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Letters

Do we forget who we are?

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Hear! Hear! Tama Foa. The ideals that Tonga was built on were the work of past kings, chiefs, of warriors, of people who were known for their courage and leadership. M. Latu

Negotiations can save the heartache of violence

It is heartening to read articles that make really good sense! When I read the numerous exchanges, I wonder if we ever take time to really think about what is going on, what needs to be done, and how to go about it. This country of ours is unique in this world because of many reasons. Amongst those is the fact that we have an absolute monarchy, the only surviving one throughout the Pacific. We have an honor system that is exercised in our families, extended families, villages, islands, and collectively as a people. The ideals that Tonga was built on were the work of past kings, chiefs, of warriors, of people who were known for their courage and leadership.

All in all the strands of respect and love were tightly woven into the fabric of society. Reverence was in our core; when we adopted Christianity, this feeling of reverence was transferred to God. If we deviate from that path it is because of personal weakness, much of which we witness in all walks of the Tongan life, and I mean from the top down.

Changes were made and still being made and HM is responsible for a lot of those changes, in our education system, in ventures into foreign lands, in introducing new ideas to farming and to fishing. Some of those ventures have failed, but as they say “nothing ventured nothing gained”. However, some ventures have been successful, the most successful of which is the founding of Tonga High School. Education is a wonderful thing! To me education enlightens us, acquiring wonderful well paying jobs is a bi-product of that enlightenment. Our ancestors acquired wisdom! Wisdom to know oneself, wisdom to behave appropriately. We must see through our acquired “smartness” to realize what is right for Tonga.

We must see through our petty differences, our desire to prove our fellow travelers wrong. We are not children, to be satisfied with “tit for tat”. When you hear talk of “bloodshed”, whose blood are we talking about? We are a people who are bound by our bloodlines; we are so interwoven that it would take an act of God to separate us. So who’s going to shoot who? Why the constant reference to violence? Do we forget who we are? We’ve been there, done that! We are Tongans for goodness…‚ sake. We resolve our differences by talking, by listening, and by talking some more.

Leaders of Tonga (royalty, chiefs, commoners) wake up! Do not make this your personal fight, we’re not fighting over your pots or your pans. This is our country, ruled by a King whose ancestor fought to free us, fought to unite us, and fought to distribute the spoils of war in the fairest way he knew how. Do not go about fabricating truths to fit your wants because that is simply not right. Do we ever stop to think that maybe we are trying too hard to adopt Western philosophies to fit in with our country? I am making reference to the leaders of Government as well as leaders of the people. Trying to copy or to follow other countries or adopt other philosophies will not work for us. Utilize the gifts God has given us. A monarchial system to rule us, royalty and chiefs to lead us, well educated people to guide us, church leaders to nurture us, community leaders to protect us. Exercise selflessness and remember always the welfare of the people is a priority. “Faka-Tonga” is respect, love, sharing and for God’s sake, take that mat and roll it out before it is too late!

Regards, M. Latu