Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Trouble In Paradise

Yesterday I read on CNN's webpage that the military of Fiji had staged a coup and taken over the country. Today the general in charge installed his own parliament and prime minister.

Yes, Fiji, land of palm trees and endless sandy beaches tucked away in the south Pacific, Paradise for four-hundred thousand tourists every year. I've never been there in person, but in my daydreams I regularly splash through its warm waters, swim its coral reefs, eat poi, and dance with the topless hula girls. What? They aren't topless there? Well you can find your own daydreams, buddy!

Your first question was probably the same as mine: Fiji has a military? Who, exactly, are they guarding against? Invasion from Tahiti? Palau? Rabid land sharks?

How, I ask, can someone living in Paradise still find reason to fight? I know I'm being overly naïve, but I would shovel pig shit for a living if it meant I could live in Fiji. Wouldn't you? Oh, sure, eight hours a day five days a week would be nasty and smelly, but the rest of the time could be spent on a warm, tropical beach sipping your favorite alcoholic beverage (little umbrella included) and wondering why the hell anyone would choose to live in places like Duluth or Juneau or, heck, Tulsa. If I were there, you could probably come up to me, kick sand in my face, and call me any name you please and I would blandly smile and ask you to please step aside so my tan would be even. But even living Paradise isn't enough for folks to put their issues aside. It seems the 51% indigenous Fijian majority are fighting for control with 44% Indian minority, namely for the lucrative coastal properties. It just goes to show you there really isn't such a thing as Paradise and that we all want a piece of the poi.

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