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A need for political reform

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Dear Matangi Tonga,

I'm sorry to sound like the devil's advocate, but I'm not sympathetic with the strikers or the government.

What I do agree with is the need for political reform. Personally, I'm not keen on having a King; on the other hand, I don't know enough about the leaders of this political/employment-related strike to make a sound decision. I know the need for reform is warranted; also, times have changed and the public appears to desire more representation in government. Fortunately, I believed this was bound to occur some time.

Ever since I left Tonga in 1990, remembering having lived under a monarchy was hardly a worthwhile experience to remember. In my opinion, the King was over-rated and the country is in desperate need of finding an established political/social/economic direction. Tongans have progressed far - socially, politically, educationally, etc.

How can the future of Tonga improve without more expression of the public's voice in the government? I'm sure it's possible, but the Royals' and Nobles' track record isn't too impressive. Granted, the media probably hypes the info and exaggerates the negatives to de-emphasize any positives the government, which is heavily influenced by the royals, might be doing.

Nevertheless, we live in a time of social expression beyond any reasonable comparison to past political reforms. Thank our brave forefathers - regardless of race, creed, or country - that have stood courageously against oppression. In this regard, Tonga is demonstrating the same expression from the results of establishing 'supposed' free speech, even though arguments can be made for and against this given recent developments.

Although the strikers mean well, some disturbing thoughts come to mind. For example, why do they use Che Guevara as a symbol of revolution? It was disgusting to see the strikers proudly wave his image. Then again, one can't suppress 'free speech', right? But, come on folks, he's not even in the same league as other extraordinary revolutionary figures that breed a more potent and morally establishing outcome. I won't name any figures, but you get my point (I hope). Anyhow, to hell with Che Guevara - of course, my view is all in the name of 'free speech'.

Ok, many biased thoughts shouldn't sway the situation one way or another. But, can one really discuss these issues without falling to one side of the fence?

My opinion might or might not be important, but nothing gives me more satisfaction than to see Tonga experience the much needed political reform. However it happens, nothing can stop the tense emotions sweeping the country.

Another writer wrote a few days ago comparing the Tongan royals to the British monarchy. I agree with the writer. The Tongan royals have much to learn from the family in Windsor.

This strike has evolved into a political reform movement. Pick your side and demonstrate your allegiance to the cause that favors you, your family, and all future relations. T4, give up running the country to the Tongans - not the few elite. The time has come for a 'peaceful revolution'. Regardless of the outcome, this situation will inevitably result in major changes to the small country.

Malo 'Aupito.
Rick Siale
rick [dot] siale [at] investools [dot] com