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Qantas & Air New Zealand – Guilty By Association

Wellington, 30 November 2005

Qantas & Air New Zealand – Guilty By Association

By Gregory Fortuin

I know what it is like to be judged guilty by association. I know the humiliation of not being accepted to study medicine at “the white” university of Cape Town because they had filled their quota of “non-whites” and the only education people like me needed was “to be hewers of wood and drawers of water”, in spite of my 1st grade matriculation pass and a University Exemption.

I know the systemic daily degradation of exclusion based simply on the colour of my skin – be it in a public place or having our land confiscated. Tragically my parents and their parents and I were silent and accepting of this torturous logic far too long.

So to the good people at Qantas and Air New Zealand I wish to say my days of silence passed along time ago. Never again will I be silent about gross generalisations and stereotyping. We can never fix one evil with another evil. We cannot defend one freedom by trampling on the very freedoms we cherish. By all means (in fact it is your duty to) protect the rights of our precious children but don’t label me a paedophile simply because I’m a male.

I hope the Children’s Commissioner has been quoted out of context as I am well aware of her passion for the wellbeing of our children. If however Cindy Kiro agrees with the airlines cockeyed logic that all men are paedophiles she better get ready for war. Many paedophiles know their victims and as a grandfather who lovingly cares for two little boys can I expect a call from the Police given the new policy of GUILT BY ASSOCIATION.

Of course some males are guilty of extreme crimes against children. There is British rocker Gary Glitter or disgraced Political Leader Graham Capill to name but a few. And they should quite rightly suffer the full brunt of society’s contempt.
But labelling all of us? Judging us guilty because of our genital difference, heaven forbid. I will refrain from listing the many horrific crimes perpetrated by women against children, but be aware you have just ignited the WAR AGAINST GUILT BY ASSOCIATION.

On 19 April 1995 a bomb exploded in Oklahoma and killed 168 innocent people, including children in a day care centre. The outrage following the carnage was understandable. The immediate targets were the victims of today’s dangerous ideology of GUILT BY ASSOCIATION. Yes people of the Muslim Faith or Middle Eastern appearance had to keep a “low profile” as they became the targets for being spat at, physically assaulted and properties trashed. It is now common knowledge that New Yorker, gunner sergeant full-blooded white American non-Muslim Timothy McVeigh was convicted for this horrific crime.

Yet we now hear that senior New Zealand citizens of the Muslim Faith are being “harassed” by our officials on returning home. If they are being questioned because of suspicious behaviour I applaud the officials for being vigilant. If on the other hand the criterion is their faith or place of origin or appearance I wish to repeat the warning to the good people of the airlines – my days of silence on the gross injustice of GUILT BY ASSOCIATION are over.

I hope we don’t have selective indignation on gross generalisations and stereotyping. I hope the people condemning the airlines and calling for Cindy Kiro’s resignation have expressed that same outrage about similar matters including the persecution of fellow-citizens of the Muslim Faith.

I want to be judged by the colour of my heart not the colour of my skin. If you have to judge me do it based on my behaviour or the content of my character. But Please, Pretty Please don’t judge me GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION.


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