Winds of change in the South Pacific

A friend of mine is currently lounging in Fiji (the lucky bastard), and has sent back word that the recent coup on the island nation seems to have had little affect on the atmosphere – the people are friendly, the beaches serene.

Today the new government seems to be taking shape rather smoothly, though there are varying opinions on the process. Fiji has experienced four coups in recent history (much like another nation) and it could be imagined there would be some frustration at this point:

Coups are becoming a bad habit in Fiji. If we continue to show the world that Fiji reacts like this, we will get a bad reputation. Whenever someone hates the government, you cannot just take it over. It’s totally against the law. – Fijian student, BBC news article

The student has a solid point, given that the main issue of contention that aroused the coup surrounded the passing of new legislation that was unpopular, and even considered racist. One would think that the problem could be fixed democratically, through the voice of public opinion. But now-deposed prime minister Laisenia Quarase seems to be acting quite cordial, given the circumstances, wishing the interim government well.

But Quarase might be smiling smugly on the sidelines now because he understands the pickle Fiji has caught itself in. The question now becomes, can a government forged by power and aggression ever hope to maintain peace?

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