From reading many of the submissions to the Constitutional Commission I seem to get the feeling that sections of the Itaukei Fijian community are afraid of losing their identity along with their culture and traditions if the rest of Fiji's people are called "Fijians" and if the "protective" institution of the Great Council of Chiefs ceases to exist in it's old format.
There's also a 'real' or 'perceived threat' in the minds of some in the Itaukei community that they risk losing more than their identity to other communities if what the government is proposing, happens.
I empathise with those of the Itaukei community who feel this way and I can also understand their deep seated fears.
Please allow me to share what I experienced as a child growing up in Fiji in the hope that you will understand what it was like for someone like myself and many others like me.
When I was old enough to understand, I knew that I was 'different' from the other children growing up around me.
Despite my Dad bringing me up to believe that all human beings were equal in the sight of God, I really didn't believe this about my life in Fiji because I sensed and felt a deep seated resentment from some in the community towards me.
I went to a Catholic Primary school that was segregated which made me think that there was something 'wrong' with us kids who wore blue shirts instead of the white shirts of the children in the European school.
There were times when abuse was hurled at me because of my Indian ancestry by children of both the European school and those of the Itaukei community.
I was called despicable names while being beaten up to drive home the point that I didn't belong and needed to go back to India.
Funny thing was, I never knew where India was and why people called me by this name. I thought that wherever it was, it must be a horrible place if this is the way people felt about me and this place called India.
I couldn't understand why people felt this way about me as I had done nothing to hurt or harm them in any way. So whenever possible, I would shy away from these people because I found it easier to cope. Sometimes at night, when I would pray, I would ask God to take me away or do something to change the way things were. I hated my life, I hated India and I hated living in fear.
Anguished questions about my identity continued to plague me as a child and I was faced with a deep dilemma - Who am I? Did I belong in the country of my birth? Would I ever be accepted as being just another kid in the neighbourhood? Or was my ethnicity going to forever haunt my existence?
I 'hated' myself for being born in a country that treated me, and those of my ancestry, with such loathing and disgust. What did we do or didn't do that made people feel this way about "us"? I couldn't understand it or figure it out.
When I attended Sunday School at the Dudley Methodist Church in Toorak, and as young as I was, I was deeply troubled.
I would often ask God why the people of my Indian heritage were despised and hated so much? In the deepest recesses of my heart I felt a peace and an overwhelming presence of love that I felt God was comforting and confirming for me that one day everything would turn out OK. I didn't understand it at the time but I knew it was there.
As I grew older I became friends with other kids in my neighbourhood. They seemed to be 'accepting' of me until something happened that would bring ethnicity into focus.
It was during these times that the deep-seated loathing and hostility would surface bringing with it all the ugliness of racism.
Somewhere along the way, to help cope and survive the onslaught of the prejudices I endured, I decided to mentally 'shut' out the slurs.
As I did this, I found myself becoming 'stronger' on the 'inside', not allowing the poisonous barbs to affect me. I began to realise that the people who were 'saying' terrible things about me and my race of people were either ignorant or probably been hurt themselves. I grew a 'thick skin' to protect myself and it began to work for me.
As time went on, this attitude helped 'shift' my position and thinking, so much so, that I entered any racial fray and discussion, often questioning those with a racial prejudice. It seemed that they didn't expect to be questioned and it silenced my critics as I would often pointedly ask them why they felt the way they did about my race of people. Their answers often lacked substance and they would feel embarrassed by their hollow outbursts.
I became unafraid of people as I began to look deeper into why people felt the way they did. I began to study God's Word in a way that I would never have thought possible.
It encouraged me to understand why Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well.
The Samaritan people were also despised and hated, yet Jesus crossed the racial divide to touch her life in such a significant way that it changed her forever. By doing this, Jesus was sending a message - that the Kingdom of Heaven is for all and that we are all equal in the sight of God and equally loved by Him.
The story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible builds on the same theme and the same message.
As I studied and learned about the blessed holy trinity of the father, son and Holy Spirit, I began to understand that each part of the Godhead was different from the other yet they were ONE and the same.
This unity of the Holy trinity began to help me understand what God requires of mankind - to accept each other as one people, even though we are different.
This Heavenly and Holy concept is beautifully described in the Bible from Leviticus Chapter 19, verses 33 and 34, "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him.
The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native born love him as yourself for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord Your God!"
For as long as I can remember, I have always been treated as an "alien" in the land of my birth by the Colonial masters before Independence and by successive Governments since, simply because of the Apartheid style constitutions that have governed Fiji - separating people and families along ethnic lines and forever reminding people like us that we didn't belong.
Any Apartheid style constitution is, first and foremost, un-Holy in the eyes of God.
It is not of God and makes a mockery of His Righteousness. It must be torn down and replaced by a just Constitution that celebrates God's Will for Justice and Equality. Anything less mocks God.
For the coup culture to end in Fiji, the demonic must be stripped of it's power which lies at the heart and seat of a Government and the "attitudes" that are built on Division and Separation along Ethnic lines - which is why Fiji has been continuously affected by Division, Discord and Poverty.
Rather than the Great Council of Chiefs - I would propose a Great Council of Elders to also include Chiefs - just like in the Bible to give wise counsel in the affairs of all of Fiji's citizens.
I believe that the Itaukei community are at the cross-roads of making one of the most significant decisions in their history since receiving the Gift of Salvation from the early missionaries - to choose God's way of conducting the affairs of state or continue walking down the road of perdition spawning the coup culture.
I believe that if you choose God's way then you will unite the nation and the coup culture will end, never again to see the light of day.
How do I know this?
Simply because God is good at His word and His promises from the Holy Bible - "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
If Fiji chooses God's Way, you will begin to see the cloud of despair and hopelessness lift and make way for His Light.
I pray that you will choose God's Way because your decision will decide your destiny and the destiny of future generations.
nColin Deoki is a Fiji-born living in Australia. He is a frequent Letter writer and Opinionist to The Fiji Times. The views are his and not of this newspaper.