And, honestly, have we come to expect anything less from this man?
For starters, the timing of John Key’s bashing of everything ‘left of centre’ was poorly timed, totally misjudged, awkward, and actually incorrect.
Never before have I seen a Prime Minister, on the eve of our national day which is, ideally, about the uniting of all cultures in New Zealand, lash out, generalise and prompt political division, and point out the flaws and radical extremes of an ethnic minority.
When a Pakeha woman, a convert to Islam, needs only to wear her head scarf in public to receive horrific and inexcusable abuse including being spat on and shoved onto the road, you know the fear-mongering of the government has met its requirements. Because, let’s be totally honest, what they’ve done is cause us to view Islamic people as one entity, with one over-arching belief. That is simply incorrect. When you’re blaming a Pakeha woman, an Islam convert, walking the streets of New Plymouth for the massacre of French journalists by Islamic fanatics; you’ve officially gone loopy.
That’s like blaming everyone named John for John Key’s governing.
The issue of Islamic fundamentalism is so complicated and so deeply intertwined with multiple other issues that calling this terrorist group ‘The Islamic state’ is not justifiable. Fundamentalism is dictated by political climate, upbringing, foreign interference and political beliefs completely separate from faith.
There are 40,000 Islamic people in New Zealand. 40 have claimed loyalty to the Islamic state. The rest are as terrified and as disgusted as you and me.
Globally there are 2,800,000,000 Islamic people. 200,000 (0.007%) of them (maximum) have pledged allegiance to the fundamentalist cult which is the ‘Islamic’ state.
The rest are as terrified and as disgusted as you and me.
So to get people so suspicious to the point, that citizens are actually abusing a Islamic woman walking down her local street and blaming her for what 0.007% of her religion believes is right, is mindblowingly evil.
So, why bring it up on the eve of our national day? Is Waitangi not reserved for the celebration of peace and acceptance of culture?
But then John Key has the audacity to say that because “the left” apparently ‘oppose’ stopping ISIS, we are somehow anti-humanitarian?
Sorry John. Not how it works. And for your information the political fence is invalid in this scenario. There are many people on the Left who want to see New Zealand enter the battlefield. And there is not one person on the Left who doesn’t want to see ISIS destroyed, and peace returned to the Middle East.
But then we look at what John Key is proposing; he’s proposing a non-combat role. New Zealand troops will trained and sent to Iraq at who knows what cost, to train Iraqi forces. And that’s it.
So we aren’t actually being sent over there to directly fight the Islamic State at all.
Dare I say New Zealand’s intervention at this stage looks minor to the extent it would add little to defuse the massive situation in Iraq. Indeed, it would only be a friendly gesture to the Iraqis, British, Americans, Canadians and Australians who are lined up to fight.
And to them I say; good on you.
But what have they all had in common? Lifted terror threat levels and terror attacks? Isn’t that something we’d like to keep away from New Zealand?
But what astonishes me, perhaps more than this, is what gets us New Zealanders fired up. Today is the first time I believe I have seen National supporters become so passionate about humanitarian work.
Why is it they seem to oppose it when it comes in the form of foreign aid? Foreign aid to our Pacific neighbours, to Ebola-stricken regions of Africa, to the children of Palestine living in appalling conditions.
To the children in our own backyard?
Why, National supporters, does humanitarian work only become important when we are carrying guns?
I’ll tell you why. Because John Key isn’t the simple kind of Kiwi guy he makes out to be. He is smart. He knows that increasing spending on foreign aid and increasing our refugee quota would be unpopular. Besides, the poverty of the third world ‘isn’t our problem’.
As The Sydney Morning Herald put it last year following Abbott’s commitment to send troops to Iraq; “Bombs go down, polls go up”.
Abbott cut foreign aid. Nobody was outraged. In fact, the feedback was generally positive.
It’s the same with Harper’s ratings in Canada. Bombs go down, polls go up.
The suffering of people in poverty, and struck-down by disease is so far away it ‘isn’t our problem’.
It’s only when people use arguments like ‘it isn’t our war’, does the right become enraged.
So, what are we gaining from sending our troops? Division, an increased chance of a terror attack putting the lives of New Zealanders at risk, and a racially divided country.
How was the late King of Saudi Arabia who tortured people to death in strikingly similar fashions to ISIL any different? Why did he gain the honour of having our flags flying at half mast?
It is these questions which we deserve answers too. John Key doesn’t need a speech to show us what two-faced people look like; he needs a mirror.