well i had a little more excitement here yesterday than i was expecting, and i'm glad that's over. just a little more on gaza, i'm greatly disappointed at the american position on this. really, it's hard to tell that the party of the left is in power in that country, because just right now they're making exactly the same noises as the last lot. that's not much of a surprise, but still disappointing.
i've been meaning to write a post about the whole andy haden thing for days, but just haven't managed to get around to it. and pretty much everyone everywhere has written about it, so don't know that it's really worth the effort. but never mind, i'll just put down what i was thinking.
this whole incident happened soon after i was on radio nz's the panel last week (afternoons, 16.35, about 10 minutes into the clip) talking about freedom of speech issues regarding the drawing of Muhammad. i don't know that that session went as well as i wanted it to, but you can judge for your self.
the main point i was trying to get across is that i agree with freedom of speech, but that freedom has consequences. one of the most simple consequences is that the party you are addressing also has the freedom of speech to respond to you. they have the freedom to tell they disagree with you, that they don't like what you said, and to call for your resignation or for any other punitive action they think are appropriate. whether those consequences actually happen is another story, and depends on the context and the support these people have at the time. but they are certainly free to ask for something to happen in response.
the people who tell muslims to "just lighten up and get a sense of humour" seem often to think that freedom of speech should be free of consequences ie that they should be free to say whatever offensive thing they like, and the other person should just laugh it off. of course if someone says something offensive to or about them, then it's another story!
and that's what i'm finding interesting about the whole reaction to the andy haden thing. he exercised his freedom of speech, and there have been some pretty strong calls for consequences to happen as a result of it - his resignation from his position as a rugby ambassador.
those calling for consequences are in two camps. the first are the people who are understandably angry at his use of the word "darkie", at his characterisation of pacific island players, and at his apparent approval of the policy of limiting the number of pacific island players on a rugby team. i'd have to say that i'd be pretty much in support of this group of people. i think that positions like mr haden's have responsibilities attached, that statements such as the ones he made have a negative impact on a group of people who don't deserve it.
the second group of people are angry that he has made accusations of a quota for pacific island players, without providing any proof. to that extent, i'd have to agree with this second group of people as well. if you're going to make accusations, you have to prove those accusations are correct. if you don't have the proof but want to raise the issue, then you call for an investigation or raise it as a potential issue that needs to be addressed. i don't think that's too difficult.
then there are the supporters of mr haden, whom i haven't really bothered to listen to. but presumably they're sayign that he should be able to say whatever he pleases, and that we shouldn't be so PC. the supporters seem to limit their comments to the whole "darkie" thing, and don't want to address the false accusation bit except to assert it's true without providing evidence, at least from what little i've heard.
i'd say those wanting mr haden removed from his position are in the majority. and yet i wonder how they stand on the cartoons issue, and whether they see any parallels re freedom of speech. it seems pretty obvious to me.