Thursday, March 04, 2004

odd thoughts

Helen Clark is blessed with good timing. Just as the centre right has made gains on the Treaty issue she gets pally with warmonger John Howard and talks of a free trade deal with China. Just the sort of thing to piss the Greens off and tempt back those leaning towards National.

I always enjoy reading Dennis Dutton even when I disagree with him, which I do on a minor point. I think he underestimates the importance of recognising that people will identify with their extended family - what we call race or ethnicity. I agree with him that a prime responsibility of a democratic Government is to prevent family feuds - what we call ethnic disputes - from occurring, but it needs to do so by taking into account the strong emotions of loyalty that families, even the very extended ones, engender. But his emphasis on class not race sounds not too dissimilar to a recent Listener editorial.

No Right Turn discusses the appalling Maori health statistics and makes some good points. For me there have always been two aspects to the Treaty settlement process. Firstly the recognition of past wrongs - human emotions fester greatly when we feel that our grievances are unappreciated but also we tend to respond with remarkable magnanimity when they are accepted. Secondly, to provide resources to redress the social harm caused by the colonisation process which is why I tend to prefer John Tamihere's views on how settlement money should be distributed - not solely on the basis of family.

NRT also links to Robert Fisk. If you have ever wondered why he comes in for so much flak read the article. The guy is supposed to be an expert on the Middle East but states:

"I have never heard a single word of animosity between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq."

Hello? Anybody home? You don't have to be a raving neocon to understand that there is a great deal of tension between the Sunnis and Shias. But then he wandered around Baghdad during the war pleased that every one he spoke to voiced their support for Saddam. He didn't stop to think that maybe they were too afraid to say otherwise - it being a dictatorship and all. He also opposed military intervention against Milosevic, so you get the drift of his politics.

One reason many opposed the war (Egypt, Turkey etc) was that Iraq might breakup along ethnic and religious lines. The threat of civil war is not some evil US plot. Fisk is an idiot. If you want anti-war sentiment with a brain stick with Juan Cole.

The Nation has a very good article on Kerry.


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