* See PMW items 2802, 2801, 2776, 2772, 2770, 2741, 2740, 2739, 2738, 2737, 2735 at  Fiji TV May 29 Close-Up transcript:" target="_blank">  USP Journalism online (new UTS host):  USP Journalism ("mirror" of gagged site):  Wansolwara Online:  Have your say: 

SUVA, Fiji Islands (June 19, 2000 – Pacific Media Watch/Fiji’s Daily Post/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Fiji's Daily Post today appealed to rebel leader George Speight to call off the month-old rebellion and let the 31 hostages go, saying "blood is already on your hands."

In an open letter style editorial addressed "Dear George", the paper said: "You and your thugs have left behind a trail of destruction, terror, looting, burning, thuggery and lawlessness unmatched in the history of modern Fiji."

The editorial in the Daily Post, a newspaper edited by outspoken indigenous Fijian Mesake Koroi, yet with a controlling government shareholding stake, is the strongest denunciation of the rebels by a local paper since the crisis began on May 19.

The editorial said:

"Dear George,

"It is exactly a month today, when you and your gunmen illegally stormed Parliament on May 19, and kidnapped Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry's government. You did this for a cause, that is, to restore indigenous rights.

"You have achieved that George. Chaudhry has been neutralized, Parliament has been dissolved, the constitution has been abrogated and the powers that be are now working to make sure that indigenous rights, you are advocating George, will be reflected in the new constitution. They have even agreed to offer you amnesty. As far as I am concerned George, you have achieve your cause.

"George, I can't understand why you are still holding out there in the parliamentary complex. As I have pointed out, my friend, the means to achieving the cause is already at hand. Don't you think it is time to let go? I think it is time to end all this nonsense George, release the hostages and let's all go home and have a good night's sleep while you still have the upper hand.

"Don't forget George, that over the past month, your actions have not been like that of your namesake St. George at all. You and your thugs have left behind a trail of destruction, terror, looting, burning, thuggery and lawlessness unmatched in the history of modern Fiji. Worse still, your mob has since committed other crimes culminating in the senseless killing of Constable Filipo Seavula, the shooting and the wounding of two soldiers and a journalist and the countless hijacking of and kidnapping of taxi drivers. These are terrible crimes, George. Blood is already on your hands. I tell you George, it is time to let go. Do not prolong it any longer.

"People, including your supporters are beginning to turn against you. They have had enough. Within this short month, the damage you have done to this country George is mind-boggling. The economy is already down by over $200 million, inflation is on the rise, over 4,000 workers have lost their jobs and more are expected to lose theirs, thousands of school children have not been going to school, tourists are not coming and Fiji, our Fiji George, has been isolated by the international community that trade, economic and sports bans have imposed.

"George, while you are holding up there, obviously enjoying your new acquired power, we are finding it hard out here. You remember Jale, our classmate from down the road at Suva Grammar? Well, he lost his job last week. I had to give him some money yesterday to pay for his children's dinner.

"His wife is expecting and he is wondering how they will buy baby's nappies. He sends his regards though. He is just one of the many thousands who have lost out because of your illegal action George. And not a coward either. Why are you still condoning these cowardly acts? There must be some good still left in you George.

"Apart from the families of your hostages, think of the problems of the 4,000 people who have lost their jobs are going through. Children have been deprived of the basics of life. Some are scavenging at the Lami dump. One was accidentally run over by the dump tractor the other day. It's bad out there George. People are wondering where the next meal will come from.

"George, it's time to let go."

Title -- 2805 FIJI: Open letter: 'Blood on your hands' Date -- 19 June 2000 Byline – None Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- Fiji's Daily Post, 19/6/00 Copyright -- PMW/DP Status -- Unabridged


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