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“To be or not to be that is the question for Fiji

July 7, 2013
Once a student of English literature when a sixth former at Ratu Kadavulevu School in Fiji, I regard the opening line in Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy in Hamlet as a gut wrenching reminder of the state of mind that persists around efforts to salvage Fiji from the slings and arrows of the Bainimarama dictatorship.
Just as Hamlet had questioned the meaning of life, and whether or not it is worthwhile to stay sane when life in Fiji for the last 6 years contained so many hardships, different conclusions can be drawn on why citizens have not taken to the streets to protest and to overthrow the dictatorship.
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the hardships faced, tends to reflect a trait in the Fijian psyche of putting up with difficulties and to acquiesce to those in authority even when that authority has been acquired illegally through treason. It is a case of suffering in silence with eyes and ears wide open to the outrageous fortunes illegally gained by the regime and its supporters. But what is the use of that knowledge if it is not applied to assert a reversal in the fortunes of those who have been suppressed and oppressed?
Yet to take arms against a sea of troubles, as Hamlet postulates, may well result in our own demise! Therein may well lie the underlying uncertainty borne out of the past and current brutality of the Bainimarama regime in instilling fear on those who oppose its rule. As well, there is the fear of the unknown as to the success of an attempt to overthrow the regime via the same means it gained power. Paralysis then sets in further when realised that a coup begets another and another pointing to the stigma of an everlasting coup culture. As a result we have inaction in the face of constant repression and brutality by those in power and this often encourages them further.
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all. Here, I read Hamlet to mean that unless we shake ourselves out of the slumber we’re all in, life in Fiji will get far worse. Poverty and suicide are on the rise together with crime. The economy continues to worsen despite over-optimistic growth forecast from purported increase in consumer spending and infrastructure investment. Slowing down of the Chinese economy means the drying up of soft loans from that source. 
The regime is now aiming to achieve legitimacy through its imposed constitution followed by an election. Nations that should know better are tripping over each other to provide funding support for the 2014 election. It all augurs well for the illegal regime to cement its rule over a long time to come.
In the end, it is about how badly we want our freedom, human rights and dignity as Fijians. As history has often revealed, such universally cherished values, once taken away, are often very difficult to be restored unless fought for. Those of you with the means and opportunity to begin the fight back have your own conscience to answer to. Future generations of Fijians and those without the same chance, expect no less than a full restoration of elected government by the people of Fiji and for them all too.   
Unlike Hamlet, who came to the conclusion that the main reason people stay alive is due to a fear of death and uncertainty at what lies beyond life, Fijians readily value life and are adamant that the present situation is deadly enough, it is worthless to contemplate any worse.
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