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Politicians, voters and the leaders we deserve

Politicians and leaders cop the blame all the time.That much is undeniable. In most cases justifiable, and for good reason. They hold positions that wield tremendous power and responsibility, which means the decisions they make have far reaching consequences.So when things go south, it is natural for people to point the finger at them, just as they would get all the praise when things go well. Which happens all the time. Whether it’s the government, church, village or individual families, the buck always stops with the leaders.This of course is not confined to Samoa. Everywhere else in the world we look today, people are pointing fingers at politicians and leaders. That’s why Trump, Xi Jingpin, Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson or any other prominent world leader you can think of dominate the world news. The same goes for this part of the world.The higher the profile and the portfolio they hold the more blame they get. You can say that it comes with the territory, right? After all, doesn’t tremendous power come with even more tremendous responsibility? It’s the nature of the beast.But are they completely to blame for how our world has turned out today? Now don’t rush in answering that. Think deeply about it.In the meantime, let’s bring it closer to home and think about Samoa for a minute. While we have come so far as a country and there is much to celebrate, the reality is that everywhere you look today, there are problems staring us smack in the face.Take for instance the increasing crime rate, hardship, poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, vendors, corruption, the menacing cost of living and much, much more. You see it everywhere. Dishonesty has especially become the new normal. People lie about things they don’t need to lie about.Some are stealing things inside church buildings, yes it’s happening in Samoa. And even taxi drivers are harassing poor women and robbing tourists with exorbitant fees. It’s crazy but this is the world we live in today. It’s a mad concoction of bizarre, nasty and downright ridiculous.How did we arrive where we are today? Did we miss something? Where did we go wrong?Which brings us back to the question we asked earlier; are politicians and leaders completely to blame? Is it totally their fault that we are seeing all these problems?Looking at the political landscape of this nation, are the leaders to blame for the fact Samoa has become a one party state where the Government is now in a position to do whatever, whenever? Don’t you think it is dangerous to have so much power concentrated in the hands of a party for so long? And whose fault is that?These are critical questions. We need to ask them today. We say this because we cannot deny that there is a climate of fear hovering above this country. We profess that we are a free country but people are talking in whispers. Paranoia is everywhere we look.Are leaders, especially political leaders, completely to blame?If the opinion of this writer were sought, I would have to say that politicians and leaders are accountable and responsible to a certain extent. They are the architectures of the systems and laws we have, the same systems and laws responsible for the current state of affairs, good and bad.But they are not the only ones responsible.The citizenship cannot escape blame. Ladies and gentlemen, those political leaders did not appoint themselves to those positions of power. We live in a democratic country where the power to put those people there belongs to the voters.In other words, the leaders we have today were placed there by you and me. Which means we are equally responsible for what is happening today.Why are we talking about this today?Well earlier this week, Prime Minister Tuilaepa told a little story during the launch of new political party. He spoke about how Samoan orators, and Samoans in general, have become experts at politics, especially the art of fooling candidates.  For instance, in the lead up to any election, Tuilaepa said his office is filled with orators and chiefs who visit to introduce a new candidate.“When they come to my office, they will say that they absolutely sure that this is the person chosen by God to be their new Member of Parliament,” Tuilaepa said.“A few weeks later, the same orators and chiefs will turn up with another candidate saying the same thing. They will come again in another few weeks with another different candidate.”Tuilaepa’s little story was met by laughter from the audience of course.But this story perfectly illustrates the point that as voters, we are equally to blame for the bad politicians we get. That’s because most of the time, greedy voters get greedy politicians.Which is precisely what we are seeing today. The point is that while the politicians are inevitably blamed for anything and everything, each and every one of us, as voters, must examine ourselves and check our motives. What we sow is what we reap.On this Sunday, think about the words of Joseph De Maistre, who said: "In a democracy, the people end up with the government and leaders they deserve."Have a restful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

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Street Talk

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Newborns being abandoned: How do we stop it?

Poutoa Polutele , 41, TufuleleThe solution is within families. The parents should have a connection with their children and they should also teach their child what to do. For the parents, if the girl gets pregnant they should not beat the girl. They should understand and talk with her, because the girl thinks that her parents might beat her and then she makes the wrong decision. It goes back to good relations.Siloi Reopoamo, 53, Saleia Savai’iI think it's very important that parents communicate with their children everyday. One of the biggest issues today is cellphones because too many children spend time on it.  For my family I talk to my kids every time and day, ever since my kids were young. That's my solution.Lina Leiataua, 64, Fa’atoiaI think the whole country should be involved in a programme to encourage girls to speak out when these things happen. We know we cannot stop so we have to be accomodating when it happens. There are also a lot of parents who cannot have children and I think there should be a programme where these children could be adopted. It's just an idea.Api Tuilo’a, 34, Safotu Savai’iOur country needs to repent and ask God for help. I cannot see any other solution unless God is involved. If girls and boys fear God, they wouldn't do what God wouldn't want them to do - and that includes abandoning babies born outside of marriage. We need to be a prayerful nation. Vaisuigi Malio, 52, Vavaai LotofagaThe issue is not new to Samoa. My solution involves families, the relationship between parents and daughter. The kids also need to understand where the parents stand on issues and why they don't want them to get pregnant. But if they do get pregnant, then the parents need to be patient and still work with their children. That's how we solve this.Le’ale’a  Mataia, 39, FalefaGirls who don't have a relationship with their parents would do this. I think that's the first part of the problem. I also think mothers need to read their daughters body language and find out what is going on. Surely there must be signs so they should not be passive. I think we need to tackle this issue as a community rather than individuals. 

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Letter to Editor

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A nation coming apart at the seams

I write in relation to some sad and tragic incidents with these poor little souls being abandoned without any regard to the almighty God who created these little lives, who by the way has been and still is watching and seeing whoever did these horrendous acts.You maybe able to hide it from the human eyes...but e ati le silafaga ale Atua ia te oe. Talofae ia te oe male tulaga lena ua e iai ile taimi nei. Ailoga e mafai na e moe, e le leai se filemu i lou mafaufau. E o'o lava ina e savali mae e fasa ile auala. Talofa e, e Alofa le Atua i tagata uma.This is the even more tragic side of this kind of act which should have been the first and foremost thing to look at if we as a nation are to find solutions.We need to fix the mentality that creates the situation, resulting in unwanted babies.Malo lava i le Samoa Family Health Association. O lo'o fai pea a latou galuega ile fa'ailoa o auala ese'ese e puipuia ai le fai ose pepe i taimi le talafeagai, so they are pushing their message of family planning etc.But they need to go out even further into the community.I thought there was a great suggestion by Rev. Aisoli Iuli about the baby Hatch. Yes its an overseas thing but if it saves one precious life, why not? These work very well overseas by the way.The message from the Samoa Victims Support Group is loud and clear. Malo Siliniu Lina Chang.If you're a young girl or any woman who finds themselves in this unfortunate situation as a result of poor decisions or whatever circumstance, please visit the SVSG and talk to them if you can’t talk to your family. There is help available.  There is a reason why the Maternity Wing was created at the Samoa Victim Support Group for this very purpose.There are not questions, no judgment. Just love and help for you.They can house you until the birth of the baby and either you take baby home or lots of folks are listed for adoption. Some one is ready to take baby home, not throw them away like this.Lastly, I believe we can resolve this issue with God as our Support and Leader.The government schools are doing some Sex Education but that is still not enough.It’s ok for the young people attending school but what about the young woman or girl out in the village or at home not going to school anymore and she finds herself pregnant? Tulou lo’u gutu male afi, o i tonu lava e pa'u ile faletua ole Ekalesia, aua e fai a tatou mafutaga a Tina i aulotu uma.This is a good way to bring the moms and young daughters of your congregations, and talk about this topic.Reassure them if it does happen because we are still in and of the world, there is always someone to talk to. Likewise the Fathers and young sons and men...THE BIBLE DOES SAY, YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF GOD.That’s my two cents piece. Collectively with Love and understanding instead of anger and condemnation. Samoa we can help each other. God bless.Manuia le Aso. Ma lo'u fa'aaloalo,Lupe-Lu Lohmann

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