P.M. calls for calm, father says sorry
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has condemned the burning of the Samoan flag.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the Prime Minister described the action as “foolish.”
But he was quick to call for calm among Samoans all over the world saying there is no need for such animosity.
“The foolish act of one should not be used to instigate violence,” Tuilaepa said.
The Prime Minister did not elaborate.
But his opinion was sought after a disturbing image of a Samoan flag being burnt. The image shows a person who is identified as “Tanielu Tutuila” holding the burnt flag and smiling at it.
It is not known when the image was taken and what motivated it.
The image has emerged a few days out from the Toa Samoa vs Mate Ma’a Tonga’s clash at the Rugby League World Cup in Hamilton this weekend.
“Taniela Tutuila” quickly apologised for his actions.
“I am sorry for my act I have done towards the Samoan flag,” he writes on his Facebook page.
“I regret a lot because of my family, Tongans, and my first blood cousins. I hope you all accept my apology cousins. Gotta wait for the big karma to hit me real hard but hopefully this post is accepted to you all. One love to all ma islanders.”
Yesterday, Taniela’s father, Paane Tutuila, also apologised.
“First of all, I would like to apologise to all Samoans all over the globe and also to my Samoan friends and family for what my son had to the Samoan flag,” he wrote.
“I don’t condone this sort of behaviour from any of my kids because I didn’t teach them to go around and burn and disrespect your country’s flag."
“He is still a child and also a human being, humans do make bad decisions and mistakes, and no one is perfect. I have talked to him about what he has done and he is very remorseful for what he did to the Samoan flag.”
Paane, who did not discipline his son, also revealed that they too have Samoan roots.
“Would it make any difference if I had beaten him up? No it wouldn’t! That would have just made my relationship with my son worse if I did beat him up.”
“I've talked to him and told him what the consequences will be and he understands that. I've read some of the comments that has been posted, some are very understanding that he is still a kid and some are straight to chopping his head off, violence is not going to solve anything, it’s only going to create more violence between Tongan and Samoans, we've been through all that in the late 80s and early 90s, we don't need to go through that again.”
“My family is of Samoan/Tongan descendants that is why Tutuila is our surname.”
“Please find it in your hearts to forgive my son for his stupidity!! I promise to every Samoan who read this that he has learnt his lessons for what he has done. Thank you, from his dad.”
In South Auckland, tensions are rising and four people have been arrested as a result of an incident involving fans.
A video has emerged showing Samoan and Tongan fans in a mass brawl that blocked a South Auckland street.
Samoan boxing legend, Toaletai David Tua yesterday called on the Samoan community for calm.
He is joined by members of both communities who have been quick to call for calm - particularly among young people - saying the actions of one person should not ruin the relationship between Pacific nations and friends.
Danny "Brotha D'' Leaosavai'i, of record label Dawn Raid Entertainment, told his followers:
"Don't let the action of a minion corrupt the harmony of millions. Alofa still means ofa [love].''
Former heavyweight boxer Tua also spoke on Auckland-based Radio Samoa 1593, urging young people to disregard hateful comments being said on social media and promote peace between the two groups.
"We are all family,'' he said.