F.A.S.T. use of Israeli flag unpatriotic: P.M.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi has questioned the loyalty of Samoa’s largest opposition party, Faatuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.), because of its prominent use of the Israeli flag.
At its official press conferences and other public appearances, F.A.S.T.’s party founder La'auli Leuatea Schmidt, often appears flanked by two flags: the Samoan and the state of Israel's.
But on his official programme with TV1, the Prime Minister said carrying the national flag of any country was a sign of “loyalty… absolute loyalty” and patriotism.
The Prime Minister referenced Samoan-Australian cruiserweight boxer, Jai Opetaia and Lupesoliai La'auli Joseph Parker during their fights.
“[Jai] walked in with the Samoan flag wavering in the background and we all saw his face- he has pride in his country and showcased by his flag,” Tuilaepa said.
“[It’s the] same thing with Lupesoliai and David Tua they both carried the [Samoan] flag with pride.
“Carrying the flag depicts your loyalty, absolute loyalty and sense of pride for your country of Samoa.”
The Prime Minister said Samoa raised its flag during its first independence.
“It was indeed an emotional day, as the flag slowly rose with the national anthem sung [in the background] –with the lyrics, Samoans stand up and raise your flag this is your crown,” said the Prime Minister.
“Look at the stars wavering [on the flag] that is your freedom.”
F.A.S.T.’s name translates to Faith in the One True God.
Some Christian denominations, particularly those rooted in Protestantism, believe that the gathering of the Jewish people in Israel is a prerequisite for the return of Jesus.
The idea has been common in certain religious circles as a means of fulfilling Biblical prophecy about the second coming of Christ. Catholicism does not place the same emphasis on the fulfilment of the prophecy of a second coming being realised by the creation of a Jewish homeland.
La’auli declined to comment when contacted by the Samoa Observer.
“No comment, [people] understand why we carry the Israel flag,” said La'auli.
During his programme, Tuilaepa also spoke about the national anthem and how it came about.
“There were only two hymns that were selected by a Priest at the time which led to the creation of the national anthem.” According to the Prime Minister, the flag was hand-printed by the Late Malietoa Tanumafili II that designed [our flag],” the Prime Minister said.
He said that F.A.S.T. continuing to carry the flag of Israel shows the party’s loyalty is divided.
“Their name should read Fa’atuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi ia Israel because they are carrying the flag of Israel,” he said while laughing.
"The public should know that these people are not Samoans rather they are Israelites."