The Vice President of Fiji, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi speaks with clarity about Fiji as a multicultural society. He speaks with idealism amidst a variety of views as we look towards the upcoming election in Fiji. I find that I waver between idealism and realism and get tangled in the process.
I know that I have to move amidst contradictory identities at times (in any order, every other day) - that of a writer/ feminist/ Australian/ mother/ idealist/ Christian/ passionate Fiji watcher/kin to Fijian family. Also, I accept that other people prioritize in different ways.
The last line of his speech, as reported in today's Fiji Sun, has significance - about how we manoevre our lives through various identities.
Forget the past, says Ratu Joni
By CHEERIEANN WILSON
Nothing is gained from repeating the past. Speaking at the launch of the book – Let’s All Celebrate – Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi said Fiji must learn from the past and begin to create an alternative way. “There is nothing to be gained from repeating the past. Fiji has been wounded and scarred by recent events and while some still bear the pain and the hurt there is always hope while there is life,” he said. “That is the message this book has for me. “Out of the mouths of children comes wisdom, insight and vision. It is inspiring as it is uplifting for it conveys the optimism and zeal of youth. The youth of this beautiful country that is our home. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.” He said that diversity as reflected in multiculturalism in Fiji was a fact of life and was about recognition of and respect for everyone’s background and identity.
“Whether one likes it or not Fiji comprises many different ethnic groups and no one is superior or better than another. Each co-exists and interacts with each other. They bring richness, vibrance and vitality into the lives of other cultures. This opportunity for engagement is the wonderful blessing of living in such a country as ours. “For our differences should not overshadow our common humanity. There is nothing to be gained from repeating the past. “There are limits of which we need to be aware. Above and beyond that are the ties of nationhood that bind all of us citizens of this country.
I am both a Fijian and a citizen of Fiji, but I am a citizen first.
“We need to remember that sometimes. I believe the rationale behind the concept is the creation of an environment, of spaces, that allow us to be at ease in moving in and between the multiple identities we possess.”