Monday, March 31, 2008

Extraordinary insights in Scott doco about Fiji

Author Owen Scott and filmmaker Annie Goldson should be congratulated for An Island Calling, their compelling yet sensitive portrayal of the tragic double murder of John Scott and Greg Scrivener in Fiji in 2001 in the wake of the George Speight coup. This is a very courageous film and is likely to have very low-key screenings in Fiji. It was deeply shocking at the time and just as disturbing seven years on. Goldson and Scott have conveyed some extraordinary insights into Fiji's coup culture, the fundamentalist Christianity that has taken hold since Rabuka's first coups in 1987 and the cultural complexities of a troubled nation. Prime Minister Helen Clark was at the premiere at the weekend. For an account of the film and the debate around it, check out AUT student journalist Claire Rorke's piece. She writes:
One of the film’s central ideas is that Sitiveni Rabuka’s coups of 1987 ignited a wave of religious extremism and anti-democratic politics.
These have played out as coercive and repressive agents in Fijian society in the years since.
Rabuka was a Methodist preacher and regularly invoked God as being the hand that guided him to oust the Fiji Labour Party-led government with strong Indo-Fijian support in favour of indigenous Fijian interests.
Asia Downunder journalist Bharat Jamnadas says many Fijians are ardent churchgoers and evangelical influence extends from the pulpit through to Parliament.

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