Tensions are rising after an image emerged of the Samoan flag being burnt. What went through your mind when you saw it? Is it a crime or is it freedom of speech? What would be your reaction if you see this person? Nefetiti Matatia asked in today’s Street Talk and this is what people said:
Pea Papali’i, 21, Vaitele
The burning of another country’s flag is not right. It is a crime. I know that one thing is for sure, things like this are bound to happen usually in events, such as rugby, where we become very competitive. Over the years Samoa and Tonga have always had this disagreement with one another. It started way back, where the Tongans ruled us for 300 years and we took back our freedom and fought the good fight. I will just remain neutral, I will do nothing if I see him, does not matter as long as everybody here in Samoa is safe.
Paepae Tavesi Talamumu 32, Faleasiu
I am very disappointed with this young boy. The action of this boy is very inappropriate and what he has done is a crime. It is important that we get to talk about issues like these because it is a sensitive matter to any Samoan. If I ever find out that he is in Samoa I will not do anything that we Samoans would usually do. We must forgive and look out for our sisters and brothers from the Pacific Islands. The only thing that we should do is for us to go follow the right path, which is the law. Let the law punish this young man for what he has done burning our flag.
Ioane Ieremia 19, Luatuanuu
I feel very sad and angry. It is hard to take in what this boy has done; he doesn’t know how painful it feels seeing a different person from another country burn your nation’s flag. In my own opinion it is a crime. Our people should be calm and forgive this boy for what he has done. We should obey the words of our Lord and forgive those who have done wrong against us.
Feoi Tulua 27, Vaimoso
Looking at the photo makes me sorrowful because we as Samoans take pride in our culture and who we are as Samoans. And we value our flag because it shows the world who we are. We are a country founded on God. The stars symbolises our Lord and Saviour, so basically our flag holds a special place in our hearts. When somebody burns our flag, it shows how much he does not care and respect our people and what we value; above all not respecting God himself. So in my opinion, I am not happy with the actions of this kid who burnt our flag. It is a crime. This young man should go to church so that God could renew his mind from these entire negative thoughts that he has. I say it’s negative because look at what he has done that is just not right.
Rosa Penei 53, Lotopa & Safotu
This boy did not just burn the flag only he has burnt the hearts of the Samoan people too. If you see the games on the television, you will see how many people come with their flags to show the world who they are. Every time I see our flag on the television with someone I may not know who is holding it I feel very proud and there are tears of joy; because I know I am a Samoan and our nation is our treasure. I do not want anybody to ruin or disrespect our flag. It is a crime and he must be charged for burning our flag. I am very heartbroken with this matter. If that boy was here in Samoa and he did that, by now he would’ve been dead already. It’s true that Samoa may be small but we have come a long way in terms of sports and how our boys in blue are making our name known to the world and putting us on the map. I believe that we should look for this kid and bring him here to Samoa so we could teach him a lesson and to ask him what he was thinking when he burnt our flag. The boy who burnt the flag is not young; he knows the consequences of his actions. It does not matter if he is 16 or 17 years old, he is old enough to know the consequences of burning another country’s flag.
Tagaloa Fomai 54, Apia
The way I see this boy, comes to show of how little this boy knows about the flag because what he has done is just disrespectful. All countries value their flags and they take so much pride in it because our flag shows our independence and who we are to the world. I am more disappointed because it was a person from my family who wrote our national anthem. His name is Sauni Kuresa. I grew up in the house where he practiced how to raise the flag and at the same time write down the lyrics for the National Anthem. I believe the government should do something about this kid and what he has done. We must teach him a lesson. This reveals how much of a show off he is and having no manners whatsoever.