There are some decisions that Parliament takes extra precaution in
deciding its way forward - for example - the national electoral reform
process and the current land commission consultations. The processes
used in both even went as far as to consult the Tongan diaspora in
Australia, NZ and the USA.
Then there are those decisions that are made in the blink of an eye,
in one parliament sitting, such as the decision to send our troops to Afghanistan. This is a decision that clearly has detrimental impacts
on the entire nation. The British government simply requested our
assistance and we said yes.
So why is it that some decisions are subject to such close scrutiny,
and others not?
If it is because the argument to help the British and the USA fight
for democracy in Afghanistan is so strong, I think we need to re-look at our
We haven’t even achieved full democracy in Tonga and are poorly
lacking in the area of women’s human rights. Fiji – who has also
deployed troops and had troops die in Afghanistan – is backsliding big
time on their commitment to human rights and democracy.
Why on earth are we travelling half way across the world to get
involved in a war that claims it is for democracy and human rights
when most of us in the Pacific haven’t even achieved this?
Violence begets more violence. More and more Afghanis are viewing
American and British troops with hostility for a war that has now
ravaged their country for years. One of the biggest motivators for
strengthening the numbers in the Taliban is the death of Afghani
citizens – one death can mean that up to ten more volunteer to become
involved in the Taliban and avenge the death.
Meanwhile, we are preparing ourselves to get involved in this war.
It’s time to ask whether we should even be involved at all.