"This is typical of their executive who have used and abused Ro Teimumu Kepa, despite the fact that without her almost half their members in Parliament would not have a seat."
Perhaps the most momentous development in race relations between the itaukei and Fiji Indian community in our lifetime has just taken place in Noco, Rewa. Yet it has not been given the coverage by our media that is warranted when something of this significance happens. To give credit to the Fiji Times their reportage and analysis of it leads the field. More power to them.
The Rewa clans have taken to their hearts the descendants of the victims of the tragic wrecking of the Syria all those long years ago on Naselai Reef. The ship was filled with passengers from India who had signed up to be indentured labourers on Fiji’s sugar plantations. On a dark night of cruel seas the Syria went aground with the loss of many lives. At great risk to themselves the indigenous people from nearby Noco valiantly did what they could to save terrified victims.
Now, under the leadership of Ratu Isoa Damudamu, the Chief of Noco, and his people, and their paramount Chief Ro Teimumu Vuikaba Kepa, na Marama na Roko Tui Dreketi, the vanua of Rewa has solemnly sealed a pact that makes the relatives of the survivors officially part of the province. They are kai Rewa forever; brothers and sisters and children of this place in Fiji. They are one with the tribes, never to be parted.
The magnitude of this encompasses many virtues such as courage and nobility; a deep level of generosity, caring and humanity as well as kindness, grace and mutual respect. In the words of the Marama, it also represents in a pure form the Christian ethic of loving your neighbor. For our country it is an unprecedented act of unity, multi-racial togetherness and hope for the future, not just for Rewa, but for Fiji.
The embracing of the girmitya and everything it means is worthy of every citizen’s support and respect. All honour should go to the Tui Noco Ratu Isoa Damudamu and his people, as well as to Ro Teimumu who has continued to show great leadership especially separating her political responsibilities from that of her traditional obligations.
Attempts by some in SODELPA to try to take some credit for this great example of statesmanlike leadership by the Vanua of Rewa is disgusting and deplorable. But this is typical of their executive who have used and abused Ro Teimumu Kepa, despite the fact that without her almost half their members in Parliament would not have a seat.
A further observation: I understand the PM was invited to be present at the Rewa ceremony. But he was overseas. Yet he did not bother to send a representative. And what have the coup perpetrators got to say about this? After all part of the justification for committing their capital crimes is the supposed deteriorating race relations. Yet they have nothing to say!
Neither it seems has Fiji ’First’s Geneva rep Nazhat Shameem had anything to say, yet not so long ago she reported to the UN Human Rights Commission that quote
‘it must be noted that racism was institutionalized in Fiji to such an extent that it instilled in a privileged class, a sense of entitlement based on ethnicity and class, and that racist attitudes were ingrained in all communities, which have resulted in mistrust, resentment and suspicion." "Racism in Fiji is often disguised by assertions that a community’s own cultural identity is being submerged under the blanket of national unity. Unquote
Fiji First’s Human Rights Commissioner and Chair of MIDA and Shameem’s loyal defender Ashwin Raj who speaks in terms and with words that the average ‘Joe’ can’t understand, whenever he defends the Government and its official’s racist’s remarks and gestures. Also has nothing to say about this? Their collective silence is deafening!
These so called advocates for better race relations just ‘talk’ about it.
The Tui Noco, Ratu Isoa Damudamu, his people and their Paramount Chief Ro Teimumu Kepa, have done something unprecedented about it.