Thursday, April 26, 2007

A test

The protests at yesterday's Anzac Day commemorations are being debated vehemently by parts of the Kiwi left. This is a comment I just made on indymedia:

Here's a simple test:

Which upsets you more?

a) The fatal shooting of two civilian protesters by Anzac forces in East Timor's Comoro refugee camp on February the 23rd


b) The destruction of a New Zealand flag yesterday in Wellington

If you're a leftist who turned up in the comments boxes at indymedia frothing at the mouth over b), but didn't see fit to talk about a), then you probably need to reexamine your priorities.


Blogger Skyler said...

I just put a long comment on and it got deleted!!! arrggghhh!!!

10:13 am  
Blogger Skyler said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:37 am  
Blogger Skyler said...

Let’s try again…it’s never as good the second try ..
Ok, this is an emotional issue for most of us, on whatever side of the argument you fall.

Come on Maps, it’s obviously more upsetting when soldiers kill innocent people over burning a flag. Personally I don’t even care if the flag is burned – it’s not important. I think the issue is that when protestors’ burn flags and blow horns disrupting the dawn service it upsets people who are feeling sad, emotional and patriotic and so they can’t HEAR the message the protestors are delivering just what they see as disrespectful action. It would have been more effective for them to hold a silent protest which some did and try and engage people and the media with the issues. As you know, burning flags and disruption makes great pictures for the media and so that is what they will focus on, not the REAL issues. The protestors are just painting themselves with the wrong colour in the media – the average kiwi won’t listen now.

It’s sad that as the old soldiers of WW1 and WW2 die off that Anzac day is morphing into a day of nationalism and a celebration of war and armed forces and not a day to sincerely regret war and those that never came back. I do support the protestors right to protest and I support their message - just a pity some of them went about it the wrong way.

10:39 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'it’s obviously more upsetting when soldiers kill innocent people over burning a flag'

Is it? I don't recall talkback radio being deluged with outraged citizens, or media commentators fulminating, when Anzacs killed two teenagers on February the 23rd in Dili.

Perhaps you could argue that most NZers didn't hear of this incident. But I could point to the numerous well-publicised deaths of civilians at the hands of occupying forces in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past couple of years, and note the failure of these deaths to create outrage like that which greeted yesterday's flag burning.

The reality is that, for a very lare number of Kiwis, the brning of the national flag is a lot more outrageous than the death of brown-skinned people in obscure parts of the world at the hands of Anzacs and Anzac allies.

The correctness or otherwise of yesterday's protests can't be judged by the response of onlookers, becuse what was being protested was skewed worldview that most of those onlookers have.
The protesters were trying to wake New Zealanders up to the real history of the Anzacs, and the reality of their role in the world today. Of course they are going to create intense hostility by doing this.

It is absurd to believe that the protesters could have framed their arguments in such a way that they were instantly adopted. In all likelihood arguments against the Anzac tradition and Anzac deployments in the Pacific will remain wildly unpopular for many years. That doesn't mean it's wrong to make them. The arguments of woman's suffragetes were reviled for decades in most countries. The anti-apartheid movement was a despised minority of NZ society for twenty years. Americans who opposed the War of Terror were hated as traitors for years after 9/11.

You can test the argument that the more aggressive tactics of the Wellington protesters were responsible for the negative reaction by considering events in Auckland. Up here there was the sort of silent protest that you recommend, and protesters were still infuriated onlookers. A number of attempts were made to destroy their banner.

1:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hoighty toighty hodge and piss. men/boys were sent to war to get blown up/killed by crude metal against their will to defend/liberate countries under attack. They did not initiate under an imperialist banner (unlike iraq) so f u c k o f f with your later day saint protests against remembering these men/women who lived through that.

4:15 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

The deaths caused by the US (in Iraq etc) and the ANZACs in Indonesia and the Solomons etc) are subtely downplayed by the media who concentrate on US deaths or British etc.

For the reason most people don't really know what is going on in Indonesia or wherever. I hadn't heard that the teenagers had been killed in fact I didn't pick it up when I read the article on Indymedia it was so badly written - it is almost in pidgeon English - it needs to be re written)

If protestors disrupt the dawn services they need to be sure the message gets out that ANZAC forces are invaders and have killed civilians etc

That is they must make it very clear what they are doing and why.

Burning flags without that is indeed (more of a) waste of time.

But in the absence of either burning the NZ flag is still a good idea.

ANZAC day to me is a very subtle pro war event that the RSA and the military (power structure of) love (they use all this emotion and sentiment as - they want more wars) (about wars that can be seen in certain lights to be atrociously stupid and barbarous) (Clark et al also never fail to make political capital out of ANZAC day) - reminds me of the Nazi rallies at Nuremburg - but these messages of political truth need to be put out there - the news media are right wing and cant be trusted.

8:51 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

skyler - before you submit a comment - do a select all and a save - I do that everytime.

In this techno age - what are the possibilities of a leftwing television channel - even a pirate one?

At least a radio station - that is not too hard to do.

Blogs are good but probably still reach too few people the air waves such as talk back are saturated with the moans of morons. That could be countered by a good left wing radio station + culture + docus and a good range of music and so on.

8:59 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

ANZAC ceremonies should indeed be violently disrupted.

9:02 pm  
Blogger Anne-Marie said...

qIt's actually a crime to burn the New Zealand flag. You can be charged with something like "dishonouring the sovereign flag of New Zealand". This legislation was forced through parliament in the early 80s by that great defender of civil liberties Robert Muldoon.

The legislation was never used until 2003, when a teacher whose name I forget burned a NZ flag protesting against the invasion of Iraq.

The legislation may have been altered now, I'm not sure.

But certainly people do get really angry about the burning of the flag.

I can't imagine why since our flag is nothing but a piece of imperial shit and should be changed immediately.

10:47 am  
Blogger Richard said...

The NZ flag is terrible.

I like the Maori independence flag.
We need to get that Union Jack and stars etc off our flag.

But there are good arguments for getting rid of armies and flags.

Swift fought against the concept of standing armies.

12:04 am  
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5:43 pm  

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