The secret diary of . . . Barbara Sumner Burstyn

01:21, Sep 02 2012
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Barbara Sumner Burstyn


I was walking along the street minding my own business when I realised the private and public grief about the deaths of New Zealand defence personnel in Afghanistan was totally misguided, so I took out my portable ladder, climbed to the top, and shouted down from a great height, "You're all idiots and you make me sick!"

Well, that set the cat among the pigeons! They scurried this way and that, shaken to the very core, although they didn't actually have much core. They were as dumb as beasts. They lacked soul, and feeling and heart.

They also lacked moral compass. Fortunately for them, I was able to take a reading, and set everyone on the right track.

I called down that we had no business in Afghanistan, and that our military actions there were deeply suspect.

No-one seemed to notice those comments, so I added that we shouldn't pay any respect to the fallen New Zealanders, who were cold-hearted killers, and had died not through any fault of the Taleban, but as a result of their own flawed choices.


The ladder began to shake.


My comments have brought out the worst in ordinary New Zealanders, and revealed them as savages, lunatics and zealots.

They're like a travelling lynch mob. Last week, they mobilised against Stewart Murray Wilson. Right now, it's my turn. It'll be someone else's by the end of the week.


No-one cares that savages, lunatics and zealots have threatened me with rape and murder, so I got out my portable ladder, climbed up a couple of rungs, and was overheard to say, "You're all idiots and you make me sick!"

The ladder wobbled a little bit but not much.

Where were the mob? Maybe there were too busy burying their dead. I don't know. I don't really care. What about my sufferings? What about my vast and overwhelming importance? What about me, me, me?


There is no tradition of dissent in New Zealand.

We are under strict orders to stay quiet and to conform to the established view. We are ruled by the police, the politicians, the army, the schools, the marae, the farmers, the Country Women's Institute, the All Blacks and Alison Holst; the media is on it, and attacks anyone who steps out of line.

Still, it's a nice place to raise kids.


It is the lot of an artist to tell the truth about the times she lives in.

As a documentary maker whose work has been seen around the world by 17 people, I have a grave responsibility to share my vision.

It's impossible to stay quiet when there are now so many opportunities to express one's self- righteous, ill-thought, emphatic views.

Was about to get out my portable ladder and correct everyone about their moral failings when I saw the lynch mob run down the street towards Charlotte Dawson.

Taranaki Daily News