Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fiji Coup

The military commander of Fiji has announced he has taken over control of the country.

Cmdr Frank Bainimarama said in a televised address he had assumed executive powers and dismissed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

Interesting one, this.

The BBC's Phil Mercer in Suva says the military's action is certain to provoke widespread international condemnation.

Dunno. As I understand it, the Commander objects to the planned amnesty for the 2000 coup plotters. After all, they might have killed him - as an officer who stayed loyal to the elected government.

In 1987 a coup by indigenous Fijians overthrew the elected, Indian-dominated coalition. This triggered a series of adverse events, including the introduction - and subsequent withdrawal - of a constitution enshrining indigenous Fijian political supremacy.

A further coup in 2000, led by businessman George Speight, saw the country's first ethnic Indian prime minister, his cabinet and several MPs held hostage for several weeks.

He stayed loyal to the democratically elected government in 2000 - now he's overthrowing the democratically elected government in 2006.

Rancour over the 2000 coup persists, with bitter divisions over proposals to amnesty those behind it.

Fiji's population, which resides mostly on the two main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, is divided almost equally between indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians, the descendents of indentured labourers brought from India.

Mixing between the two groups is minimal, and informal segregation runs deep at almost every level of society.

Strangely the Fijians don't seem at ease in their multicultural island paradise. Must be something wrong with them. Either that or the island should be a warning to the UK, and particularly England, where at current levels of demographic change natives will be a minority by the century's end.

(Doubtless Mark Holland will soon have further updates.)


Anonymous said...

He does but he's almost run out things to say the build ups been going on so long.

think Laban calls it right. Anyone coming upon the story for the first time right now is going to automatically assume that Bainimarama is the bad guy and the deposed PM is the good guy here. And that just isn't the case. (Which just goes to show that there's an awful lot of nuance to these sort of situations, Thailand earlier this year, Ukraine last year, and that anyone rushing to judgement with barely any background information can hardly know which is the "right" side to support. Sure there are good rules of thumb but they're only guides.)

Anonymous said...

If we brought our troops back from Iraq maybe they could liberate us and restore democracy here ?

Anonymous said...

As we all know the British Empire is the worst thing that ever happened, ever. Two definite mistakes of the empire were the importation of Indians into Fiji and Tamils into Ceylon. However as that made these places into multicultural countries thats a good thing right? Can any liberals explain the paradox.

dearieme said...

Nice one, anon.

Ross said...

"Two definite mistakes of the empire were the importation of Indians into Fiji and Tamils into Ceylon."

It's a myth that Britain is responsible for the presence of Tamils in Ceylon, they've been there for around a thousand years.

Britain did import some Tamils from India but their descendents have mostly returned to India. The Tamils that remain are those whose ancestors long predate British rule on the island.