Tuesday, 21 December 2010

the forgotten people

my campaign of becoming queen of nz and getting taxpayers to fund a lavish lifestyle for my family and i, well it's not going so well. i haven't yet convinced the kids to join me in this very worthwhile cause, which means my persuasive skills aren't so hot!

in other news, i'm eagerly looking forward to the last day of work, which will be thursday for me. my volunteer work has been taking up a substantial amount of time of late & i feel that i'm working 3 jobs but getting paid for only 1. but then there will be a whole chunk of the world who actually does live that way, so yes, i'm still happy to be me and happy to be doing what i'm doing.

this is the first holiday break in many years where i'm not headed off overseas nor am i having overseas visitors. and i'm not travelling around the country either, other than a short trip away. i plan to stay at home and rest, clean, catch up & generally try to live a stress-free life. that's what holidays are for, after all.

this means that i may have energy to blog a bit more than i have over previous holiday periods, but i don't guarantee it. once i get out of the routine of writing, it's hard to get back.

in the meantime, there's been a lot of news in hamilton regarding the cost of the v8 races. expected to cost just over $7 million when the city decided to take them on, and ended up costing 27 million. with something like 4 more years to go. our new mayor, julie hardaker, has done a wonderful job in opening up the books and letting people see the actual figures. no excuses of "commercial sensitivity" to hide information from the public. let's hope she carries on in this vein when it comes to decisions made under her leadership.

but it's hardly surprising that mr redman got out while he could. he's threatening to sue anyone who dares to suggest that he might have withheld information, and councillors are starting to back down from that claim. but as far as i'm concerned, he is ultimately responsible for this mess, along with bob simcock who replaced him as mayor. unfortunately it's likely that both of them will escape any kind of accountability - unless you count the fact that mr simcock very unexpectedly lost the last election, which was really the voters holding him accountable for this & other decisions.

and finally, a thought for the 30 asylum-seekers who died at the christmas islands. it must have been someone on facebook who said that had these 30 had been "australian", it would have filled the front-pages of the papers for weeks, there would have been national mourning, and not so quickly forgotten. but these were the forgotten people, the unimportant fleeing from the incomprehensible. irfan yusuf puts it so much better than i could, here:

To secure our borders, we go to faraway places and take part in wars against enemies, many of whom have never heard of us. What we don't seem to realise is that when we take part in wars, we have obligations. We have an obligation that is triggered as soon as hostilities cease and our leaders feel triumphant enough to declare ''mission accomplished''. It's an obligation in international law to restore and maintain basic law and order for the lucky citizens not ripped to pieces by our weapons.

Now let's look at the record in Iraq and Afghanistan. Basically it can be summarised like this: we came, we saw, we conquered, we unconquered and we lost control. Any MP or pundit who thinks Iraq and Afghanistan are bastions of stability should spend Christmas with their family in a "holiday house" in Kandahar or Basra.

Many Iraqis don't celebrate Christmas. One of the most important religious festivals in Iraq is Ashura. It isn't easy celebrating when suicide bombers are out to blow themselves, you and your family to pieces on a holy day.

And if you do happen to celebrate Christmas, things aren't much better. A siege of the Our Lady of Deliverance church on October 31 left 52 worshippers dead. In such an environment, is it any wonder so many Iraqis and Afghans are fleeing?

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