Comment on Protest
I found this Editorial in a provincial News paper. While the specifics are irrelevant to the Mens moovement, the principal is. We have among us who have and probabally will again revert to protest action. I encourace them to read and consider this view of a protest and comments about the 1991 Springbok tour.
It’s always a shame when legitimate causes are hijacked by idiots.
It’s always a shame when legitimate causes are hijacked by idiots. Time and time again, passionate people determined to effect change or right a perceived wrong employ tactics that help defeat their cause, not further it.
The occupation of the Horowhenua Sailing Club by a group of Maori who have lodged a claim on the land with the Waitangi Tribunal is a case in point.
As reported in yesterday’s Standard, a group of squatters was evicted by police this week and issued with trespass notices. They abused police, who allegedly found evidence the occupiers some of them gang associates had been doing drugs on the premises, and threatened to chain the gates at the Lake Horowhenua entrance and begin another occupation.
One woman involved in the occupation said her grandmother was one of the 81 original Muaupoko iwi members given ownership of the lake bed and surrounding land.
The iwi leaders pursuing a legitimate claim to the land through the proper channels must be furious with the gang of clowns who have set up camp at the Sailing Club. What seems clear is these people are more concerned with having rent-free accommodation where they can get high, intimidate the legal owners of the building and lock horns with police.
They fail to understand one of history’s great lessons: the battle of ideas is rarely won with belligerence. No matter how just the cause, it will never gain the support it needs to succeed if it is pursued with thuggery and intimidation.
When such tactics are employed, the debate inevitably shifts from the issue to how the issue is being pursued. Those who protested the 1981 Springbok tour walked a similar misguided path, alienating people sympathetic to their cause but disapproving of the anarchy they unleashed in pursuing it.
The quiet dignity of civil disobedience can rally the hearts and minds of a nation; the expression of dissatisfaction through threats and violence inspires only more conflict. The squatters at the Horowhenua Sailing Club have attracted attention to their cause, but it is attention of the worst kind.
Members of Muaupoko are pursuing their land claim through the Waitangi Tribunal. Whether it wins or loses is a matter for the tribunal, but, whatever the outcome, in the battle of public opinion they have already defeated themselves.