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Judge the anointed by the works of their heroes

  • December 24th, 2008

I’m not sure whether it is a consolation of being in my fifties instead of my thirties, or a drawback, but it is certainly harder to share the smug certainties of our ‘intellectual’ establishment. Their consensus alone sounds "whoop whoop – pull up, pull up".

Now they have a consensus supporting our Fiji policy. See for example the DomPost editorial of 18 December.

I have too many memories of that kind of consensus being wrong. Often it has been for the same naivety – the belief that leaders claiming to be democrats are heroes, and elimination is only fitting for their opponents who question whether democracy can work in their country. I ‘ve blogged on this complexity before – the ends do not automatically justify the means, but outcomes do matter .

They have not been as noisy in support of George Bush’s war for democracy in Iraq, but  then they’ve always had an excuse for the corruption or suppression of democracy in Islamic countries. Islamic extremists hate Israel, which is the US friend, so one need think no further on who to support in a battle between democratic Israel and the rest.

There was a long ago consensus that Ian Smith’s rule in Rhodesia was monstrous, because "one person one vote" was self-evidently better for everyone. The anointed went into apoplexy over over Muldoon’s penetrating 1981 observation about Mugabe (then demanding that the New Zealand government simply ban sports links with racist regimes). Muldoon excused Mugabe’s indifference to niceties like freedom of association with the comment, “when you’ve been in the jungle for a few years shooting people, it’s a bit difficult to understand”..

The survivors of Mugabe’s millions of victims might see Muldoon as the more perspicacious

Three stories in as many pages of a recent Economist (13 November) reminded me of the left’s repeated failures of judgment. Zimbabwe got a mention. Mugabe is covered in 19 Economist search items since 13 November.

But the others are just as revealing. Daniel Ortega of the Sandinistas enjoyed the worshipful support of H Clark’s generation. Nicaragua was shorthand for US wickedness in supporting the Contras.

Try this for a summary of where Ortega is now:

"In 1990 the Sandinistas agreed to hold free elections, which they lost. But their leader, Daniel Ortega, has returned to power, having won a presidential election in 2006 against a divided opposition. Now, armed with an alliance with Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, he seems determined to snuff out Nicaragua’s young democracy.

In the months before municipal elections on November 9th, Mr Ortega’s government manoeuvred to disqualify two opposition parties from the ballot. It sent police to ransack the offices of the country’s leading investigative journalist, Carlos Fernando Chamorro, and those of a women’s group. It is investigating another 15 organisations, including Oxfam, a British aid agency, for money-laundering and “subversion”. Many former Sandinista leaders have split with Mr Ortega, whose approval rating in opinion polls has slumped towards 20%."

 South Africa’s ANC were similarly worshipped. The same copy of the Economist, explains how "post-apartheid South Africa, once a shining beacon of human rights, is cosying up to nasty regimes around the world". They may have real-politik reasons for sustaining Mugabe in power, but what about this:

"In the UN Security Council, South Africa has voted against imposing sanctions not only on Zimbabwe but also on Myanmar’s military junta (after last year’s crackdown on peaceful protesters) and Iran (for violating nuclear safeguards). It is now leading efforts to suspend the International Criminal Court’s prosecution of Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, for alleged genocide in Darfur.

Its record in the UN Human Rights Council is no better. It has voted to stop monitoring human rights in Uzbekistan, despite widespread torture there, and in Iran, where executions, including those of juvenile offenders, have soared. “Never in my wildest dreams did I believe South Africa would play such a negative role,” says Steve Crawshaw of Human Rights Watch, an international monitoring group."

To me the journalistic support for the Clark/Peters (and now McCully?) Fiji policy reminds me of that sanctimonious consensus against Ian Smith in Zimbabwe.

We may claim to be simply favouring democracy over a military coup. But life is so much more messy than the theory. We are actually favouring corrupt racists whose ‘democracy’ was perhaps at least as likely to discredit democracy in Fiji as the rule of the Commodore.


  • angelina
  • December 27th, 2008
  • 3:25 am

I got a grant from the federal government for $12,000 in financial aid, see how you can get one also at

  • George
  • December 27th, 2008
  • 9:45 am

The fact that our self-annointed journalist caste are dickheads may have something to do with it. La Clark and her minions never had any doubt about Ortega, champion of the poor etc. Perhaps a spell living under his wonderous realm would help her out. The Fijian Commodore is up against all the sanctimonious cant and pontifications the NZ hacks can churn out. If they were to just hop on a plane for a three hour trip and talk to actual Fijians they would find a totally different picture of support for the coup leader.

  • mike mckee
  • December 27th, 2008
  • 1:03 pm

So Stephen please inform me how Brigadier Bananarama is good for Fiji per se and the Fijian people?

The NZ press haven’t made a case either way.
What’s the gos?

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