Douglas Bagnall on Tue, 23 May 2000 10:19:03 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] links regarding the Fiji coup.

In case you haven't heard, the Fijian Labour government is being held 
hostage in the parliament buildings after a weak and unimaginative coup 

If successful, this will be the second time a Labour Government has 
been overthrown by threat. The bloodless 1987 coup resulted in a number 
of constitutional changes, international condemnation, economic 
trouble, and massive emigration, but things reverted gradually towards 
the pre-coup state, until last year another Labour Government was 
elected under a constitution not so disimilar from the original one.

Fijian politics are vulgarly explained in terms of conflict between the 
(equally numbered) indigenous Fijians and decendants of Indian 
plantation workers, but Teresia Teaiwa explains that things are not 
that simple:

It's worth noting that 11/18th of the cabinet are indigenous Fijian, so 
claims of Indian domination are specious. 

At the beginning of Fiji's colonial history a British governor banned 
the alienation of indigenous land, and this edict has gathered such a 
sacred force that the constitution bans any modifcation of any land 
laws, including laws of tenancy. Nevertheless, it is the standard claim 
of coup leaders that the government is scheming to Indianise land 
ownership. I guess this is the most efficacious way to unite the 
Indigenous population.

Fiji History:

A long article regarding the 1987 coups:


The Fijian sources are up to date and relatively independant. Nobody 
has been seriously hurt in a Fiji coup, so fear of death is probably 
not influencing journalists. The TV station has been ordered (by the 
president, not captured) not to show messages from the coup leader.

randomly broken at times, occasionally reverting to days-old versions.
has realaudio of president Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara's speeches. And a 
discussion board.

mirrored on, 
login as 'douglas' if you want: it doesn't seem to ask for a password. 
fijilive has all kinds of background stuff, the 1997 contstitution 
(which explains the importance of the council of chiefs), a list of 
hostages <>, and the 
ubiquitous discussion board (funnily enough, they are threatening to 
shut it down if people use bad language). 

Government press release --


ie: an armed coup is a normal political process.

The usual Australian and NZ news sites also have coverage --


-- with relatively more focus on the jail term the coup leader, George 
Speight, avoided by hijacking his government when he ought to have been 
in a Sydney Court facing fraud charges. 

At this very moment the fate of the country is being discussed by the 
Great Council of Chiefs, who have the constituional power to sack and 
appoint presidents. Whether or not this is a effective power, and what 
they decide, will soon be discovered. Watch or to find out.


"Ladies and gentlemen, this is a military takeover. We apologise for
any inconvenience..." -- Fiji Army Captain Isireli Dugu, May 14, 1987.

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