Hone Harawira / Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau – 2008-01-06 21:38:33
Terrorism Suppression Bill – Third Reading
AOTEAROA / NEW ZEALAND (November 8. 2007) — Mr Speaker, over the past couple of days, comments I made about this Terrorism Suppression Bill seem to have generated some heated debate from politicians, both inside and outside of this House.
So I thought I’d recap on my comments, so the House was absolutely crystal clear about what I actually said, and here it is:
“I will not sit quietly by, while State forces terrorise my people. If this requires of me that I speak out against the rule of law that would impose terror on MÇori communities in this country, then I will speak out. I will speak out against it in this chamber, on television, in newspapers, and anywhere else I possibly can.”
And I stand by those comments today, in spite of all the personal abuse I have had from someone who called for and signed up to a Code of Conduct which states that: “we will debate the issues raised and refrain from personal attacks” and then twice in as many weeks, issued press releases abusing me as a person and insulting my position as an MP.
I stand by those comments, because they reflect the feelings within many Maori communities, all round the country.
I stand by those comments because they reflect the feelings of New Zealanders who are proud to stand up for their rights, and who respect the right of all New Zealanders to do so as well.
I stand by those comments because neither I, nor the Maori Party, will allow our views to be silenced by those who think the only good Maori is a dead one.
And I stand by those comments, because, unless somebody has changed the rules in the last couple of days, and I know that some of the petty little players in this House have been desperately climbing onto the “let’s do whatever we can to shut this Harawira up and get some media for ourselves” bandwagon, I have the right as an elected member of this House of Representatives, as do the rest of my colleagues in the Maori Party, to speak freely on any issue that affects this country and it’s citizens.
So let’s look at what this whole Terrorism thing means. What exactly is terrorism and who are we talking about when we call people terrorists?
People in this House say that the Taleban are terrorists. And my question is, is that the Taleban that was funded by the Americans to throw the Russians out of Afghanistan, or, as if there’s 2 different groups, is that the Taleban who turned around and said “and now you Yankee warmongers can get out of here as well!”
And Saddam Hussein. Is that the Saddam Hussein who was bankrolled by the Americans in the war against Iran, or is that the Saddam Hussein who told the Americans to get out of his country?
Or is it the terrorism of the United States 7th Cavalry, operating under a clear mandate from their masters in Washington in the 1870s, to crush everything that stood in the way of the land-hungry, gold-crazy settlers, and to round up, and hunt down and kill where necessary, any natives who stood in their way?
And when we talk about the fight against terrorism, I recall attending a conference in Canada – the United Nations Expert Seminar on Treaties, Agreements and other constructive arrangements between States and Indigenous Peoples – held in Hobbema, Canada last year, where I was given this picture of Geronimo and his warriors carrying guns, and the caption below which read: HOMELAND SECURITY: FIGHTING TERRORISM SINCE 1492. And I ask, is that the kind of fight against terrorism that we’re talking about here?
Or is it the terrorism of the apartheid regime of South Africa, and I like many others in this House, will never forget the image of a young man running through the streets of Sharpeville carrying a young girl, killed by government-sponsored agents of terror; an image which helped shape an understanding in the minds of thousands of New Zealanders, that our passion for rugby should never again be sullied by links to state-sponsored terror and state-sponsored murder.
Or is it the terrorism of those who lied to the whole world about Weapons of Mass Destruction, which were never found, and the link between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein which was never proved, so they could invade Iraq to get control of the oilfields?
Mr Speaker, when a member of this House characterises terrorism as the importation of deadly diseases, the murder of innocent civilians, and the wholesale theft of a people’s lands and territories, is he referring to the terrorism of the colonial invasion of Aotearoa, because you’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to see those very terrorist activities in our own history?
Mr Speaker, when we think of this Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill, all I ask is that we put aside the blinkers of the red, white and blue and be honest about the reality of terrorism, in all its forms.
The Maori Party is no apologist for the regimes of either the Taleban or Saddam Hussein, Mr Speaker, but neither are we so blind as to vote for a Bill clearly designed to punish those who would challenge injustice in Aotearoa.
Mr Speaker, Nicky Hagar, author of The Hollow Men, says that since the passing of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, people taking part in ordinary protests have found they are being subjected to much heavier policing.
He reckons that police are now routinely removing computers, charging people well out of proportion to the original activity, and using far more draconian measures against people exercising their legitimate right to protest.
He even pointed out how protestors had been charged with wilful damage for writing in chalk on a footpath, outside Marian Hobbs’ office for heaven’s sake!!!
This country is faced by the terror of silence; those who would silence the voice of radical protest, of vocal dissent and of genuine opposition; those who would tell us “wait, just wait, the police know what they’re doing.”
And then there’s those of us who would sit silently by, muttering about how those so-and-so’s deserved it, but secretly terrified that our children might be the next ones to get picked up, and I am reminded of those famous words from Pastor Martin Niemoller who said of the Nazi purges of the Second World War:
First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. And then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak out for me.
So no, we will not be terrorised into silence on this, or any other issue that so hugely impacts upon our people.
And for all those who think that the Maori Party stands alone, listen to these testimonies:
Archdeacon Hone Kaa and the Anglican Church itself, have criticised the authorities for their actions, and said that “there is no excuse for women, children and the elderly being subjected to terror.”
Reverend John Thrupp of the Presbyterian Church spoke of the overwhelming hurt and sense of anger amongst the people of Ruatoki, the innocent people being held at gunpoint, the children being frightened out of their wits by police with guns, and the kids being stranded by police arresting their parents.
Te Teira Davies, a highly respected Ringatu Minister who was arrested, taken from the college where he works, and questioned, for daring to know Tame Iti.
Maaaate, you can call the Maori Party whatever you like, but when the church starts criticising police action, you knoooooow that something’s wrong.
So when members of this House criticise the Maori Party and the Green Party for standing against state terrorism, I gotta ask all of you — Do you really think it’s acceptable behaviour for the state to use armed and masked gunmen to blockade communities, smash into people’s homes, hold innocent people at gunpoint, frighten children with guns, arrest and hold people without bail, and suppress all information on those cases?
Mr Speaker, any freedom-loving New Zealander, Maori, Pakeha, Pasifika, Asian, whatever, would be horrified by the call for us to simply sit back and say nothing about the overkill of the recent police terror-raids, and the denial of basic human rights to our fellow citizens.
We are not dumb; we are not blind; we are not deaf; and we will not be silenced.
Mr Speaker, they say that in dictatorships, denying legal rights to terrorism suspects is normal, but in countries like Aotearoa with a history of political tolerance and non-violent protest, – it is a development we must rage against with all our might.
On the 29 March 2007, I said in this House that the Maori Party will oppose the use of terror to impose one-eyed nationalistic misconceptions of religion and governance on any people, whether committed in the name of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda or in the name of George Bush and the United States of America.
Today I repeat that statement. The MÇori Party will oppose terrorism in all its forms, be it international terrorism or state terrorism, and we will stand alongside our people whenever our lands, our communities, and our people are threatened.
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