The 1st and 2nd of March

Why would anyone march in protest these days?

Yesterday’s bridge-crossing and today’s march on the heart of Auckland are tangible and stimulating evidence of discontent which flags to the Government that grassroot action is alive and growing in New Zealand. It signals to grassroot New Zealand; those that march and those who are watching, that we are not asleep, nor are we powerless.

Already, the Prime Minister has dismissed the march and the marchers, saying the plans his government have made will not be changed, but statements of denial will serve only to embolden New Zealanders and multiply actions like the bridge crossing and today’s hikoi.

If the march fails to effect change, the marchers succeed. If change does come about, the marchers succeed.

Looks as though the marching season is off to a powerful start!

Tamils march around Wellington, the press doesn’t seem to care.

In contrast to the media frenzy I witnessed over the S92a Petition being presented at lunchtime yesterday, only a couple of media representatives were on hand to record this. At least Scoop posted something vaguely accurate – although there were more like 200-plus Tamils, including children in the count, which I confirmed by asking one of the organisers.

The combined Tamil communities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Palmerston North gathered in Wellington on Thursday (19th February 2009) to march through town and around to the British and Indian High Commissions, and the American Embassy, before arriving at Parliament to entreat the Government to issue a statement condemning the actions of the Indian Government in their military actions in Northern Sri Lanka against the Tamil peoples.

After waiting patiently while another group of petitioners were addressed on Parliament steps, the crowd stood waving banners and chanting “Free Tamil Eelam”, and “Help Us”.
Green Party MP Keith Locke came to address the crowd from the forecourt.

A dvd of footage taken during recent military actions against Tamil communities in northern Sri Lanka was being distributed to interested media, in order to show the kind of warfare occurring, and conditions in which the wounded and dying were being managed.
The hand-held, shaky images, with voiceover by the cameraperson, are powerful and ultimately very disturbing. There are no UN or Red Cross personnel allowed in Tamil-held parts of Sri Lanka, so there are few medical supplies, no adequate water or sterile situations for examining wounded and dying civilians brought to treatment stations.
The footage shows children screaming hysterically at the feet of sheet-wrapped corpses, traumatised by the bombing they have just survived, as much as the violent death of a parent just witnessed.
Children found by a camera operator, sitting in a dirt trench behind a collapsed house, the most minimal bomb shelter you can imagine, crying with fear and traumatised, waiting for older siblings or parents to return. Not leaving, because they have been trained to stay until they are told to come out …

More information about actions taking place in other countries at the links below.

British Tamils Forum
Canadian Tamils site

A walk in the park, following my (co)leader

At Parliament today, a media scrum in the grounds gathered around Greens’ co-leader Russel Norman and a handful of the media team from Bowen, as he announced the Green Party policy on Open Government.

Russel speaking very earnestly about Open Government

Russel speaking very earnestly about Open Government

And his speech is here

I was intrigued by the image it presented – a tight knot of the city’s journalists, print, radio & tv all present and correct.
So I jumped in, since they’d warmed up the water for me, and swam with the big fish.
Here’s what it looked like:

media scrum and backdrop

media scrum and backdrop

I got a clear view through the scrum, and found this beautiful image of integrity in action:

Clear and simple, for the last week of Campaigning

Clear and simple, for the last week of Campaigning