Vol. 5 No. 2
GUNS AND VIOLENCE AREN'T THE ANSWER
By JOYCELYN NARAYAN
YOU may think I am self-centered but when I first heard that gunmen had taken over Parliament, my first thoughts were Ñ whatÕs going to happen to my future?
Now that the full implications have had time to sink in, I guess every Indian in Fiji will be having the same thought and wondering what the next few months will bring.
Almost all Indian students I have talked to so far have expressed the same concern. Especially final-year students who have to worry about job prospects after graduation. This is turning out to be a harrowing experience. One that I could easily have done without.
I was quite young during the first coup and have no memories of it. But if Indians went through then, what they are going through now? I can only wonder why they stayed behind.
I feel scared to go into town Ñ partly because I donÕt quite feel like seeing the destruction done to shops, but mainly because I donÕt feel safe. Safety was one of those concepts I took for granted before the fateful day of May 19.
Now I look uneasily at every Fijian I see. Maybe thatÕs unfair of me, but thatÕs the way I react to Fijians now.
There are so many questions running through my head. Like, is George Speight thinking of the economic future of the country he claims to be a leader of?
IÕm thinking of getting used to a diet of cassava once economic sanctions are imposed. The other day I read a letter written to the editor in one of the dailies which basically congratulated Speight and said it was about time someone took the action he took. It also had some subtle anti-Indian comments.
ItÕs times like these when I feel I have no identity. Since I am an Indian, most people would agree that my motherland is India. I donÕt think so.
India is a country that few Indians in Fiji have ever visited. And frankly, I canÕt feel an affiliation for a country which, apart from in movies, I have never seen.
Fiji is the country I was born in and itÕs ridiculous to suggest that I have ties in India when we have basic language differences. Maybe the older generation of Indians would strongly disagree with me, but thatÕs the way I feel.
However, that doesnÕt mean that I would want the indigenous Fijians to give up their identity Ñ their ancestral land Ñ to provide me with an identity. As it is, IÕm not particularly interested in taking something that rightfully belongs to someonelse. But that doesnÕt mean an alternative canÕt be reached.
Guns and violence just arenÕt the answer. I wouldnÕt want my children to go through the uncertanities that I as a young Indo-fijian adult am facing in this country. A country which I once considered to be my homeland.
File created: 3 June 2000
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