Thursday, May 24, 2012

What does 50 years of Independence mean to me?

It reminds me that the freedoms I enjoy now where not always there.

That there are those who have suffered, who were enslaved, exiled, humiliated and died so we can be free.

Sometimes we are so busy fighting and arguing over issues today, we forget about the journey our ancestors took to get us here.

If we did consider them, we would have had more respect for our environment, value our language more and we would live more sustainably, knowing full well we have only ourselves to rely on.

Cutting the tree you needed to build your canoe, and leaving the rest for the future.

Living today but always having a plan for tough times, always.

Being prepared to work the land, to grow yam, bury breadfruits and ferment root crops for drought periods. Harvesting only what was needed. Cultivating the land and then leaving it to heal.

Samoans of yesteryear simply lived a life of self-sustenance, there was no international donors and aid to wait for, it was a man for himself.

There was no extravagance unless it was called for, where people gave what they had, because they did not receive a constant flow of remittance from abroad. They gave what they made, with their own two hands.

Yes, I am in awe at what our country have achieved, not in the last 50 years but long before.

50 years mean little for me, because in truth, the 50 years before that and long before, are the times when our ancestors shaped and carved a history and a culture of sustenance and resilience and real independence.

Independence? Ah, yes, the Mau a Pule (Savai'i) who, stood up to the might of the armed German Administration and insisted that Samoans can govern themselves.

Ioe, I think of Lauaki Namulauulu when I think of Independence, he had no weapons but was armed with the wit and finesse of a true Orator, who swayed and coerced chiefs above him to follow, to work together and to demanded answers from a misguided Administration.

What will our current elected Parliamentarians say to Lauaki if asked about their decisions of late?

Have they thought about the repercussions on the Samoan people? The environment? The drought? The tough times?

Are the leaders of today planning, working together and demanding transparency in their actions? (And no, not just lip service. Action.)

Are they prepared to shake off their insatiable appetite and culture of dependence?

I think not.

Therefore, I do not share in this modern celebration of a mere 50 years, rather, I look beyond that, because that is where the real work started.

I leave you with the parting words of mana by one Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III,

"My blood has been spilt for Samoa.I am proud to give it. Do not dream of avenging it, as it was spilt in peace. If I die, peace must be maintained at any price" (Black Saturday, 1929)

Happy 50 years of dependence Samoa.



Goldgurl said...

Love this post!! Completely agree with you that the Independence celebrations should be more about the many years BEFORE independence was gained. I envy your insight into our culture :)

Goddess said...

thanks Goldgurl, ...ooh, i like your name! I know very little about our culture, i wish i paid more attention when the oldies were talking!

panipopos said...

I'm really happy you wrote this post. I have mixed feelings about it, but I appreciate your honestly and I think a lot of Samoans agree with how you feel. I think if Lauaki and other Mau leaders were alive, they might be confused as to the Independence Day Entertainment - UB40, a Cinderella type Ball and Chinese Acrobats? And of course, they would not be happy with the culture of dependence that you've highlighted. Independence Day will be a bittersweet celebration I think.

RHD said...

Excellent post- I've made an argument for celebrating 3000 and 50 years of Independence at various meeting and get this puzzled look from most people. Its not like the most recent overlords were special- the Tongans were around longer and fa Samoa was only majorly changed in terms of the church in this last occupation. say hi to MM for me - ask how the camel is doing.