I am currently living in California of the United States, and I am just devastated of the recent attacks on our city. I just left Tonga two weeks ago from my uncle's funeral, and the last memory I had with Nuku'alofa was having breakfast with my cousin at Cafe Escape. I have gone back to Tonga every school holiday for the last 8 years, and as an American born I have witnessed some great developments in Tonga's capital. I am just shocked and sadden of the destruction of the beloved city, and hope that those who were involved and those whom lead the riot face punishment for their actions. I do understand that every society fears dissent, and dissent is inevitable when a faction of individuals feel "oppressed" by higher authority, but I do not believe violence is a solution.
It's heart aching to scroll through your photos, to see my family's buildings, their shop, and my auntie's restaurant in complete ruins. I guess I am one of the lucky ones who are native born (primarily US citizen) to have lived and walked through the once vibrant capital of Tonga. I know cousins of mine, whose first and last glimpse of Nuku'alofa are the photos of destruction posted on your website. So I am very grateful that my siblings and I, were given the opportunity to experience Nuku'alofa. Coming this summer won't be the same with out the capital. The persistence of my memories are making it difficult to accept the fact that the city no longer stands on its feet.
I admire your consistency with keeping "Matangi Tonga" running. It's good to know that the most controversial paper in Tonga is devoted to its readers by providing us with the latest detail of Tonga's current situation and newsworthy articles. From a student of international relations and journalism, to an individual in the professional world, I wish you and your staff the best of luck. My prayers and concerns are with your staff and the community of Tonga.
Ane Tokanga Fuifuilupe Tapa'atoutai
ttapaatoutai [at] gmail [dot] com