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A dictator in paradise
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-01-12 12:27:23
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We live in a world that hangs Saddam Hussein one day and a day later millions watch the most disturbing pictures through the internet, even in places as remote as Fiji, a country so small and so distant. However, life does go on in the small islands, life under a dictatorship and that’s the worst we forgot.

It has been over a month since the military coup when Commander Bainimarama was sworn in as the country’s ‘temporary’ leader and now he has eight ministers around him to give a better shape to the crime against the people of the Fiji islands. In front of the fear are guns and the sense that the world has forgotten them, even the politicians seem to have compromised with their new reality, so former president Ratu Josefa Iloilo was restored obviously after bowing in front of Cmdr Bainimarama’s army forces. Now the tourists must come back to this small island paradise!

This is it! Amazing as it sounds, the Fiji islands are a tourist destination for wealthy Americans and Europeans. It is paradise and nothing must change that. The big international travel agencies are fully booked for years, the casinos are waiting and the clubs are ready. As long they keep their 'problem' between the locals, then who will care? After all, it is impossible for the American tourist to understand who is the good guy and who is the bad guy; they all look the same and these countries are always in danger from all these Mao followers! Democracy? It will take them time, a long time to understand what democracy is; let’s preserve our holidays order another rum cocktail!

Am I becoming too much of a cynic? Why? Tell me what’s the difference between Commander Bainimarama and Pakistan’s president General Pervez Musharraf? From my side, the only difference stands on their rank, while in both cases neither respected democracy, neither respects human rights, neither is innocent for crimes against their own country, with the worst being treason. General Pervez Musharraf is an ally in the war against terrorism forgetting that he himself is the worst nightmare and terror for his own people. Why then to remember what Commander Bainimarama is doing? He’s not even a general, but apparently now he can just promote himself.

Commander Bainimarama baptized himself ‘temporary’ leader of the Fiji islands until democracy returns, does that remind you of General Pervez Musharraf once again or is it just me? General Pervez Musharraf said exactly the same and then he changed the Pakistani constitution to give him the right to be president for longer and longer and longer.

Why can't I recollect any democratic leader doing the same? François Mitterand was a politician who actually dominated French politics for over a decade and Margaret Thatcher - to take an example from the conservative side as well - in UK managed political longevity through democracy. But then you get Pinochet of Chile, who made himself president for life and then Franco of Spain, who died on his throne after leading his country through one of the bloodiest civil wars in history. So, how temporary is the commander going to be?

If he is clever in the next few weeks, he will probably announce that he’s going to side with the war on terror and might even send a couple of officers to Iraq and then - please don’t be surprised - George W. Bush will call him a friend of America and invite him to his Texas ranch!

In the meantime, enjoy the pictures of the Fiji islands on the net and forget that some Fiji people are being tortured, imprisoned and killed under one more dictatorship.

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