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A prevalance of pusillanimity


The abhorrent utterances of a certain so called political leader this week have exposed not only that individual’s shortcomings, yet again, but the prevalence of pusillanimity within the NZ media and body politic.

The use of language now widely regarded as racist and and an ethnic slur would not be regarded as acceptable if another had uttered the words, especially if the utterer had been Pakeha. Indeed the utterer would have been vilified, excoriated and generally condemned. For example, when Paul Holmes made a remark about Kofi Annan, or Paul Henry’s about an Indian minister – remarks which were probably not as loathsome as the those made by the racist from the Far North, though offensive – both were pilloried by media and politicians.

Yet what have we seen this week. The unedifying spectacle of people making excuses for Hone Harawira. Indeed whenever he makes remarks of this nature people make excuses for the man.

We live in a society where freedom of expression is allowed, unless of course you are other than PC. In this regard the issue has to Adam’s mind become not what Harawira said, but the fact that his remarks have not been roundly condemned, especially by leading politicians and others.

Adam has yet to see for example:-

  • any leading Labour politician decrying these remarks, yet if people were to criticize for example gays or lesbians there would be an uproar from the left
  • any strong rebuke from other leaders of Maoridom, so are we to assume that Maori leaders approve of Harawira and his remarks
  • any MSM comment substantively critical of the remarks, indeed on National Radio’s panel discussion the other day the members seemed more concerned to somehow excuse Harawira

Many will say that attacking Harawira merely fans the flames and gives the man more publicity. Unfortunately that is true, but at the same time a failure to condemn the man merely encourages him and his followers and potentially leads over time to greater excess. It is not what Harawira says that is the problem, as society’s failure to express it’s abhorrence. This failure if allowed to continue will cause others with similar views or indeed virulently opposed views to behave similarly with consequential negative impact on the fabric of the community.

This failure to condemn leaves one with an unpleasant feeling that racism provided it is by Maori against Pakeha is OK in NZ, especially if you are a Maori MP.



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