In This Edition: Re: NZ SAS in Afghanistan - Asian Mr Plods - Great - Fielding High 'Misfits' Impress - Re: Big News: Hate Crime Don’t You Just Hate It?
SAS in Afghanistan
I was fascinated to read Keith Locke's revelation that, despite the PM's reluctance, a US website had revealed that NZ SAS are in Afghanistan.
I traveled there in '74 by local bus up the Khyber Pass, via Jalalabad to Kabul, north through the Salang Pass to Mazar-i-Sharif to see celebrations to do with the son-in-law of the prophet Mohammed which included a game of Buzkashi (impressive from ground-level), west to Balkh - a thriving centre of Graeco-Buddhist learning until it offended Genghiz Khan by refusing to surrender: he leveled all vertical structures except the surrounding walls which still defend an empty space today - back to Kabul and west via Khandahar and Herat to Iran .
I loved Afghanistan: the deserts reminded me of Australia, the mountains of NZ, and the people were refreshingly independent after the all-too-frequent colonial cringe in the subcontinent. I've been an interested observer of Afghan affairs ever since.
Many of your readers might not be aware that the First Afghan War commenced when the Governor-General of the Raj, Lord Auckland, ordered the Anglo-Indian army to invade in order to pre-empt possible incursion southwards by Tsarist Russia, and - of course - to 'teach the natives a lesson'. It was the early 1840's (my reference books are in packing cases) and forms part of the colonial background to Treaty of Waitangi.
The Bengal Lancers advanced from Quetta to Khandahar, other forces took Heart, and Lord Auckland's representative was ensconced in Kabul where for three years the British operated in much the same manner as US/Coalition forces do today, advancing politicians and interests.
Ultimately, the Afghanis revolted and cut the forces of the Raj to pieces - the only survivor being an army doctor who escaped down the Khyber Pass on a mule, emerging from the mists on a startled army post at Torkham.
Ten years later, the Raj tried again - with the same result. After that it left Afghanistan alone, limiting itself to keeping the North-West Frontier tribes under control.
Most Afghanis today may not be literate, but they know their history. When I was there I was aware that English was the 'language of the enemy' and that they regarded Pakistan as the descendant of the Raj, still occupying half of Pushtunistan (land of the Pushtuns).
Why is the PM shy about Afghanistan? Simple - she is from Auckland and knows her history. Perhaps it should seek an alternative name - Hauraki?
Asian Mr Plods
Green Party Immigration spokesperson Mr Locke is at it again.
Calling for increased representation of the Asian community in the Police, Mr Locke asks "How can the police expect to handle issues within the Asian community - such as the activities of overseas-based Triads - when they have no empathy or insight into the cultural sensitivities of that community.
To Mr Locke I say, if Asians wanted the jobs more would come forward for recruitment.
The fact they do not, and no one else has complained about their lack of representation either, probably indicates a fair degree of satisfaction. Not only with the overall capability of our Police to handle the issues, but the very low level of corruption that exists in our force compared with many others.
Multi-cultural and multi-ethnic our country may well be, but that does not mean one has to consciously extend that into every single facet of our every day life to be effective.
That is a very hollow sentiment and call coming from one whose own party is devoid of these very attributes.
have just been beamed in to your site and I like what I've
seen.Keep up the good news.
Monica Moore Papatoetoe NewZealand.
Fielding High 'Misfits' Impress
It always gives me hope whenever the status quo is interrupted. First the hysterical reaction from banking corporates [and certain cunning politicians] on the day that KIWIBANK opened, then the walking off the job of 80 Tranzrail staff in support of a colleague, now the protest actions of some real "National Hero's" Fielding High students Monique Ohlson, Nicole and Josie Mallinder and up to 150 of their friends ["Brains More Important than Tongues - Nandor" SCOOP 15/3/02]. Their protest action illustrates well what can occur when people work together to disrupt conservative and repressive forms of regulation.
Progressive educators ought to be celebrating the initiative of these students who are providing a 'blueprint' for responsible, citizenship - a 'draft model' for young people everywhere. Teachers who are currently struggling to secure decent pay and conditions, for which they deserve, should also take note. Having students' support your cause can only strengthen civic and community participation.
The principal of Fielding High, Roger Menzies should quit trying to coerce students into apologising for wanting to be themselves, and accept that kids nowadays want a role in government and a say in the issues that affect them. The moral panic that he is trying to create over some very attractive body piercing is representative of the kinds of educators and educational managers that probably should not be working in education - their lust for authoritarian social containment over kids is not helpful in the 21st Century Society.
It's great to see outbreaks of spontaneous participatory democracy emerge whenever peoples' wishes and desires are trampled on.
Go team! Hurrah!
Shaun Wakelin WELLINGTON CENTRAL
Re: Big News: Hate Crime Don’t You Just Hate It?
Dear Dave: If you are against a hate crimes bill that protects a certain class of people from persecution, then you are obviously not very familiar with how a hate crimes law works. You state that all crimes should be treated the same & in a Utopian world they would be, but not so in this world.
Here in Texas, for instance, before we passed a hate crimes bill that listed sexual orientation, it was basically legal to kill a homosexual. All you had to do, and this has been done several times here, is say that you were in a "Gay Panic" when you killed the homosexual & you could get a suspended sentence.
As long as the government does not distinguish between one crime & another, and take into account the hatred and prejudice that caused the crime, society will continue to think that it is OK for certain types of citizens to be harassed & murdered.
After all, if there was anything wrong with it, the government would be against it, right? Here in Texas where the "Religious Right" have a very strong political control, the hate crimes law is the only thing that helps to protect those of us who disagree with the antiquated & prejudicial beliefs of the Religious Factions. I find it disheartening that you, as a journalist, would have these types of feelings about trying to protect certain classes of people against the tyranny of the bigots.
Homosexuals here in Texas can still be denied jobs, food, & housing based on their orientation as the law does not protect them from this type of discrimination. The only thing the law does is say that you can no longer murder them for being homosexual.
Sincerely, Bob Burks