Fiji Coup 2000:

some notes and essays by Rod Ewins

A short series of notes and essays initially written and emailed to concerned friends and anthropologist colleagues during and following the crisis in Fiji that followed the kidnapping, on 19 May 2000, of Fiji's Prime Minister and his parliamentary colleagues, by a group of 7 armed men. The events that followed are a matter of copious media record, but these notes, together with those to which links are provided, were my attempt to provide some background to the events as they happened.

George Speight & soldier during the coup attempt.

The Insurrection

1. The day after (20 May 00)

2. Fiji's new Western Confederacy (9 June 00)

3. Fiji's mythical edifices of unity (12 June 00)

4. The Fiji "tour de farce" continues (28 June 00)

5. The end of the beginning? (12 July 00)

The Aftermath

6. Speight's Elba (1 August 00)

7. Speight and the media circus (8 August 00)

8. More killings (10 Aug 00)

9. Mutiny of CRWU soldiers (4-5 Nov 00)

10. Chaudhry and the future of Fiji (4 Feb 01)

11. Voreqe Bainimarama, the Fiji Military Forces, and coup threats (6 Nov 06)

Reviews of Books relating to Coup 2000 (written 2001)

1. Confronting Fiji Futures (ed. Haroon Akram-Lodhi)

2. Fiji Before the Storm (ed. Brij V. Lal)

All of these notes and articles are copyright. Apart from those uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (as amended), no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the author.

Of particular relevance:

John F.Wilson, one of the architects of Fiji's 1997 Constitution, analyses in some depth the issues raised by the Speight-led coup. It is: Fiji, the Burma of the Pacific.

Hereniko, Vilsoni. 2003. "Interdisciplinary Approaches in Pacific Studies: Understanding the Fiji Coup of 19 May 2000". The Contemporary Pacific 15 (1): 75-90. Full text online:

Other insightful analyses published in print but not online are:

Lal, Brij V. 2000. 'Madness in May: George Speight and the unmaking of modern Fiji.' In Fiji before the storm: elections and the politics of development, B.V.Lal (ed). Canberra: Asia Pacific Press (Australian National University), pp.175-94.

Lal, Brij V. & Michael Pretes (eds). 2001. Coup: reflections on the political crisis in Fiji. Canberra: Pandanus Press, Australian National University (Canberra)

Field, Michael, Tupeni Baba, & Unaisi Nabobo-Baba. 2005. Speight of Violence: inside Fiji's 2000 Coup. Reid Publishing (Auckland) and Pandanus Books, ANU (Canberra).


Disclaimer: These links are chosen because of their clear relevance to the topic. Their presence here does not imply either agreement or disagreement with the views of the authors concerned.

P.M. Chaudhry's "first year" address | Comment by Teresia Teaiwa | Nandan Satendra comment | Cyril Belshaw comment | An Indofijian asks why? | A Fijian speaks out | Fiji Coup 1987 (Rory Ewins) | Coup-coup land: the Press and the Putsch in Fiji |

Fiji Live News | Pacific Peoples' Partnership | Diary of the Coup | Melanesian Interest Group | Union College Fiji page

Rod Ewins August 2000, October 2004, August 2005