Right wing commentary on world politics from a man on a mission to prove that Conservatism transcends national boundaries. Thoughtful comments from people of all political persuasions are welcome and encouraged. Contact the blogger at elephantman.conservaglobe@gmail.com.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Trouble in Paradise: Riots Engulf Tonga


The South Pacific islands of Tonga may be a may be a picturesque land of palm trees and sandy beaches, but just a few days ago it's streets are also filled with rioters, looters, burning cars, and broken glass. Riots erupted in the capital city of Nuku'alofa when the nation's parliament seemed ready to adjourn without passing promised democratic reforms. Luckily, the legislature got the message and changed the country's election laws so that the majority of parliament will be elected by the people in the 2008 election, but not before 80% of the buildings in Nuku'alofa's main business district were destroyed. Calm has prevailed, but Australia and New Zealand have dispatched several hundred military and police to keep the peace.

While I am glad that Tonga is becoming more democratic, I think that this is a perfect example of how NOT to petition your government. Letting politicians know how you feel is one thing, but these riots led to mass chaos and eight deaths. Looting businesses and torching automobiles is not a form of political protest - it's just common thuggery.

PLEASE LOOK AT THIS LINK: The site "Planet Tonga" has posted this photo gallery of downtown Nuku'alofa in flames, these pictures should help you understand why I think it that it is so important to let people know about the events in Tonga.

This BBC photo essay is also a good snapshot of the violence, and you can also click here to link to an AP news story on the subject.


At Sat Nov 18, 08:15:00 PM MST, Blogger JB said...

A violent revolution for democracy is at least better than a violent revolution for dictatorship. I'm all in favor of peaceful petitioning, but sometimes you don't get any progress until you get in there and bust some heads. Of course, I have no idea whether the problems in Tonga have been going on long enough for it to have been clear that fighting was the only way.

At Sun Nov 19, 12:44:00 AM MST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in Tonga and that is my home - my family lives there - I am very upset with the riots and destruction caused and by the ethnic motivation for the looting and violence against the chinese and indian shopkeepers who are tongan citizens and married to tongans. This violence and looting is not the christian way and not part of our culture - it has certainly tarnished the view of the pro-democracy movement among educated tongans living abroad our economy is devastated by what has happened, it has created tension and feelings of fear and the tourists and foreign nationals are fleeing. I am upset by those people who are not Tongans and who try and comment on our situation and country.

At Mon Nov 20, 08:16:00 PM MST, Blogger JB said...

I am sorry for what is happening in your country, but the fact that Elephantman and I are not Tongan does not invalidate our opinions - ESPECIALLY E-man's, as he is the most informed person I've ever met when it comes to international political happenings.

Is one required to be a five-year-old in order to have opinions about parenting? To be a singer in order to comment on music? To be a politician to complain about how the government is being run? There is a place for everyone's input, and I do not appreciate attempts to preemptorily dismiss my opinions.


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