New book on ethnic tension launched


FORMER politician Sam Alasia has come up with some findings in his newly launched book in Honiara last Friday as way forward for Solomon Islands in her nation building.

The title of the book is ‘Healing a wounded people; rebellion, reconciliation and restoration- an account of the ethnic tension in the Solomons – 1998-2003’.

The book comprises 11 chapters and is placed within a broad framework of state building and nation building is chronological in nature.

It covers the arrival of Spanish explorer, Alvaro De Mendana; events leading up to Independence in 1978; resistances from Guadalcanal and Western Province for state governments; ethnic conflict; Post Government of former Prime Minister Rick Hou; Solomon Islands signed diplomatic switch from Taiwan to Mainland China; November riots in 2021; security treaty with China; Pacific Games in 2023 and the General Elections in 2023.

Alasia authored the book in collaboration with University of South Pacific and Solomon Islands National University.

It is published by the Institute of Solomon Islands Studies.

Speaking at the launching at Saint Barnabas Cathedral, Alasia said the ethnic tension taught us three basic lessons.

They are:

  1. Never even think of starting a conflict again with another province or island;
  2. More decentralization to provinces is still required and
  3. We must involve in nation building to make the Solomons more of a nation than a state. As St Teresa Benedicta once stated, that a nation does not consist of what we have, but rather on who we are.

Alasia said some general findings of his book are:

  1. Yes, in some respects the ethnic tension was a conflict between the people of Malaita and Guadalcanal, however, more importantly due to lack of adequate nation building, both the Malaita and Guadalcanal people, become victims.
  2. The one China policy is obsolete, and a fallacy because when it was passed as a resolution at the United Nations in 1971, we were not yet an independent country, and we did not cast or vote either to support or oppose it.
  3. The 2024 general elections would the most important and sensitive one since our independence. This is because of the presence and interest by China in our political space.

Alasia said the present government has been successful in postponing the general elections in 2024.

“I strongly recommend that likewise, the government must work towards including a provision in the Political Parties Integrity bill of 2014, early next year, whereby a political party or grouping that commands a majority of MPs after a general election shall be asked by the Governor General to form the government.

“The parliament shall only endorse the new Prime Minister in a resolution, and not to conduct an election for the Prime Minister,” he said.

Alasia said this to negate the potential for tensions and riots both during and after the general elections.

Furthermore, Alasia suggested that public holidays should be declared to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of RAMSI’s arrival on 24th July 2023 and the signing of the Townsville Peace Agreement on 15th October.

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