Editorial: Spare us from hateful ignorance

18:54, Feb 13 2013
tdn op stand
Richard Prosser

We are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love - R D Laing, Scottish psychiatrist (1927-1989). --------------------

For a brief second it seemed as though the words had been horribly transposed from some other part of the world. There was an intense extremism and ignorance about them that reminded one of another speaker more used to bluster and bellicose.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regularly lets loose in racist rants unhinged from reality. Whether meant to stir enmity or turn a highly sensitive political ear, his words indicate an idiocy that defies belief or understanding.

If such words are designed to shock there is also a soothing aspect in the speaker's distance from our own small, moderate country with a reputation for tolerance.

There is no room here for such twisted, hateful ideologies, even if we must occasionally pay the price for them in confiscated pocket knives and security fencing around port facilities.

No room surely. Surely...


Had NZ First MP Richard Prosser looked around him as he was grudgingly handing over his pocket knife before boarding a plane, he might have noticed the moderate Muslim man asked to do the same with his bottled water. Although he might have missed the European or Indonesian Muslim doing the same because they didn't quite match his stereotypical view or pique his prejudicial interest.

Had Mr Prosser's travel during the height of the IRA's attacks been delayed, would he have insisted that "if you are a young male, aged between say 19 and about 35, and you're Irish, or you look like a Protestant or a Catholic, or you come from a Protestant or Catholic country, you are not welcome..."

Logic trumps idiocy. Usually. Thankfully.

Are all Catholics to be denied access to churches and schools because a small number of them abused their young charges and then chose to hide behind their religion?

Is every Pakeha to be kicked out of the country because some of their forebears stole land and swindled those who came before them?

Our moderate and tolerant society would not allow that. It's why this is a great country to live in, and why many people of different cultures are attracted to a small and moderate nation at the bottom of the world. And maybe it's what Prosser wants to undermine.

However, most New Zealanders understand what columnist Gwynne Dyer highlights so well below: That like their global neighbours, most Muslims are good people sickened by the antics of extremists who corrupt their faith and unfairly hijack and undermine their reputation around the world. Those moderate Muslims just want democracy and peace, a safe place to live and raise a family. And certainly to be free of the blind, violent, hateful ignorance of people like Ahmadinejad. And, apparently, unfortunately, Prosser.

It's worth noting that he is not alone in his idiotic delusion. Some in the United States still believe their president is a Muslim terrorist hiding in plain sight.

Planes leave for the US regularly, Richard. Just don't take your pocket knife.

Taranaki Daily News