An alarm, a warning

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Satapuala, Luatuanu’u, and now Salelologa and Salelavalu on the big island of Savai’i. What do they all have in common? Well some people there think they are above the law so that they can do whatever they like – including putting lives of innocent members of the public at risk.

While there are a number of factors in the lead up to the final decision to take the law into their own hands and disregard what’s legal, these incidents all have one common denominator. 

It is the idea that some people in these villages think they are more powerful than the law and that they can do whatever they like. 

Of course it is not confined to these villages. There have been instances where Police have been called to disputes within villages only to be chased away by armed men and chiefs who think the Police have absolutely no right to be there. 

Today, law and order in Samoa is under threat. There is no doubt about that. 

Indeed, what we saw from footages taken of the latest drama where there was a fight, and illegal road block, and the ransacking of the Salelologa market is a shameful image of Samoa. 

While only a handful are responsible, as a nation, it is not a proud moment for all of us. Those videos and photos show that we are people who have absolutely no regard for the law. They are barbarian images of mindless idiots and lawlessness.

We think we are moving forward? No. Let’s not kid ourselves, those pictures tell us we are clearly going backwards. Morally. 

So much for an official Christian-state? So much for a country where the streets are paved with images of the Bible and where tall church buildings in every village cannot be ignored? What a contradiction?

Folks, it’s easy enough to downplay the reign of terror on the big island of Savai’i during the past couple of days.

Some of us can say it is just another fight between the men of Salelologa and Salelavalu who have nothing better to do.

It’s equally easy to downplay it as the latest in a long history of fights that have erupted in the area over the years. 

It is also very easy to say that this is typical of what happens in Samoa, when villages stand up and take the law into their own hands.

That might be the case and yes we can probably downplay it and hope that it would eventually be forgotten.

But let’s not do that. 

If anything, these incidents should serve as a warning not just to our political, church, village and family leaders but to all of us. What are these incidents telling us? What is the message in what is happening in Samoa today? Are these warning signs? And how are we reading them and reacting?

For sure they are bad. We can go on calling the men of Salelologa and Salelavalu all sorts of names until the cows come home. That will not change a thing.

What we’ve seen at Satapuala, Solosolo and now on the big island of Savai’i could easily happen anywhere in Samoa today. 

We live in a very sensitive time. Think of a sun-scorched lawn, which has not been watered for months. All it needs is a little flicker to set it on fire.

It feels a bit like that in Samoa today. 

Take what happened between Salelologa and Salelavalu as a warning. There is impending danger up ahead. 

Have a wonderful Wednesday Samoa, God bless!

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