It started gradually as it usually does. Like a still autumn day when the warming sunshine through the windows gives way to a creeping chill as dusk approaches.
We thought human rights were only trampled on in distant countries that we saw on the news. How many dictators had we heard invoking “emergency powers” to suppress dissension among their populaces?
It came a little closer after those Fijian coups. Our outrage and condemnation were strident, but we still sneaked off to the airport to make good our winter escape. And, as we lounged poolside, writing postcards to our friends and relatives who shivered at home, we couldn’t imagine our smiling, happy-go-lucky waiters and waitresses as an angry mob rampaging through the streets of Nadi or Suva.
Then Mother Nature delivered an unexpected gift to our government and their corporate allies to advance their agenda. Perhaps it was revenge for the callous, indifferent way we had been treating her.
A powerful, destructive earthquake in a major city gave the government the opportunity to enact special legislation. In the immediate aftermath of this disaster, this seemed a reasonable, even sensible, thing to do.
But, as time wore on, the beast revealed more of its claws. The wishes of the people were ignored or trampled on. Our political masters urged us to put our faith in “the Market”.
The mythical Market failed to deliver and some people who’d lost their homes were forced to sleep in their cars.
No one knows if the politicians were blinded by ideology or had their palms greased, but they handed power to large multinationals. Then we were done for.
We’d had the fight ground out of us. When they closed the schools and transported our children to labour camps, we put up very little resistance.
POET'S NOTE: Okay, okay, last flash fiction and then I'll go back to poetry. I promise.