Sunday, 30 November 2014

La-La-La-La ... I'm not listening

New Zealanders fortunately have never really experienced much in the way of terrorism on their shores. Perhaps the attack on the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, in 1985 was the closest we have come to it in Godzone.

That however was a targeted attack by the French government intelligence services under Opération Satanique. It was not designed to terrorise the population at large. So Kiwis - and especially the native born ones who have not lived overseas for any appreciable length of time - really cannot appreciate what much of the rest of the world has to go through on a daily basis.

Perhaps because of this, Kiwis seem quite unable to identify with the victims of terrorism: neither the direct victims nor those indirect victims who suffer the fear of an attack. It would seem that the majority of the population sees an attack as an unrealistic scenario in NZ. At this time, this is probably a reasonably valid assumption. 

This nevertheless is no excuse for the behaviour I have witnessed repeatedly here, which is to make light of, crack jokes about and generally belittle the victims overseas. 

This apparent total lack of an ability to identify with the situation overseas dehumanises the victims and makes Kiwis no better than the aggressors such as ISIL. Kiwis are essentially shallow individuals with no understanding. Don’t know, don’t care, not listening, la-la-la-la .....

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Aotearoa - Cloud Cuckoo Land

Maori, the early migrants to New Zealand, named this place Aotearoa meaning 'land of the long white cloud'. Since the arrival of the Europeans perhaps it should more properly be referred to as 'Cloud Cuckoo Land' - because it seems the vast majority of its inhabitants are living in some strange mental fantasy and not in the real world at all. 

New Zealanders remind me of the three Japanese monkeys of the Koshin. Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil.

In fact, NZ attempts to mimic the behaviour of all these and also the fourth monkey Shizaru, who symbolises the principle of 'do no evil'. Often shown crossing his arms.

Why do I say this? Because the media here clearly censor the news and focus almost exclusively on what are, in a global context, banal and trivial events that occur in NZ. Why might this censorship be imposed? It is simply a reflection of the interests of New Zealanders.

New Zealanders have no idea what is going on in the rest of the world and neither to they want to know. Their underlying fear is that if they were to become cognisant, they would then perhaps be obliged to think, to feel some responsibility and maybe even do something.

Kiwi conversation revolves around sport, food and drink, celebrity gossip and ... well that's about it really.

So why are NZ not proposing to engage in any kind of combat role in Iraq and Syria (or anywhere else) against ISIL? It seems to be a lack of courage driven by a lack of commitment, in turn driven by a lack of responsibility.

This is driven by the lack of public interest in the rest of the world. We really do not want to know thank you. We like our little fantasy world down here, hidden away at the bottom of the map. Is it any coincidence that Wellington airport has a huge sign welcoming visitors to the 'middle of Middle Earth'?