8 Oct 2004

Fiji charity leader says reconciliation week a farce

8:20 am on 8 October 2004

The Save the Children Fund in Fiji says this week's national reconciliation and forgiveness programme is a farce.

The Fiji Times quotes the Fund's national manager, Irshad Ali, as saying this is because "intimidation and fear continues at school and in communities."

Mr Ali says the Save the Children Fund has been conducting reconciliation programmes in Tailevu, Muaniweni, Labasa and other areas he describes as 'terrorism affected', but he says nothing seems to have changed over the years.

Mr Ali says he understands the significance of traditional ceremonies but being a field worker he also knows that the "fever" of reconciliation barely lasts a day.

He says while the ceremony is being conducted, the culprits enjoy kava and food and make a mockery of the process.

Mr Ali says the reconciliation process is a celebration for many who have put others through misery and intimidation.

He says this is still continuing but because of fear and suppression no one wants to lodge a complaint.

Mr Ali says the reconciliation programme should understand the psyche of the perpetrators who believe that might is right.