The Bullying Stops Now

This sh*t has to stop.’

Such intemperate language rarely appears in these pages, but in this particular case, it’s a bit of an understatement. These were spoken by the person who informed us of the reported abduction down at the seafront yesterday.

Florence Lengkon has bravely stood up against what appears to be a clear case of mafia-like violence and intimidation, and we stand with her. Her story, which appears in today’s newspaper, is far, far too common.

We can show compassion for the difficult circumstances, agree that nuance is required to fully understand the tensions and solutions to a complex question of economic and social justice. We can admit there are good reasons people are angry.

But first, we have to stop threatening and beating people.

It is utterly, criminally reprehensible for any man—for any reason—to strike any woman, let alone the slip of a girl who features in the headlines today.

And for what? Because she called some taxi and bus drivers ‘big headed’ and ‘unprofessional’.

Words are simply not sufficient to describe how despicable, how cowardly and how damaging this kind of behaviour is. Such actions bring shame to the nation.

What Ms Lengkon described to us yesterday was unacceptable in any society, under any circumstances. Just as we did with corruption in politics, the perpetrators must be found and made to face the consequences.

There’s no point waiting for the police. This bullying has to stop now. And the way it stops is for people to stand together.

Here’s what we need:

Next cruise ship day, we hold a peaceful march, led by the men who call themselves our leaders, down to the wharf.

No placards, no banners, just warm smiles and maybe some salu-salu to hang on the necks of visiting tourists. And when the taxi and bus drivers come crowding in, they politely but firmly get crowded right back out.

We keep saying we’re the happiest country; well it’s time we showed it.

We stop the bullying, and we stop it now. It’s our problem to solve, so let’s stand with Flora and refuse to give these bullies any ground to stand on.