Thursday, November 08, 2007
Good wishes to our friends who celebrate Diwali today. May light shine in the darkness of our world. Clean up our houses, our minds, our hearts.
Our relatives in Vatuadova today are focussing on today's holiday to do a few things: cementing the grave of our beloved Suliana then a church service of thanksgiving, the baptism of five new babies, and a small feast for everyone in the village.
from Fiji Times editorial today:
Time for reflection
Friday, November 09, 2007
AS Hindus around the country celebrate Diwali today, we, as a nation, need to reflect on how far we have come and where we are going. The simple message of Diwali is about good overcoming evil. This is a theme that resonates in all religious beliefs that one day good will overpower evil and when that happens, then the world will be set right.
For the Hindus, that day has come and it is celebrated once a year. For Christians, that day is yet to come. For Fiji, that day has come and gone or is yet to come depending on who you talk to and where their allegiances lie. There is without a shred of doubt that we are a divided nation. We are divided by our ideologies, our political preferences, our faith, our culture, our race and language and our geographical location.
We have been divided by our racism and our hatred, our discrimination, our biases and prejudices, our short-sightedness and by our unwillingness to forgive. We are also divided by the sides we have chosen in our current internal conflict. People have decided that if you are not with them, then you are against them. For them, there is no middle ground. You can't sit on the fence, so to speak.
As a result, families have been torn apart, neighbours fighting neighbours and Catholic pitted against Catholic. We need to have a symbol of hope.As citizens of Fiji, we need to come together and learn to agree to disagree if we cannot find a common ground. For a start, we need good leaders.
Leaders who will bring the light back into our lives, our economy and our country. We need to reconcile our differences. Some of the divisions are so deeply rooted that they are depressing and oppressive. We need to be able to see the other side of the story and accept that people will always have different opinions. We need to learn to live with each other faults and all. No one is perfect but together we can complement each other.
Fiji needs to move forward.We need to pull ourselves out of the doldrums and put ourselves back on the international chart as a safe destination with a thriving economy and a productive and united workforce. Let's use this holiday to refocus and recharge.
and a letter to the Editor of the Fiji Times later on:
As I wandered around Lautoka looking at the many homes lit beautifully for Diwali, I couldn't help but notice something.In many streets one would pass a house that was very brightly lit and right next door was a humbly lit one.
People who can afford it have electric lights and children can be seen lighting very expensive fire crackers and wearing new expensive clothes. Right next door would be a house lit with the simple candle, not even crepe paper to shelter the candles form the wind.
Society is such that the poor live right next to the rich and in these trying times it is very noticeable. And if things don't improve less homes will be lit next year. Here I'm talking about the poor.
I agree with the sentiment expressed here. I was brought up in a town where everyone was more-or-less equal -and very rarely did we see spectacularly large houses and high fences, etc. But in Fiji it really shocked me when I saw the proximity of extremely fancy expensive houses opposite dilapidated flats in a Lautoka street.