If Sogi loses, we all lose as a people

Dear Editor, 

Thank you Savea Sano Malifa for your editorial titled “So sad a story it could make a tyrant break down and cry!”

It matters not if Nanai Tokuma’s story is supported or not. This is where he and his ancestors lived and died. If they occupied this land illegally, why did the governments of Germany, New Zealand, Mataafa, Tamasese, or Tofilau, allowed it?

Why were these people able to reclaim the swamp, grow roots and made Sogi their permanent home without any government interference in all these years? Something stinks badly here. Something so wrong and immoral with what the government of Tuilaepa is doing with the people of Sogi. 

Every moral and ethical Samoan should find this case abhorring. These are Samoans, these are people with rights. Their human rights to a free life, liberty and pursue happiness have been shamefully violated by the government. Sogi is part of Samoa’s history, it is our story. 

My Samoa, it is Sogi today, but who will be next? It could very well be you or I, especially in light of the alienation land laws, “land title registration 2008” act as it has come to light in all it’s evil intentions. 

I stand with Fale Le’iataua, with Nanai Tokuma, with the people of Sogi. I cannot ask “...who the bell tolls for” because it tolls for you and I, Samoa. 

I grew up hearing a version of this hanging story from my late grandmother, one of the heirs to the Vaimoso Customary land of Fogautu. 

I am pushing 70, but I vividly remember, as a child, I swam in what was, for generations, called; “le loto o tama uli”, a section of brackish water, adjacent to our Vaimoso land and Mulinu’u, the Sogi Solomon Islanders frequent. 

Although I was a Samoan child, much lighter in color than my dark skin Solomon island peers, but we swam, dug and ate clams (kugage) and enjoyed life, unfettered and unafraid, paying no mind to our differences or the color of our skins. We all spoke Samoan, that was all we needed to understand. 

That’s the beauty of Samoa, the Samoa I grew up in, that most of us grew up in. This is the same compassionate Samoa which was lead by Prime Minister Mataafa, who no doubt, gave Sogi to Nanai Totuma’s forefather, as he claims, and all those who labored to reclaim (fa’aea) the swamp they call home. Rightfully so!

Why does Tuilaepa insist on violating a sacred honored gift given by the hand of former Prime Minister, Mataafa, a kind deed? 

PM Mataafa had faith his predecessors will honor his decision. 

So what is Tuilaepas motive, that he would blatantly insult us? It surely is not the “Alofa” and “Popole” for the people of Sogi, the song Stui has being singing. It is not because of the threat of another huge tsunami. 

No, this is a blatant lie! If it was so, why not force the people of Apia, Matautu, Vaitele, all of Samoa’s coastal villages to move inland/upland? (Although I cannot discount the future possibilities of such action, knowing the power of the money hand that is controlling the PM and his decisions) 

If Sogi loses, we all lose, my fellow Samoans. Sogi will mark the beginning of the end, either for good or for the evil designs and dictates of the heartless. No tears from these tyrants.


A. Pau

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