The best means of defence is attack, in Alf’s book – but Patricia Grace has different ideas

A sheila by name of Patricia Grace, a much-admired writer of books and stuff Alf is told, has popped up to declare her opposition to this country sending troops to war.

It is not clear if she distinguished between sending troops to fight a war or sending them to teach some other bugger to fight a war.

Perhaps this was clarified in the item broadcast from Radio NZ this week.

But a pointer to the item says:

One of New Zealand’s most celebrated authors, Patricia Grace, says New Zealand should not be going to war anywhere, including places in the Middle East such as Afghanistan.

Alf fancies himself not so much as a writer as a judge of good writing and immediately spotted a tautology.

If New Zealand did not go to war anywhere, then that would include the Middle East and Afghanistan.

It would include anywhere around this country, too, which would complicate planning at Defence Headquarters more than somewhat.

The same tautology is applied by officials keen to assure Maori that they are being consulted on this, that or the other.

They are so bloody nervous about indigenous persons waving the Treaty and claiming they have not been consulted, they spell it out.

An example can be found in the Tamaki Regeneration Programme, as a certain public housing development in Auckland is known. It is a two stage project, according to the heads of agreement, and:

The HoA requires the company to consult and engage with the local community, including iwi, Pacific and other community groups, council local boards, district health boards and NGOs.

If a local community included iwi, then by definition it would  be consulted.

But tautology is not the point of Alf’s drawing attention to the pacifist thinking of Patricia Grace.

His musings had him wondering what she would have done in World War II when Hitler was imposing his harsh authoritarian rule on most of Europe and avoiding any consultative nonsense by tossing certain groups into concentration camps to be exterminated, such as Jews, homosexuals and Communists.

As the Nazis pushed their disagreeable way into one country after enough, are we to suppose Patricia would have insisted this is not or problem?

Ah – but what about when the Japanese joined in and came perilously close to invading our country?

Is she really saying we should have waited until the Japanese came ashore here, and even then done nothing war-like to resist them?

Alf suspects the Japanese would not have been too fussed about the Treaty of Waitangi and would have used it to light the fire in Wellington in the winter.

Mind you, dear Grace might harbour some thoughts about Japanese liberating our indigenous persons from the yoke of colonialism.

Fat chance.

That’s what the Malays thought when the Japanese kicked the Poms out of Malaya.

They were the indigenous persons of that country and they were misled, according to Wikipedia: 

The invading Japanese forces used slogans such as “Asia untuk orang Asia” (translation: Asia for Asians) to win support from the local Malays. The Japanese worked hard to convince the local population that they were the actual saviours of Malaya while Britain was portrayed as an imperialist force that wished to exploit Malaya’s resources. However in November 1943, when the Japanese held the Greater East Asia Conference, both Malaya and Indonesia were excluded as the Japanese Military wanted to annex both countries.

Well fancy that!

Oh – but what about Malaya’s Indians and Malays generally escaping the worst of the atrocities?

Patricia should think again.

The Japanese wanted the support of the Indian community to invade and free India from British rule. Indians were also encouraged to assist Japanese war efforts by being labourers, but along with the Chinese, some 73,000 Malayans were thought to have been forced to work on the Thai-Burma Railway, with 25,000 dying. The Malays were left to manage their country under Japanese guidance.

As the war progressed all three ethnic communities began to suffer deprivations from increasingly severe rationing, hyper-inflation, and a lack of resources. Both the Malay and Indian communities gradually came into more conflict with the occupying Japanese prompting more joining the resistance movement…

So waiting for the invaders doesn’t seem to be a bright idea.

And Patricia might have to learn a new language as well as buckle under to the demands of the invaders if she wanted to continue having her books published.

If she didn’t and if she bridled against the occupying power, she would have a good chance of finishing up in front of a firing squad.

In that case, of course, she could follow the example of the eight prisoners executed in Indonesia during the week. According to a TV One News report, they went to their deaths singing Amazing Grace.

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