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.

Tamilnet
British Tamils Forum
Canadian Tamils site

Leave me alone – I’m trying to have a holiday

David Farrar at Kiwiblog also has a regular on-line column at the National Business Review. This week his NBR column is a purported SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of the political parties in Parliament.

Among his suggested weakneses for National, he states: “Some new Ministers may prove to be easy targets for the Opposition.”

Now, there’s been quite a lot of activity on the Foreign Affairs front warranting a response from Foreign Minister Murray McCully over the last month. So lets have a look at some of the media comments (or lack thereof) emanating from the Dark Side:

Whaling: Government whaling spokesman Murray McCully said he had not seen the report detailing the proposal…

Whaling: But he says the overall objective needs to be to stop whaling altogether. Mr McCully says he is relaxed about debates on how to do that – but says there are no proposals on the table which New Zealand lends its support to.

Whaling: A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said he was awaiting ministerial advice before responding to the report.

Sea Shepherd: A spokesman for Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the Government would not comment publicly unless the ship intended to enter New Zealand.

Sea Shepherd: A government spokesman said that the Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, would be advised on the matter, as soon as a thorough assessment was completed.

Sri Lankan conflict: A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully told ONE News that New Zealand’s links to Sri Lanka are not strong enough to try to help resolve the conflict…

Israeli invasion of Gaza: Putting pressure on Israel alone to end the violence in Gaza will not stop the death toll rising, says Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

Israeli invasion of Gaza: Amnesty says it is disappointed at recent comments by Foreign Minister Murray McCully and would welcome a stronger call to end the bloodshed there.

Israeli invasion of Gaza: The Government has taken a neutral stance. Since the conflict began, Foreign Minister Murray McCully has been urging both sides to agree to a ceasefire.

Israeli invasion of Gaza: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said that while deeply disappointed with Israel’s invasion, which has caused over 500 Palestinian deaths, it was “pointless” discussing whether it was overreaction.

Israeli invasion of Gaza: A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said New Zealand is not a significant player in Middle Eastern politics but the Government is doing all it can.

Israeli invasion of Gaza: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said the criticism from Mr Locke that the government had not released a press statement on the Gaza conflict was “pure sophistry”. “I have been available to every news media outlet in the country that has sought comment on the issue from the outset.

Fiji rules out elections: New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully would not comment on the issue.

Relations with Fiji: New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully told Radio New Zealand the issue will be raised in Cabinet when it resumes later this month. He said it will be up to New Zealand’s Prime Minister to decide how to respond as the letter is addressed to him.

Israeli women ordered out of Southland café: Mr McCully told The Southland Times people had very strong views on the situation in the Middle East. “But it’s to be hoped that this sort of thing isn’t to be imported into New Zealand.” He would not answer further questions on the issue.

Israeli women ordered out of Southland café: Foreign Affairs minister Murray McCully did not return calls last night.

On the basis of this performance, I’m wondering if McCully was one of the Ministers who inspired David Farrar’s suggestion some of them could be easy targets. Let’s hope Murray’s holiday doesn’t last the full three year term.