Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NZ Sends Troops to Riot-Torn Tonga

There was an uprising and riots in the island kingdom of Tonga this past weekend. Tonga is ruled by a monarchy that owns most (if not all) of the infrastrucutre there and allows a certain number of parliamentary seats to be held and voted on soley by the "noble" class. There has been a groundswell of democratic reform opposition, and it finally erupted. I am operating on the hunch that while the majority of those pushing for democratic reform are, in fact, "pro-democracy," the violence that saw businesses destroyed and 6 people killed was a result of youth thugs and socialist, anarchist agitators that saw the rallies as an excuse to do what they do best: create chaos.

The NZ government has sent troops to restore order, but many here see that as a bad idea because it amounts to nothing more than propping-up the monarchy. Each year NZ sends millions of dollars in different forms of aid to Tonga, and many Kiwis see this as hypocritical: If we want to push for reform in that country, then that aid should be used as the "carrot" to encourage said reforms; otherwise, let the king take it in the pocket, since not much of that aid actually is realized by the common Tongan, which is why many of them come here.


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