In the lastest edition of freerange there is an excellent interview with the family The Leasons. Pg 20-26. This article is a lovely background to a family that has raised some very timely questions about what is the right way to protest in today complex global environment. Otaki organic gardener Adrian Leason is one of three individuals charged with crimes related to a non-violent and quite successful attack on the American led spy base in Waihopai. After a long wait the three appeared in court yesterday and were accompanied by some 50 protestors outside of court. The Dominion Post in Wellington has the following article about the first day of the trial. The author of the freerange article Ruth Hill introduces the family with the following:
“A small organic holding in sunny Otaki, New Zealand, sprouting kids and pigs and walnut trees, seems a world away from the devastation of war-torn Iraq. But for Adrian and Shelley Leason, the two are intimately connected.”
I’d have thought that most of the world is a world away from the devastation of war-torn Iraq, and this I guess is the point. In our highly choreographed democracies it takes something special to remind us of the devastation that war actually is. The three individuals readily admit to committing the acts, but argue however that it was an act of self defense on behalf of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
My personal view falls a few different ways on this: On one hand the war in Iraq was and is an absolute travesty of the worst sort of lies and distorted politics, and the Blair’s and Bushes who created it should be locked away forever. There is no crime worse than the fabrication of lies to a population and an army which then leads to all out and very one sided war. On the other hand we have to ask if the breaking of more laws is a suitable way to draw attention to this matter? And on another hand we have to ask if attacking a spy base in New Zealand is the appropriate means to protest a war in another part of the world? It does strike me as a remarkably daring and effective display of activism, and given the absolute and utter devastation acted upon the people of Iraq, this was a pretty small scale act of protest. I draw the readers to Nicky Hagar’s book Absolute Power for an indepth background to the role of the Waihopai spy base in the international ‘intelligence’ network.
What does everyone else feel about all this? Given that we are about to start investigating the role of the trickster in todays world its seems a good place to start a conversation about how to respond to violent power.