Quiet and Disquiet in Fiji
In Fiji – dissent and the psychology of being silenced
People in Fiji are being told to be quiet, to be silent, not to share their personal views. A elderly retired doctor tells people in Fiji to be patient and silent. A policeman talks about being ‘insensible’. Well, in the Fiji English Dictionary that means ‘not capable of feeling’ so I don’t think he meant that. ‘Insensible’ sounds more like after a long night on the kava! Others command silence while a program of seeking out ‘corruption’ takes place.
Many people choose to be silent for various reasons – lack of relevance, apathy, distance from Suva, but others want to speak but are silenced through taking care of possible consequences.
Okay, people are commanded to avoid dissent, to not express a difference of opinion, or at least not to say it out loud, or even to write it in Letters to the Editor. How fortunate are writers on some internet boards because – behind the screen of anonymity - they can vent their spleen and say their say.
The ‘clean-up’ has now been called a ‘National Audit’ and while this is going ahead, people are urged to restrain themselves from offering opinions. Well, I think this is very unhealthy.
When a student is silenced by the sarcasm of a teacher, when a child is silenced by the anger of a parent, when a wife is silenced by the intimidation of her husband, when a worker is silenced by the demands of a CEO, when a citizen is silenced by the orders from a person wielding weapons, what happens to those ‘silenced’?
This is not order in society, but a situation where the results can be damaging psychologically to many people. To be subdued can lead to poor physical health as well as a suppressed anger, a possibility of not only cynicism, but a simmering anger, a bitterness, a desire for revenge.
It’s an extremely unhealthy situation in family life, work life, and in community life. To allow dissent is healthy. Otherwise there is going to be more post-traumatic stress, depression, poor self-esteem.
Perhaps a good physical clean up and a beautification of the landscapes from Reservoir Road down to the sea might be necessary for the future residents who live there.