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Improvements in technology and travel have made reaching the Caribbean relatively easy and cheap. Barbados to Jamaica, all these island nations have seen an influx of tourists seeking a relaxing vacation. Both negative and positive repercussions have been identified. Research scholars on both sides of the issue have debated whether or not this….
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British officials believed that people of Africans descent were inferior and what was worse perhaps these racist attitudes were after internalized by Black and Brown people that is some Africans themselves became convinced that they were inferior to Europeans. With Emancipation in slaves became free to choose the nature of their future existence. A fundamental development during the post- emancipation period was the exodus…. It started as a tropical wave that later developed into a tropical storm, becoming one of the deadliest hurricanes in recent memory.
Causing thousands of deaths, injuries, billions of dollars in damages, and the impact on millions of people 's lives. The development of this storm, the damages caused, the short and long term effects, and the government 's response to the storm, is information the world needs…. Modernization theory refers to a variety of non-Marxist perspectives which have been put forward to explain the development or underdevelopment of countries. I would argue that the processes of investigation are the same.
I think there are distinct advantages in writing about more recent times, in terms of evidence and more varied opportunities to cross-check it. Oral evidence has an extremely vital role to play. It is a source, when properly used, that can enrich and deepen a study in ways that archival documents cannot. So I feel that in that sense there are opportunities.
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DM: But there are certain opportunities that you will not get in dealing with the more distant past, apart from the advantage of oral evidence and of course there is more evidence as time moves on. I am not questioning the points you made about the need for the critical approach, methodology and rigour.
But often the documents are not available to you, and in your book Broken Waves you could only use documents up to And also perhaps the constraints of common decency will not allow you to talk about certain things within the lifetime of individuals, in much the same way as Jim Davidson, when writing his book on Samoa, imposed a self-denying ordinance by declining to identify those people, especially close colleagues, when he had something wholly derogatory to say about them Davidson 37— BVL: Yes, certainly the points you make about the unavailability of certain kinds of documents can be a problem.
But when I researched the more recent period, from the s, I found that a lot of confidential material found its way into the media, into the Hansard of the Legislative Council and the House of Representatives, private papers and tapes of the meetings in the possession of individuals. Information is available in different ways and I think that I was not unduly disadvantaged.
And then of course you have the vernacular and English-language newspapers, which report meetings, issues and events of substance. While you do not know exactly what the governors said to London, for example, you do know broadly speaking what happened. For an historian it is not so much these facts but explaining them and providing the context that is important. The other point you raised, about people talking to you in confidence, is one we have to grapple with.
It does raise the ethical problem of how to use that evidence. The approach that I have taken is not to mention names, who said what to whom, but if I found the evidence credible, and was able to verify it independently, I would state the substance of their view without breaching confidentially, real or implied. I am not being dishonest with the evidence given to me but at the same time I am concerned not to divulge the source, unless the person said otherwise.
Of course, when you talk to people and get to know them, socialise with them, it does become rather difficult to write critically about them and there is always the risk of compromising yourself. For that reason I have deliberately kept myself away from the powers that be. I always want to maintain my distance and my independence. There is nothing more satisfying than writing the truth as you see it, unaffected by social obligations and unfettered by the potential consequences of your work.
If you had to write your book on the Fiji coup now, rather than in , in what ways would it be the same or different? BVL: This is a very important question. A few details here and there may vary, but the foundations remain unshaken. There was nothing inevitable about the coup. Coups do not solve problems, they compound them.
DM: In what ways do you apply your training as an historian to your work on the Constitutional Review Commission? Does it give access to insights and understandings that would not be possible otherwise? BVL: Yes. I think I have a fairly good understanding of the dynamics of Fijian history. I am aware of previous attempts at constitution-making, and I have read very carefully and closely the Hansard; the transcripts of the Constitutional Conferences in and ; the records of the Street Commission in ; and the various commissions in and attempts at constitution-making since When you see the kinds of issues that were raised, the kinds of solutions that were devised or proposed, you notice that the basic issues have not changed very much.
The same issues are repeated in various forms at various times.
So it is an awareness of the historical dimension that I bring to my present work on the Commission. I suppose I also bring the ability and the training of the historian to read critically, to make an evaluation of an enormous amount of evidence that comes your way through public submissions.
Reading, analysis, synthesis: these are part and parcel of our trade. Also, a certain humanistic perspective, as I believe that constitution-making is not simply a legal task; it involves people, it involves the hopes and aspirations of people, and in that sense the background and broadening experience in the humanities helps me understand better the large issues.
DM: You have written prolifically but you have also confined yourself largely to Fiji and the Indian diaspora. Even after all these years it has not reached the stage where historians indigenous to the region have moved outside their own cultures and backgrounds. Do you have any comment on this state of affairs? BVL: Yes, it is a pattern; but I am not sure that it is a bad one, actually, because we are able to offer a particular perspective, borne out of lifelong experience.
We have access to certain resources—language, people, data, evidence—that may not be easily available to others. And once you begin writing you tend to stick to a particular course, and unless there is a major shift in your life from one university to another, or some other circumstance, you tend to keep generally in the same broad field. It is natural and pretty universal, I think. The other thing that is important for me is the commitment I talked about earlier. I have a commitment to my discipline and profession, but my greater commitment is to the subjects that I write about.
I am very deeply committed to the history and politics of the country of my birth, as I am also to the broader Indian diaspora of which I am a fragment. I have not ventured further afield because there is so much that keeps me occupied.
- Bearing Witness: Essays in honour of Brij lauperwhahealjoi.ga - ANU
Unlike international relations experts, sociologists, and such, for whom the concepts and theories matter more than particular geographic regions or topics as such, historians tend to learn the language, immerse themselves in the culture, and that gives their work a certain depth and enduring quality.
They make a longer-term commitment to their particular subject. DM: There is also another point and that is the Pacific Islands of the s reminds me very much of New Zealand in the s. I grew up in a place where there were very limited opportunities for artists and writers, many of whom took off for greener overseas pastures. BVL: I think that is absolutely vital. I do not at all accept the idea that to write sympathetically and knowledgably about the Islands you have to live in the Islands.
Certainly you have to immerse yourself in the culture and learn the language, but the place where you work and write is irrelevant. In fact, it is very important for Island scholars to spend time outside the region, to reacquaint themselves with the latest developments in their fields. I am a strong believer in collaboration, in doing things together, helping each other out and sharing information, experiences, and, in the process, enriching ourselves and our discipline as well.
Patel Lal BVL: A. Patel was politically active in Fiji from the late s to the late s. Fine mind, fine intellect, who believed in democracy, liberty, equality, justice; who fought against colonialism and the mighty Colonial Sugar Refining CSR Company on behalf of the cane growers.
He was a man of wide reading and great learning. He spoke several languages and was the leading criminal lawyer in this country.
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Lord Denning, the Master of the Rolls, described him as one of the most outstanding advocates he had ever met. So I found him fascinating. These are things I find attractive, but I feel that he has not been given enough credit in the history of Fiji. He was the one, more than anyone else, who agitated for independence, and was responsible for the departure of the CSR Company in , three years after independence. I have never written a biography before and what I am trying to do in this work is to present an alternative vision for Fiji, and I have let Patel speak as much as I can. I am not being judgemental.
I just say: this is what he was saying, and the context in which he was saying these things. I place on record his thoughts, ideas and experiences, and create a text that others will hopefully find interesting and useful. BVL: Let me finish this constitutional work first. Corris, Peter.
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Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. Davidson, J. Journal of Pacific History , 1: 5— Wellington: A. Gillion, K. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Gunson, Niel ed. Inglis, K. Lal, Brij V.