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Playing The Game

Posted on January 18, 2013

Maintaining freedom after a history of unrest.

It’s essential not to underestimate the importance of the peacekeeping operations that the ADF undertake. There are a range of national security concerns which arise when our neighbours are in a state of unrest, such as international relations, trade and tourism. However for me, it boils down to a moral obligation. I firmly believe that the strong should help the weak, and in this case it was allowing the people of a country, that in all honestly, no one else really cared about, to get back on their feet after civil war. Many Australians have no idea there was even a civil conflict in the Solomon Islands. They don’t know that people died, that militia controlled the streets, that the corrupt government failed the people, or that poverty and disease were running rampant. Why would they? It’s not Bali; no one goes there for schoolies. It’s not New Zealand, a developed country we flock to for adventure tourism. It’s just the Solomon Islands, which most people can’t point to on a map. To me though, that’s just the point. We were there to help people, not because we wanted to get tourism up and running, not because we wanted their resources or trade, not because the country is a vital stepping stone in some international expansion, but simply because they were our neighbours and they needed help.The history of the unrest can be boiled down to tribal conflicts. During WWII large numbers of workers were brought from one island (Malaita) to another (Guadalcanal) to assist with construction efforts. After the war, these people had established themselves and these two very different island cultures were thrown together. Tensions simmered for many years. During this time the country gained independence and many Chinese immigrants established businesses which eventually became the economic backbone of the country, aside from forestry and mining.

Click here to download Overcoat Issue Four: Freedom.

James Fagg studied Marketing at The University of Tasmania.

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