Josefa Iloilo

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Ratu Josefa Iloilo has been the President of Fiji since 2000.

Opening address to the National Day of Prayer in Suva, 15 May 2005 (excerpts)[edit]

  • "The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation. It enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our forebearers sought the wisdom of God faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call to us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a nation."
  • "I am … aware that there are those who feel that national unity could be hastened by pressing some buttons and out comes the results, (but) I want to remind you again that the attainment of genuine reconciliation and unity is a long term process."
  • "We are reminded of the principle of sowing this morning. That is whatever you sow you shall reap. If you sow the seeds of harmony, peace and goodwill you will reap the fruits thereof. If you sow the seeds of discord, hatred and injustice you cannot expect to reap good results. A healthy tree bears healthy fruits while the contrary is true of an unhealthy tree."
  • "God’s signs are not always the ones we look for, yet the private prayers of people, whether in our homes or in this place, are known, heard, and understood. There are prayers that help us last through the day, or endure the night. There are prayers of friends and strangers that give us strength for the journey. And there are prayers that yield our will to a will greater than our own."
  • "God created this world with a moral design. Grief, tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance, and love have no end."
  • "It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is true of a nation as well. We see our national character in our ability to rally together in times of difficulties, celebrations and in eloquent acts of sacrifice."

Opening address to the Great Council of Chiefs meeting, 27 July 2005 (excerpts)[edit]

  • "The nation looks to us as chiefs not only of the Fijians, but also for all of Fiji, to assist in unifying a divided society and promoting stability and goodwill."
  • "We are called here at a critical moment of our country."
  • "Perhaps, most importantly, we must continue to demonstrate that the system we represent is valid for an era of sweeping change. The title bequeathed to us through our indigenous heritage speaks of Fijian identity and culture and the integrity of the Vanua. The chiefs, the land and the people are one. That is the concept that holds the Fijian community together. And now, more than ever, we must see to it that it is preserved and adapted for the 21st Century."
  • "We should never forget Ratu Sukuna's warning about the dangers of chiefs simply becoming decorations. He said if that happened they were finished."
  • "Before we are in a position to advise our people on the right course we must also make sure that we have the knowledge and the awareness required to fulfill this duty properly. If we do not have this, we can not lead."
  • "When we are equipped with leadership skills that complement traditional rank, we are appropriately prepared to provide the inspiration, the motivation and guidance expected of us. The ethos of 'vakaturaga' (chiefly way) will then retain its true place in Fijian culture in this new millennium."
  • "So many things compete for our attention and action as we address what must be done to take the Fijian race forward."

Speech opening Parliament, 1 August 2005 (excerpts)[edit]

  • "I welcome the democratic process allowing all sections of society to express their views on the proposed legislation. The debate taking place is, in itself, helping the nation to understand that reconciliation is a difficult but necessary process." (on the government's controversial plans to set up a Commission empowered to compensate victims and pardon perpetrators of the political upheaval of 2000).
  • "As parliamentarians you must carefully examine your conscience on the deliberation of sensitive issues and not be swayed by divisive racial remarks which have been a common and unfortunate hallmark of debate in our Parliament."
  • "We hope and pray that by our efforts today and in the future the tenor of debate in this august house will greatly improve to carry the country forward in peace, harmony and reconciliation between all the races."
  • "We, the members of this country need to rectify this omission (of having failed to dedicate the Parliament to God previously) by dedicating the Parliament and those who serve through it to our Heavenly Father, who directs and guides us in our daily deliberations."

Fiji Day address, 10 October 2005 (excerpts)[edit]

  • "It is important that we continue to strengthen our economic and political progress. We can achieve this only if we can make an effort to face our past to allow relief and dignity for those who have experienced violations and to ensure that that pain is acknowledged. The root cause to our experience must also be effectively dealt with. This will involve all of us right across our society."
  • "It is not just about the need to identify victims of specific events and the experience but to also accept that this includes many others who consider themselves victims too. We urgently need the mechanisms to deal with the differences as they emerge because we want to progress together."
  • "We must pause and commit ourselves to these ideals of a democratic society. Today we must celebrate the remarkable freedoms that we now enjoy in our nation. This must be our commitment to those rights we value as well as the responsibilities that come with their expression."
  • "Disharmony and conflict are always to everyone’s loss and anguish. We stand again today to forge ahead toward a stronger nation."
  • "We urgently need the mechanisms to deal with differences as they emerge because we want to progress together. Today we must start to resolve to make a difference, individually, as families and communities and we cannot do this alone as we need others and more importantly the wisdom and divine intervention in our affairs."
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