase, he had it coming for a long time and should hve stepped down before dragging the country down with him. Little wonder he decided to withdraw his Supreme Court challenge recently. Why does it take so-called leaders like him tolearn their lessons afoot frm the grave?!

  6. Offense is you are being racist , TImoci was alway racist and the truth was not held back. Simply he has been on going since 1987. Those born in the 1980s have no idea what Fijis multiracial people have gone through. Where in Fiji,s history land has been compromised or loss of Identity.so many fingers point at yourself . You think other races who are born here were asked to be born in a country of racists ? The native Fijians were never at risk , it’s all about greedy and power of the government that exploits common people,s thinking and make them hate another bunch of people. Racism is inherited not born with. Those for are born in the 1980 should read the history and reflect where you wish to go. Stop being directed like sheep. The world is moving at high speed , Fijian people still dwell on the past and live on past because they cannot accept change. Change for the better. Tell me where is the honest politician ? Who has not stolen from the people of Fiji. Think before you open you decaying loud mouth TImoci. You live in the past , stay there let Fiji move forward.

  7. Born Fiji
    Typical recent arrival point of view.
    Let the indigenous formulate their views and respect that or if it impinges on others the dialogue needed. BF you’re a fool whose views perpetuate conflict.

  8. The exchange carries a certain degree of racial overtones or more correctly stereo typing but nothing close to hate speech or inciting racial violence as alleged.

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