Friday, February 6, 2015

Key's Hypocrisy in turning Waitangi Day into an even *bigger* monument to Anglo Imperialism

I must confess I was a little surprised to see the Prime Minister turn our national day into a forum for discursions about invading the Middle East. Perhaps, having made peace with Titewhai Harawira some years back, he assumes no foe is now insurmountable.

But quite apart from the questionable propriety of turning a monument to arguably one of the least-worst incidences of British imperialism into a soap-box for justifying our involvement picking up the pieces of a more recent and far more egregious example of same ... what stood out to me was this quote.

"So the very people who tell me their whole DNA is laced with human rights and standing up for people who can't protect themselves tell me to look the other way when people are being beheaded by kids, burned by kids and thrown off buildings. Well, sorry. Give me a break. New Zealand is not going to look the other way."

Which is, I suppose, a noble (if entirely inaccurate) sounding sentiment in principle - if we leave aside the legacy of international peace-keeping, nation-building, and Afghanistan-occupying efforts of the previous Labour government, for instance.

But not, regrettably, one that is borne out either by Key's recent actions as applies the Middle East (New Zealand's laudable Security Council effort at assisting and defending Palestine being a commendable exception) or his newfound choice of friends.

Let us be perfectly clear about this. The Anglo-American "family of Nations" that Key wishes us to step-(son)-toe into have a litany of egregious human rights issues to answer for themselves. Extraordinary Renditions, illegal wars, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and all the rest of it.

I'd take Key's more recent lip-service commitment to acting as the champion and defender of human rights a helluvalot more seriously if I'd seen clear and compelling evidence of him standing up for same when the violations were being committed by his golfing-partners, rather than merely cited as a cassus belli of convenience.

Oh, and just to add insult to injury ... here's a photo of New Zealand "looking the other way" when it came to *another* Middle Eastern regime that specializes in decapitation-based-theocracy...

He justified it on the basis that "Saudi Arabia has been part of the Western Alliance for a very long period of time, standing up against ISIL and Al Qaeda and others."

So that's alright, then.

My inner pedant wishes to note that the Islamic Republic of Iran has *also* taken an exceptionally strong stand against both ISIS and Al Qaeda (and have inarguably done *far* more against either than the recalcitrant House of Saud) ... yet you don't hear Key citing them in effusive terms by "[acknowledging their] contribution [to] global affairs".

To cut a long-winded rant short ... I reckon it's far better for one to loudly, proudly and authentically proclaim that one's "whole DNA is laced with" a commitment to human rights and empowering or defending the marginalized than to simply don the language of international justice and the Colour of Right as a cloak of mere rhetorical convenience while choosing to tactfully overlook other, closer to home, instances of problematic conduct.

But then, I suppose that's just ... how did Key put it? Ah yes. The "Price of the Club" that we now apparently belong to.

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