New Zealand forces are withdrawing from Tonga. Good. I was deeply uneasy about their presence, particularly in light of the opposition of the Tongan democracy movement, and I'm very glad they didn't have to shoot anyone. The worry now is what happens next time - becuse unless the Tongan monarchy shows some significant progress towards reform, there will be a next time. Are we going to keep propping up a corrupt feudal regime against its own people? Or are we finally going to stop merely whispering about Tongan democracy and lay out the facts of life to the aristocracy: that the old way of lording it over the "dirt eaters" (as they so politiely call their fellow citizens) are no longer sustainable, and they have a choice of either yielding power voluntarily - or having it taken from them by the mob.
Meanwhile, IndyMedia has a pair of activists in Tonga filing reports and photos. You can read them here: