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October 12, 2009


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There is a pull between the Palauan traditional politics and democracy. "Olbiil er a Kelulau" means all decisions are done through whispering. This also prevents ancestors from interrupting decisions. In this setting all chiefs follow protocols according to their ranks, and individuals have no voice. Chiefs are ready to shed blood or die for their titles. We have placed a traditional understanding, "Olbiil er a Kelulau", on new form of government, democracy. Ke dousbech er a beches el tekoi er Belau el mo ombil a "omelib el llach" me le terbengii a kodelir a rechad el omtok er a miltutk el mo melib a llach.

It doesn't have to be either or (traditional or elected). The problem is the way our government is structured. Our President is both Head of Gov. and Head of State. If we take after a parliamentary system, we could have a better balance of power and harmony between both leadership. The way it is now doesn't work! We are a democratic state with deep cultural roots. We pretty much practice most of our traditions. We cannot eliminate our traditional leaders because they stand for our values and traditions as Palauans. To eradicate them is to simply let go of what makes us Palauans. They symbolize our unique culture before colonialism. If we organize our government differently, maybe we could reach some kind of understanding not just between traditional and elected leaders but with the people.

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