Tuesday, 9 August 2011

been a bit sick

well, i sort of crashed last week. possibly because i was doing too much but also because i must have eaten something that really disagreed with me. i won't bore you with the details because they are incredibly unromantic, but let's just say that my body is currently a cocktail of chemicals ingested to fight against the various ways it has decided to turn against me. i think i'm finally winning on that front, and hope to be drug-free (by which i mean medicinal drugs, of course) by tomorrow.

the night after i last posted here, i rushed off to auckland after work, to attend the 235th independence day celebration hosted by the american ambassador. yes, almost a month late, but nonetheless, i thought it important to attend. although, as with many other independence days (particularly the australian one), the very nature of it is a bit of an insult to indigenous populations, because that independence didn't lead to particularly good things for them. in that sense, nz's celebration of a treaty between two peoples is a much more inclusive affair, except of course, that said treaty didn't really protect the indigenous party from the sorts of things that were happening in other countries.

despite this inner contradiction (and many more) i attended, because i still believe it's important to maintain good relationships & to continue dialogue. the whole affair had a hawaian theme, which tied into the ambassador's speech which was heavy on the notion that america was a country of the pacific just as nz is, and therefore we have much in common etc etc.

a couple of highlights: secretary of state hilary clinton's message included words to the effect that values around freedom and democracy were not just american values but universal values (yay! it's actually great to have that acknowledged). and she tied this point in with the arab spring and the struggles for democracy in that part of the world.

the second highlight was the ambassador's toast which was apparently a huge breach of protocal and went something like this: "to the poeple of nz, to their elected representatives, and finally to their queen, in that order". i loved it, as did almost everyone there - which just shows that it surely must be time to let go of the monarchy. this is surely a sign of a democrat appointment, because having attended this event for several years, i can certainly say that a previous ambassador was very careful to acknowledge the queen first and foremost.

it was either this event or the dinner afterwards where i ate something that caused a bit of havoc & therefore relative inaction for much of the week. i have, however, continued with meetings for various organisations as best i could manage. the key one being for the diversity forum, where i am working with poverty action waikato to run a session on the intersection of poverty and ethnicity. more about this soon.

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