Far away from the noise and bluster of Suva and the overheated talk by journalists who should take their kura medicine and have a good lie down, was a lovely cultural day in Naduri village in Macuata. It was Macuata Day. We have been to similar cultural days in Naduri and enjoyed the festival atmosphere which usually includes fund-raising, mekes, and a feast.
The main guest this time was Ratu Jone Madraiwiwi. Part of his speech is quoted in the Fiji Times today - November 04, 2006. His words are moderate and he is careful not to take sides. He sounds like a very patient man indeed!
VICE President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, , said although he and the President had been criticised publicly, they would remain calm. And he assured that the standoff between the military and the Government would be dealt with carefully. Given the military's aggressive reactions, it would not be wise to stir things up at the moment, he said.
Speaking in Fijian to more than 4000 villagers at the Macuata Day celebrations in Naduri, Ratu Joni said the storm would die down and the people should think of the past and reflect on the future. He said it was important to understand where the country was heading and to move on. Ratu Joni said it was useless to point fingers and everyone should reflect on their own actions and remain calm.
He asked the villagers to pray for peace and for guidance for the leaders and there was no reason to become a party to the tension.
Ratu Joni said wisdom and understanding were needed to solve the impasse. He said gatherings of festivities such as the Macuata Day was needed at times when the political atmosphere was tense.
Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere said Ratu Joni's speech was very encouraging and motivating. He said the chiefs of Macuata had discussed their stand on the current situation, which they would relay to Ratu Joni. The people of Macuata, he said, wanted the current government to continue its term without interference. He said the government leaders and the military should sit down and work out an amicable solution to their differences.
FT Nov 7
The organiser of Macuata Day, Adi Seinimili Dyer said the function was revived to bring all the people in the province together.She said the money raised would be used to construct two hostels in Labasa and provide scholarships to students for further studies. Adi Seinimili said the Macuata Provincial Council was focusing on the education of children from the province. She said it was important that children had the resources to further their education and have a comfortable accommodation while studying in Labasa.
Though Suva and the events of the past week seem distant from a community where newspapers are not often read, the people certainly would have listened to the radio and perhaps become alarmed for their kin living in Suva.
We are not isolated people wherever we live. We are connected and there’s this theory that when a butterfly flaps her wings somewhere, it will have an effect elsewhere.
What do you think about Ratu Jone's speech?
added Nov 13th.
Peceli's brother went to Macuata Day and said it was a fabulous day for the women's soli (offering) and because of the tauvu relationship with Bau, there was plenty of teasing going in with the Vice President, Ratu Jone. Also the Wailevu people excelled in their dances - wesi (spear dance) and seasea (women's standing dance). All this jollity when Suva was simmering with disquiet the same day!