brad brace contemporary culture scrapbook

August 1, 2014

Fiji’s Military Dictator Announces Democratic Elections

Filed under: corruption,fiji,government,human rights,military,tourism — admin @ 4:54 am

Fiji has been under the control of a military dictator since Rear Admiral Bainimarma seized power during a military coup in 2006. The island nation of Fiji has had a troubled political past with four military coups in the past decade. The international community has since put pressure on Fiji in order to push it toward democracy. Fiji is heavily reliant on tourism as a source of income and a stimulus for their economy. Both Australia and New Zealand introduced travel bans on Fiji in order to motivate political change in the country. The United Kingdom suspended Fiji’s Commonwealth Status, denying it the benefits of association with Great Britain.

In March Bainimarma announced that he would be stepping down as dictator and stating that he will run for re-election as a civilian and a member of Fiji’s ‘First Party’, which he now supports. Bainimarma claims that his coup in 2006 was necessary to ensure the restoration of democracy and to purge the rampant corruption that plagued the previous Fijian government. He says that he now looks to implement his plan for a better Fiji by holding open elections. In the wake of these statements the international community has reacted positively, praising Bainamarma for his decision. The government’s of Australia and New Zealand have lifted the travel bans on the island nation. The United Kingdom has also said they will reinstate commonwealth status if elections are successful.

However, there are still many issues with the upcoming elections, while Bainimarma announces they will be free and democratic there are some troubling events that have happened behind the scenes. Fiji has a history of restraining human rights and free speech; after recent constitutional change the military government heavily restricted these freedoms. There were incidents last year where protesters protesting the new constitution were arrested for failure to have a permit. There are many other stories of the regime arresting human rights defenders, journalists and trade union leaders. Critics in the press are skeptical of the upcoming elections and say that Bainimarma’s actions have no real teeth and will not effect change.

Despite the many instances of limiting the freedoms of the Fijian people, Bainimarma is extremely popular amongst the voters. He has implemented policies such as free education, free transportation for children and price controls on staple foods, all of which have made the military leader popular amongst the lower socioeconomic classes. In addition to these policies he has greatly improved the infrastructure of the islands making him popular amongst the rural population as well. It remains to be seen whether the elections will affect change in Fiji but Bainimarma has stated his intentions, his campaign is popular and the election in September will show whether he is sincere or not.

June 27, 2014

Fiji Asks For Help to Fight the Affects of Climate Change in the Pacific

Filed under: climate change,fiji — admin @ 2:40 pm

The Government of the island nation of Fiji is accusing the international community, pointing mainly at Australia, of being selfish in regards to climate change policy. Fiji, like many other pacific nations is suffering greatly from the rising sea levels; these small island nations contribute very little to global carbon emissions but are suffering the consequences of the rest of the world’s high level of carbon output.

In a climate change summit hosted by Fiji, interim Prime Minister Bainimara said the global will to combat climate change is receding. He further pointed at Australia, saying that since the election of conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbot there has been a distinct change of attitude in Australia toward climate change policy. Abbot has been quoted as saying that he will not support any climate change policy in Australia that would negatively impact the Australian economy.

The interim Prime Minister of Fiji issued a harsh statement to the world, pointed at Australia and Prime Minister Abbot, saying that history will judge them harshly if they do nothing to effect policy change and allow the islands of the pacific to sink below the ocean. He further stated that leaders need to see the situation is dire for Fiji and other island nations and that leaders need to risk minor economic impact to save lives.

Indonesia was invited to the climate change summit in Fiji and pledged support to Fiji in combating climate change. Indonesia also has a strong incentive to mitigate the effects of climate change in the pacific. Indonesia has offered $20 million to Fiji to help fight the effects of climate change and has offered further support in the form of increased trade agreements with Fiji to boost trade revenue by a targeted $1 billion in the future.

The situation in Fiji is so serious that entire communities have had to be relocated since January 2014. The village of Vaunidogola had to be relocated to higher ground due to rising sea levels; the relocation affected 50 families whose ancestors had lived on that land for generations. The government of Fiji has also identified 600 villages across the Fiji islands that are at risk from the rising sea levels. The government predicts that over the next 10 years 40 settlements will have to be relocated due to the rise in sea levels, the pollution of the ground water and the destruction of agricultural land.

May 24, 2014

Teci, Fiji

Filed under: culture,fiji,geography,global islands — admin @ 4:40 am

The villages of Teci (pronounced “Tethee”) and Dalomo, with a combined population of about 210, are situated on the eastern shore of Yasawa Island in the northwestern corner of the Fijian archipelago. The village of Teci is about a fifteen-minute walk from Dalomo, a ninety-minute walk from Bukama, and a two-and-a-half-hour walk from Nabukaru. To travel to the city of Lautoka, on the main island of Viti Levu, most villagers use a cargo ship that takes between one and two days and makes the rounds on a monthly schedule. (This ship sank in 2010 and has not been replaced.) Although it is possible to take a five-hour ferry from a point in the central part of the Yasawan archipelago, the transportation to the ferry and the ferry ride itself cost considerably more than traveling on the cargo ship. Villagers also sometimes use small motorboats to cross the Bligh Waters to Lautoka, though this sometimes results in disasters and disappearances. In the dry, deforested grasslands of this slender, twenty-two-kilometer-long island, economic life is based primarily on a combination of root-crop horticulture (yams and sweet manioc), littoral gathering (shellfish, mollusks), and fishing. Men bear the responsibility for clearing gardens (slashing and burning if necessary) and planting. Both men and women collect firewood, harvest agricultural products, and weed the gardens. Adults of both sexes and children also engage in littoral gathering, although women do more of this than men or children. Fishing is done principally by men, especially young men, and mainly involves free-dive spear-fishing. Older men, women, and boys use hook and line. Men also use nets to catch both fish and turtles. Women bear the primary responsibility for food preparation, cooking, laundry, and cleaning. Three main sociopolitical institutions govern village life: the traditional chiefly system, the government-instituted role of the Turaga ni koro, and the Christian churches. The most important of these institutions is the traditional system based on kinship, clans, and hereditary chiefs. Teci and Dalomo have five main mataqalis (pronounced “matangalees”), or clans, that together form a single yavusa. A yavusa is the largest territorial unit in the traditional Fijian system. Fijian villages often correspond, one to one, with a yavusa, with one chief per yavusa. However, Teci and Dalomo are part of the same yavusa, and there is a single chief for both villages. The chief lives in Teci, the older of the two villages. Leadership in each of the mataqalis is assigned primarily by age, gender, and descent, although skill and political acumen can also play a role. The head of the chiefly clan is officially installed as chief by one of the other mataqalis. The chief, together with the heads of the various mataqalis, makes decisions and deals with problems. At the time of our experiments, Teci’s previous chief had only recently died, and his heir (his older brother’s son) was still relatively young, so he had not yet been formally installed; nevertheless, he was still referred to as Tui Teci (Chief of Teci). At the time of our study, these villages were governed by a council of elders. Now integrated, and operating in parallel with the traditional system, is the democratically elected Turaga ni koro (Gentleman/Head of the Village), who acts as the representative of the Fijian national government. Both Teci and Dalomo have their own Turaga ni koro. The Turaga ni koro’s responsibilities are varied and include such tasks as dealing with visitors and keeping the village well-maintained. Though not an official part of their duties, the Dalomo Turaga ni koro operated the village radio-phone, and the family of Teci’s Turaga ni koro operated a village store that sold basic foodstuffs.1 In most matters we observed, the Turaga ni koro worked in concert with the council of elders and the chief, and all were seen as a unit. Layered across these institutions, and supported by Teci and Dalomo, are three different Christian religious sects—the Methodist, Evangelical Assemblies of God, and Seventh-Day Adventist Churches, in five separate congregations. These churches make numerous contributions to the villages, from organizing feasts to running youth groups. Fairness Without Punishment 227 Connections with the larger Fijian economy and municipal services are limited. There are no towns, and the only road on the island at the time of our visits was a dirt path that was used by an exclusive private resort near Bukama (the only resort on Yasawa Island).2 There are few opportunities for wage labor. At the time of our experiments, the resort employed three people from Teci and Dalomo. There are three primary schools on the island, including one in Teci. For education beyond the eighth grade, which many have not pursued, students must go to live either on the island of Naviti, in the center of the Yasawa group, or to Viti Levu. At the time of this research, there were three ways in which village families typically had access to market goods. First, several families maintained small supplies of flour, kava, yeast, sugar, salt, and other basic items, which they sold to their neighbors. Second, people traveled on the cargo ship—which came to Teci once a month during this period—to sell crabs, coconuts, mats, and other products in Lautoka and resupply on items like cooking oil and kerosene. Third, the private resort maintained a small shop where basic necessities could be purchased. Villagers did not make frequent use of this shop, owing to its high prices. All residents of Teci and Dalomo over about age six speak both Teci (the local dialect) and Standard Fijian (developed from the Bauan dialect). The two dialects are mutually unintelligible. A few people also speak some English. Although English is officially taught in schools, only a few of the older schoolchildren had learned more than a few phrases. More extensive details on life in these Yasawan villages can be found in the supplemental materials of Henrich and Henrich (2010).

Tutashinde Mbili Shaka! (Together we can win!)

March 28, 2012

fiji notebook (little red, bamboo paper)

Filed under: fiji,global islands — admin @ 7:27 pm

Fiji notebook (little red, bamboo paper)

Filed under: fiji,General,global islands — admin @ 11:23 am

February 22, 2012

FijiOne TV News = Ministry of …

Filed under: art — Tags: , , , , , , , — admin @ 11:58 am

FijiOne TV News = Ministry of Information

December 2, 2011

In Fiji visitors are charged d…

Filed under: art — Tags: , , , , , , , , — bbrace @ 11:10 pm

In Fiji visitors are charged double – Fiji-you!

Bula from Naboro village #fiji

Filed under: art — Tags: , , , , , , , , — bbrace @ 11:09 pm

Bula from Naboro village #fiji

In Fiji visitors are charged d…

Filed under: art — Tags: , , , , , , , — admin @ 10:10 am

In Fiji visitors are charged double – Fiji-you!

Bula from Naboro village #fiji

Filed under: art — Tags: , , , , , , , — admin @ 10:09 am

Bula from Naboro village #fiji

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