Pride Parade disrupted by Queer People

The Auckland Pride Parade, held last Saturday, was supposed to be a happy event for all the family. Groups from ANZ and Westpac marched. Staff of the Coca Cola corporation marched to express their pride in being employees of a very large corporation founded to manufacture a drink that used to have cocaine in it, but now doesn’t. Other groups that marched included a contingent from the Israeli Embassy, prison guards and government MP Judith Collins accompanied by a posse of police officers.

A group called ‘No Pride in Prisons’ announced a counter-protest, which many people assumed was an attempt to argue that, while people may be proud of working for junk-food manufacturers, law-enforcement agencies or embassies that forge passports, nobody should take pride in being in prison. However, when the members of No Pride in Prisons reached the parade route, they started shouting “We’re here, we’re queer!” A representative from the Bank of New Zealand was heard to say “Why are they bringing sexual orientation into it? This is our day. This is the only day of the year when we can openly express our pride in being bank tellers. People tell us we’re not marginalised, because we have a Prime Minister used to be a banker, but the fact is that he doesn’t represent low-status bank tellers like me.”

The Pride Parade is an initiative of Prime Minister John Key and Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye, and is loosely modelled on ‘gay pride’ marches of previous decades. This sometimes causes confusion. After the parade, a policewoman who had been marching said “This is about pride. This is about us celebrating our pride in being allies to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Fa’afafine communities. I think it’s very arrogant for members of those communities to disrupt our march on the one day when we get to celebrate our pride in being their allies”

“But it’s not really about you, is it? Surely it’s about them?”

“It’s about us too. We are the A in LGBTIAF”

At that point, a young man butted in and said “It’s not your A. The A stands for asexuals like me”

The police woman stood up on tippy toes, her face red with anger, and said “No, it’s ours. People like me go through a lot of shit in the police for being allies”

“Um, I think we’re the ones who are actually marginalised in New Zealand culture”

“Get fucked”

The young man shrugged, and replied “I’d rather not, actually.”

Late into the night, a group of Fa-fafines from Manurewa wearing hi-viz vests were seen furiously scrubbing the surface of Ponsonby Road to remove a light rose-coloured stain that had spread across the whole surface. It is believed the stain was from a substance called pinkwash.

Is The Wellington Sevens Being Appropriated by Rugby?

There are increasing concerns that the Rugby Union are trying to take over Wellington’s iconic Sevens festival, and turn it into a rugby-themed event. In an attempt to compete with the NRL Auckland Nines, the Rugby Union have capitalised on sevens weekend by inventing a tournament in which rugby teams of seven people play each other for seven minutes.

Berhampore man Florian Brown, who does something obscure in the bespoke beard-oil business, asked “Why does everything in this country have to become about rugby? I mean, I can accept them putting the silver fern on the flag and stuff like that, but the sevens was always one of the things in this country that wasn’t about rugby. Why are they letting rugby take over the sevens?”

A Victoria University lecturer in Religious Studies said “New Zealanders’ interaction with the spiritual realm focuses on three rites – rugby, beer and saving whales. Historically, these have always been kept well separate. People don’t normally feel the need to drink beer while saving whales, or to save whales while watching a rugby match, so I can understand why some people might not want to have rugby impinging on a drinking festival such as the Wellington Sevens.” Florian Brown broadly agreed, but said he thought the sevens was really more of a dressing up festival than a drinking festival – “I attended last year dressed as a light pilsner, and half the people there didn’t even recognise my costume.”

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown was quick to reassure sevens fans, saying “People shouldn’t worry that the rugby is going to come to dominate the sevens. The Rugby Union have just as much right to do marketing tie-ins with the sevens as any other Wellington business does. It all helps to broaden the appeal of the sevens to a sector of society who previously might not have even known they were on. It may seem hard to believe now, but fifty years ago some people thought horse racing was going to take over the Melbourne Cup!”

War On Christmas finally breaks out in the United States

The much-predicted ‘war on christmas’ has finally broken out in the United States. Members of the Massachusetts Tea Party have started picketing churches in the Boston area to protest against the celebration of Christmas, describing Christmas as ‘contrary to the spirit this country was founded on’. A spokesperson said “The ancestors of modern Massachusetts residents came here in search of religious freedom, and the most important of those freedoms was the freedom to stop other people from celebrating Christmas.”

The ‘war’ that has broken out consists of several men in tall black hats handing out pamphlets outside a church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A spokesman for the Tea Party of Wyoming said “I hope they come and hand out pamphlets outside my church, so I can shoot them”

The Tea Party of South Carolina put out a statement saying “How dare these people call themselves a Tea Party! What would people in a liberal Northern state like Massachusetts know about the Boston Tea Party anyway?”

The Tea Party of Florida put out a statement saying “hopefully now liberals will wake up to the threat of the war on Christmas, and stop worrying about little things like climate change.

Historic Compromise Reached on Climate Change

This year’s Paris Climate Change negotiations saw a historic compromise – the governments represented agreed to an ambitious temperature target of keeping warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, while agreeing to a target of greenhouse gas emissions that would lead to warming of at least 3 degrees. Both sides are said to be happy with this compromise.

The target for emissions is also seen by some as a compromise – it is a reduction in that it is a target of getting emissions lower than it was predicted they would be, and yet it is an increase in that it involves higher emissions per year than we currently have. Thankfully this is all balanced off by the fact that the governments have agreed that temperature rise will be kept to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, despite acknowledging that their proposed rising emissions will not achieve this.

Another area where a historic compromise has been reached is around the mining and burning of fossil fuels. On the one hand, countries have agreed that if they are to limit emissions, they need to stop burning as much oil. On the other hand, if they are to get more money from selling oil, they need to mine more oil. At the eleventh hour, they agreed to the compromise position that they would keep expanding oil drilling, but would not burn the oil, and would instead merely try to export it to other countries and encourage them to burn it.

The actual promises to burn less fossil fuel are not legally binding, because making them legally binding on the United States of America would require approval from the Senate, and many senators believe they already have a rpomise from God that global climate change will not happen. This doesn’t matter, because the representatives have promised their countries will make these reductions, and we can take them at their word, unless they had their fingers crossed behind their backs.

ISIL Claim Responsibility for 1993 Oklahoma City Bombing

Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) yesterday claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in 1995, saying that McVeigh and Nichols were followers of ISIL.

After claiming responsibility for the San Bernardino shootings, ISIL have started claiming responsibility for earlier mass murders in the United States, including the Sandy Hook massacre and the Columbine High School massacre, but the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing is the biggest attack in the US that they have yet claimed. A spokesfanatic for ISIL said yesterday that ISIL had originally not claimed responsibility for these attacks because they thought the American people would be more terrorised by the thought of being in the grip of a homegrown epidemic of predominantly motiveless mass killings. However, now that they had seen how much public panic had increased when they learned that one of the shootings was the work of muslims, ISIL would now be claiming responsibility for all mass-killings in the US in the last 30 years.

ISIL are also looking at claiming responsibility for Anders Breivik’s mass killing spree in Norway in 2011. The idea of ISIL being behind that killing seems less plausible, as the killer openly said he was doing it because he hated muslims. However, Mr Breivik is rumoured to have privately told Abu Bakr al Baghdadi that he is prepared to say it was an ISIL attack if this means all muslims will be kept out of Europe in response. Donald Trump has committed that he will use such an announcement as a reason to send troops to keep Muslims out of Europe, whether he is elected president of the US or not.

Wellington to Re-Brand as ‘War City’ for Weapons Conference

In preparation for the upcoming weapons conference in Wellington, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown announced that the sign saying ‘Welcome to Wellington – A Peace City” will be taken down, and Wellington will be re-branded as a war city. The rebranding is a gesture of respect to weapons conference delegates, who may be offended by the idea of a ‘Peace City’. When told about this, veteran protestor Valerie Morse (who was Celia Wade-Brown’s campaign manager in 2002) said “This is treating people with respect gone mad!”

The global network of War Cities has fewer members than the Peace Cities network, despite financial inducements to join.

Deputy Mayor Justin Lester said “I don’t think it’s a ‘killing people’ conference. It’s an arms industry conference, so it’s about making prosthetic limbs and such things.”

When told that companies that make exploding cluster bomblets that children may pick up would be represented at the conference, Mr Lester replied that that did not contradict it being an arms industry conference – “Obviously there’s a symbiotic relationship between companies that make arms and companies that blow arms off – that’s just how economic growth works.”

A man running a nuclear weapons stall in the foyer at last year’s weapons conference objected to the suggestion that nuclear weapons were about war or killing people. “Nuclear weapons may have been used to kill people in the dim dark past, but today’s nuclear weapons industry has nothing to do with war. The global nuclear weapons industry has manufactured more than thirty thousand nuclear weapons in the last sixty years, and not a single one of them has ever been used to kill people. Today’s nuclear weapons industry is about bringing jobs to economically-depressed areas, it’s about the advancement of technology, it’s about creating employment opportunities for nuclear weapons scientists who might otherwise be forced to seek employment in other countries’ nuclear weapons programmes.”

The companies that will be represented at the conference describe themselves as ‘Defence Industry Contractors’, but many of them produce offensive weapons as well as defensive ones, and are expanding rather than contracting. A spokesperson for conference participant Blockhead Martian said “Theoretically we could just make things like armoured trucks and surface-to-air missiles for protecting against attacks by others, but that would be freeloading on the market other companies create by selling people the offensive weapons that our equipment would be used to protect against. We do not do that.”

The old National Museum in Buckle Street will become a permanent war museum to back up the ‘war city’ branding, but Her Worship the Mayor will be asking Peter Jackson to redesign the exhibits to present war in a more positive light, befitting of a city that celebrates war.

Portobello Road Should Be Renamed ‘Parihaka Road’

Portobello Road on the Otago Peninsula should be renamed ‘Parihaka Road’, in recognition of the prisoners of war from Parihaka who were used to build it.

It is easy to think of the New Zealand Wars as purely a North-Island issue, because all of the battles took place in the North Island. However, Dunedin in particular benefited a huge amount from being able to use prisoners of war from the North as effective slave labour to build roads and railways. The Otago Provincial council paid for the right to use these people to build public works, but they didn’t pay the workers themselves – they paid the people who captured them. As such, the New Zealand Wars were partially bankrolled by the massive wealth Otago temporarily had from the gold rush.

The treatment of the Parihaka prisoners is particularly shocking, because they were peaceful protesters who were so obviously in the right, and they were arrested for doing exactly what the British Empire’s ‘civilising mission’ was supposedly about teaching them to do – they had put their tribal differences behind them, and founded the community of Parihaka which made use of modern technology from so-called ‘Western Civilisation’. And when they were attacked for this, they resisted non-violently, because they were trying to follow the way of Jesus that the missionaries had come to teach them.

There are many lessons we can take from the story of Parihaka. The most obvious one is that, however much we may call on God to defend New Zealand, sometimes the New Zealand government is guilty of actions that are indefensible. A second lesson is that non-violent resistance isn’t some kind of silver bullet for oppressed peoples everywhere – it worked in India fifty years later, but it did not work for the people of Parihaka. Nobody alive today is responsible for the wrongs of the 19th century, which is why the Waitangi Tribunal has no power to hand out punishments. All they do is seek to give some compensation for lost assets. That compensation is paid from the taxes of all New Zealanders, including Pakeha, Maori from other Iwi, and even members of the same Iwi the compensation is given to, based on the theory that people are likely to have benefitted from the sins of the past somewhat in proportion to their wealth. Acknowledging that the roads and railways around Otago Harbour were built with the slave labour of Maori who resisted land confiscations is one way of recognising how we can quite innocently benefit from past atrocities.

There is a Parihaka monument on Portobello road, but it is specifically a memorial to the twenty or so prisoners who died building the road, because their graves are unmarked and cannot be found.

Finally, Portobello Road is a good road to rename in honour of this, because its current name has little meaning. It got its name because it is the road that connects Dunedin to the town of Portobello, but most of the addresses on Portobello Road are in or near Dunedin, and calling it Portobello Road just causes confusion. The name Portobello itself comes from a town in Panama. It commomorates a battle the British navy fought there two centuries ago. The battle of Portobello has nothing to do with Portobello road (It doesn’t have anything to do with the Otago town of Portobello either, but the name has become synonymous with that town among New Zealanders, so I think the town should keep the name). The raids of Parihaka were about more than the building of Portobello Road, but the history of Portobello Road has everything to do with the Denizens of Parihaka who were wrongfully taken to Otago to build Portobello Road. And that is why it should be renamed Parihaka Road.