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Death threats a crying shame. Let’s think about peace, forgiveness and humility instead

The front-page story titled “Police investigate death threats aimed at lawyer” published on the front page of the Samoa Observer yesterday is sad. It is a crying shame that these threats are being made in this country.We agree that we share a nation where people offer different views and opinions about issues from time to time. But then we’d like to think that this is part of a healthy democracy where freedom of expression, association and opinions are encouraged. We’d like to think we live in a democracy where no one should exist in fear in their own country, that includes fear as a result of threats for whatever reason.But this is not what is happening. According to the story in question, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, the lawyer for two of the men charged for allegedly conspiring to assassinate the Prime Minister, confirmed that her family has received death threats.And while the Police are investigating the threats, Unasa, who is also the leader of the Samoa First Political Party, told the Samoa Observer that she is considering withdrawing from the case.“The threats are directed at me, my children and my family,” she said.She did not say whom the threats came from. But in a post on her Facebook page, she said the threats were sent through her son, Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu’s Facebook page.“As there are threats to kill me and my family; (I’m) thinking withdrawal; Samoa [is] becoming dangerous,” she said.“[The] Police [have been] contacted as it’s the first time in my at least 30 plus years as lawyer in New Zealand and Samoa, my life and my family's lives been threatened. We are taking all security precautions and police alerted.”At the time the story was published, the Acting Police Commissioner, Papali'i Monalisa Keti, had not responded to questions from the Samoa Observer about what the Police are doing.From where we stand, we hope the Police take the threat on this family’s lives very seriously. They need to get on to it quickly and find these culprits.Let me tell you something here, in our line of work in the media, we know a thing or two about getting death threats. And let me tell you it’s not a pleasant feeling, it’s terrifying, especially when you do not know who is making those threats. It means you become paranoid about everything and anything – including the people you see and meet.Which is why we are saying that what is happening in Samoa today is extremely sad. Ladies and gentlemen, what we are seeing is something different, it’s a threat on its own that we should all be concerned about.We say this knowing that as long as these attitudes exist, no one is safe. You and I could be next, who knows?The threat on Unasa and her family couldn’t have come at a worse time. It comes at a time when the Police have arrested and charged three men in relation to an alleged plot to assassinate the Prime Minister. This is crazy, mind-blowing stuff.What with political assassination plots, death threats, young people becoming gangsters and so many other criminal elements rising, what is going on in paradise?Clearly we all need to wake up. As Samoans, we know we are a lot better than what we are seeing. What we need in this country today are cool heads, rational thinking and reasonable minds.In this part of the world, there is always a way to do things. There is a way to settle differences and disputes. It is not done through violence, threats on people’s lives, plots to assassinate high profile figures and whatever other method some people have come up with.Today let us think about peace and joy.  Let us think about dialogue, humility, love, forgiveness and mutual respect. This is how safety is guaranteed and differences are resolved in this place we call home. That is who we are as Samoans.That said, we accept that this is a very volatile time in this country. And with these sad developments emerging, we need to rise up as a people and stand united against it. We all have a part to play. And it’s not too late to change whatever the devil is intending to harm our country.Have a peaceful Thursday Samoa, God bless!

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Street Talk

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What does Manu Samoa need to do to prepare for the Rugby World Cup?

To me the Manu Samoa is good right now, but every game I watch they are doing great, and they should know know that in the Rugby World Cup competition they are going against the number one team of every country around the world. Well, from my observation of the game against Fiji, the thing that Manu Samoa need to improve is their fitness of players; the team should have a great fitness but the players have good skills in playing but they lack fitness. My view is Manu Samoa players are still not ready for the Rugby World Cup competition because they will go against Australia, South African, New Zealand and more. In terms of improving, the team should focus on the players' fitness of the back line players. I watched the game Manu Samoa vs Fiji on Saturday night. One thing I picked up  was lack of communication between the players, like the half-back and the first-five-eighth, but I hope when it's time for the Rugby World Cup our Manu Samoa team will be ready.  Watching the game on T.V., the players' fitness is lacking. [It seems they are] not being honest with their training. The coach are doing a great job but the players are the problem. I am a big fan of the Manu Samoa rugby team [and so is] my family. The main thing that they are missing out is discipline of the players. The Manu Samoa should work hard on the fitness of their players because that is the problem and also the discipline of the team. In the game against Fiji team they had lots of errors.For me, the Manu Samoa rugby team is doing good so far. And I support the team win or lose. Things like this happen in every team just like the All Blacks rugby team. But the one thing they should know is that a Samoan person plays from the heart. They should have known how the other teams play. The important thing is the heart of a Samoan because every Samoan represents the country with their hearts.There is a difference within our team's [makeup] and I know that the coach is still looking for some other players [not available for the Pacific Nations Cup]. In the game with Fiji they should have won by many points, but they did not. Improvements should [come from] the skills of the players  such as forwards and the back-line. And they should also work on the errors from the game against the Fiji team. My personal view of our Manu Samoa rugby team: they have not yet reached the level of other teams like South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and more. For teams such as Japan, U.S.A, and other teams Manu Samoa [usually] always wins against them. But now they lose. Communication between players is lacking, for example between the second- five-eighth and the half-back. 

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Letter to Editor

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Fair play for women please

Dear Editor,There is an outcry in the ongoing South Pacific Games, unfair play.We have sports catered for male and female how is it that there is a third gender destroying women sports. Where is the fair play that we so proudly claim that our sports uphold?! For a transgender to be allowed to compete with women is beyond outrageous, only a fool will believe that a man who has undergone surgery for a sex change will fully become woman in bone structure and muscle mass. The truth is there is a huge disadvantage to women, men are stronger they have greater muscle mass; they have denser, stronger bones, tendons and ligaments. The hormones that transgender take to reduce testosterone levels does nothing to reduce their strength advantage over women.For New Zealand to push their transgender athletes into the South Pacific Games arena is foul play. Have the rules been changed? Have the South Pacific Games committee put into place rules that allow transgender to compete in the women’s category? I doubt it. We should put forward a protest to this unfair practice before it becomes the norm. Just because the outside world claim it is right does not mean that the Pacific should go along with this stupidity. If they want to compete then they can have their own transgender competitions.For so long we have fought for women’s rights and now we are witnessing the eroding of those rights. If we do not act now, there will no longer be any women’s sport in the future it will be dominated by transgenders. God created male and female, two genders not three.Leutogitupaitea

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