There’s not much to look at from a barber’s chair. On my last visit a notice at the bottom of the mirror caught my attention: “Like us on Facebook and follow your barber on Instagram.” since the barber was standing behind me with shears in his hand I was afraid to ask if it was a joke. Perhaps it’s just in Wanaka where this kind of strange behaviour can be found? Not that I’m paranoid, but I’ve noticed that most of the books in Wanaka library are written by women – well, maybe I am paranoid, but I can read. So why is every book a world-wide best seller?
Back in the 1950s and sixties homosexuals were ridiculed and persecuted. Now, people who dare to criticise homosexual lifestyles are ridiculed and persecuted.
It’s time we got over our zealous mission to protect the sensibilities of homosexuals. The battles for homosexual acceptance were waged decades ago and by the end of last century the war was won. However, not everyone was won over and nor will they ever be.
(Anzac Day has passed but in what seems like a season of remembrance, John Anderson recalls this little known attack – for Kiwis at least – on the seaport town of Hartlepool and the Royal Navy).
December dawns differ from June dawns on the North Sea. In the depths of the dark, dreary December days, the same North Sea grey is flecked with wind whipped white waves. Moreover there is a mucky mist to the day’s dawn. On land the dawns are dull and dank, unbearable perhaps if not for the Christmas illuminations near the end of the month.
I had just celebrated one of those ‘big’ birthdays. I found myself musing, “How did I get here so quickly?” A question that surprised even me! I had hit the end of one decade and was starting another. While moving through the previous decades had been pretty effortless, this one felt different. The realisation that most of my life is behind me. Now the future is not sometime out there but is right here, right now!
“One of the criticisms I’ve faced over the years is that I’m not aggressive enough or assertive enough, or maybe somehow, because I’m empathetic, it means I’m weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.” Jacinda Ardern
“This is not us” is the phrase many of us have used after the shock of the Christchurch Mosque massacres which claimed the lives of 50 Muslim worshippers. It may come as a surprise to Kiwis, but that sentiment is being challenged on a leading US website, Buzzfeed.
Australian Buzzfeed reporter Hannah Ryan, found examples of Muslims who had been discriminated against or were the victims of hate speech – and actions.
Television cameras and interviewers were present on Christchurch’s last vigil for the 50 Muslims who’d been slain a week before. A young Muslim woman said the “Free-speech people” had a lot to answer for.
She used the expression ‘free-speech’ people once more in the interview, clearly in the belief that the law allowing free speech was partly to blame for the massacre. Or did she? Was she referring to the hateful, divisive and unregulated racists ensconced on social media?
The Prime Minister was right to announce to the world that in New Zealand we are all ‘us,’ but although it made us feel virtuous to agree with her, we know that’s not true.
You could say that, in general, we have tolerated Muslims, but they will tell you about being held in Customs for longer periods than other New Zealanders and that they have a harder time than European immigrants trying to get their parents to visit from places like India and Pakistan. And that feels like discrimination.