Issue 427 November 15, 2019
Everyone has an opinion on New Zealand First MP and Forestry Minister Shane Jones.
His comment that ‘Indians who do not like our Immigration Policy can take the next flight home’ has led to angry protests with some community leaders asking him to apologise; one of them went as far as to say that he should be suspended from Parliament.
Mr Jones has been called a racist.
Let us say it here. We do not condone Mr Jones’ comments. We believe that how he made them was hurting and it was unbecoming of a Minister to have uttered them.
But saying that the government should suspend him from Parliament was inane.
For, governments do not appoint or sack MPs; they get elected either directly through people or enter the House as List candidates. Beyond that, suspending any of them is not a simple process, unless they misbehave grossly in the House.
Racism in the world
Racism is always controversial. Everyone is against it, no one likes to admit to it, and yet it exists, in one form or another, almost everywhere.
People from India know this even better. We are grown up and the current generation is growing, amidst animosity based on caste, creed, religion, language and region.
In such a scenario, it may be risky to differ but differ we must because it is in the freedom of expression that a free press exists. There is no place for impetuosity.
Democracy is founded on the proposition that people can govern themselves, and well-informed self-governance is impossible in an atmosphere where members of the press are excoriated for doing their jobs or where controversial ideas are subject to punishment.
We have something to say about the contention that ‘a majority of marriages among people from India today is arranged.’
Until next time.