Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Could NZ handle silent vigils?

I noticed this story about potential maori protest a few days ago. After the initial bulletin, and the follow-up comments from Pita Sharples, Tariana Turia and John Key - all saying that they didn't think this style of protest, where judges are targeted, was the way to go - it went very quiet. The line is that the judges are representatives of the Crown, they are just doing their job, and it is very bad form to target homes and families of judges with these types of protests. Hone Harawira has said that he is not going to tell his uncle what to do.

"Organiser and Hone's uncle Tass Davis, a 75-year-old former Auckland police constable, said he expected between 300 and 400 Maori would be involved in the non-violent campaign.

"Successive governments conspired to rob Maori of their birthright, leaving many feeling disconnected, poverty-stricken and disadvantaged," he said."

This protest feels deep and strong. I can see the non-violent protesters sitting and standing quietly, making powerful statements just by their presence. It has a Gandhi feel about it - and that is why John Key should be concerned. If maori ever organised themselves, into a non-violent, silent, intergenerational protest, then New Zealand would feel great disquiet. 'The natives are revolting,' style.

The reason that we haven't sorted out the underlying issues related to maori and colonisation is that many kiwis just see protest as "a few" non-domesticated maori rather than the majority of maori. Sure we have had the big marches but to the coloniser mentality - that is just a bunch of moaners who can't let go of the past.

If we begin to see quiet, vigil style protests, where kaumatua and tamariki stand quietly - no marches, no yelling, no protest signs even - just people. That will rock this country off it's foundational illusions.

And what about targeting judges? They do represent the crown and yes it will be uncomfortable for them but really why worry about that, when it has been very uncomfortable for maori for generations. Why be concerned about some judges and their families - it is a non-violent protest.
Are they the right target? The powers that be have already called in the dip-pro-squad. If MP's were targeted then the power of the protest would reduce. I am not sure if judges are the best way to go, but they certainly are on the list, if only because of what and who they represent.

And the maori party - what can i say about them. I'm with Hone and I disagree with Pita and Tariana. I back the party 110% - until they no longer work in the interests of maori. The decision from Pita and Tariana to back the Government line, because of their status, sails close to the wind for me, and creates the first real doubt that i have about them both personally.

How long are Pita and Tariana going to stay in politics? Will they contest the next election or is it time to do a Greens move and bring the successors through with plenty of time to get them ready for the next election - and the next election, I predict, will be the most important election in this country since it began! Why? Maori mana is not going away and needs to be expressed. Labour have shown that they still despise the maori party. The nats have done well but there are some big ones coming - like the Foreshore and Seabed today, for instance. The economic tsunami is just about here - i have read predictions of 20-30% of eligible maori not working. And then we add in all the non-maori!

This type of non-violent protest is quite different from the noisy type protests that i have been used to... but I think it could be the way to go and could provide the increased uncomfortableness that leads to real and substantial change.

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