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Brij Lal in death exposes Fiji’s Animal Farm (27 Dec. 2021)


With the passing of Professor Brij Lal on 25 December 2021, there has been an outpouring of tributes to him. Many had already protested against the ban, such as those who signed a letter in 2015:

Professor Viay Naidu
Tessa MacKenzie
Rev. Akuila Yabaki
Shamima Ali
Dr Tupeni Baba
Dr Morgan Tui
Dr Claire Slatter
Dr Ganesh Chand
Professor Satish Chand
Professor Croz Walsh

That letter can be read here:

But equally many influential persons speaking today, were silent.

Fiji Times bravely fought draconian sanctions from the Bainimarama/Khaiyum Government, with publishers being expelled, some (Publisher like Hank Arts and Editor Fred Wesley being charged for spurious crimes and facing suspended jail sentences. Eventually they began publishing critical articles from me but only after serious vetting by lawyers Munro Leys (see some of the links below).

But my censored Letter to the Editor in 2015 explains much.

“Fiji’s Animal Farm continues” (Letter to Editor 20 March 2015 (censored)) had the following:

“Dear Sir,

The Minister for Immigration and Defense (Colonel Timoci Natuva) has “explained” the Fiji Government’s ban of Professor Brij Lal and Dr Padma Lal on the grounds that Brij Lal “has been very vocal and opposed the move towards democracy after the events of 2006” and that “his actions were viewed by the Government of the day as prejudicial to the peace, defence, public safety, public order, security of the Government of Fiji.” (Fiji Times, 19 March 2015).

Minister Natuva’s response suggests that not only does he not have to worry about over-taxing his brain cells, but that Fiji’s Animal Farm is alive and well under the elected government of Bainimarama and Khaiyum.

(a) Given that Brij Lal opposed the illegal removal of a lawful democratically elected government of Qarase, only in Animal Farm can Minister Natuva claim this was “opposing the move towards democracy”.

(b) Only in Animal Farm can Minister Natuva “forget” that his “Government of the Day” was the illegal treasonous government of Voreqe Bainimarama who had to write into the 2013 Constitution, complete immunity for unspecified actions for himself and his collaborators, between 2000 and September 2014?

(c) only in Animal Farm can a peaceful law-abiding pen-wielding Australian academic, a former Fiji citizen and recipient of Fiji’s highest Honors, be considered by Minister Natuva (on the orders of Bainimarama and Khaiyum) to be “prejudicial to the peace defence, public safety, public order, security of the Government of Fiji”, which is backed by the might of only 3000 fierce Fijian soldiers and 3000 policemen.  Heaven forbid, is brave soldier Natuva admitting that “one pen is mightier than the sword”?

(d) Only in Animal Farm, can Minister Natuva give no justification whatsoever (and not be asked by the media either) for banning Dr Padma Lal, an environmental economist and an expert on the sugar industry who has not been politically vocal at all, whose only “crime” is that she is married to Brij Lal, and perhaps the double misfortune of being my sister.

(e) Only in Animal Farm will great “women’s champions” like Madam Nazhat Shameem and Minister Rosy Akbar remain conveniently silent about the denial of the basic human rights of Dr Padma Lal to enter Fiji, because of her “crime” of being the wife of Dr Brij Lal.

(f)  Only in Animal Farm will Indo-Fijian civil society organizations (the Arya Samaj, the Sanatan Dharam, the Sangam, the Gujarat Society) and the great girmitiya descendants and supporters of the Bainimarama Government (like Satendra Nandan, Subramani,  Rajesh Chandra, Ganesh Chand, Mahendra Reddy, Rajendra Prasad, Thakur Ranjit Singh,etc.) keep totally quiet about the banning of one of the most peaceful and valued girmitiya “sons of Fiji” who has contributed his entire academic life to the written history of the Indo-Fijians (Dr Brij Lal) and the banning of their former USP academic colleague, luminary and Gold Medalist, Dr Padma Lal.

(g) Only in Animal Farm can an “elected government” ban decent law-abiding people like Brij and Padma Lal, while welcoming and rewarding foreigners who came to support the violent 2006 treason and the illegal Bainimarama Government, like John Samy, Shaista Shameem, John Prasad, Francis Narayan, Robin Nair, Peter Thompson, Sharon Smith-Johns, Graham Davis, etc.

Given Minister Natuva’s statement, a few members of the Fiji public might lose some sleep trying to identify  which animals in George Orwell’s Animal Farm might accurately represent Natuva, Bainimarama and Khaiyum.

But the majority of Fiji citizens can always help themselves go to sleep by counting their own numbers (no prizes for guessing which animals they represent in Animal Farm).

Those who wish to read Animal Farm may easily do so at this link:

Click to access animal_farm.pdf

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