Home' Greymouth Star : May 25th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, May 25, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1622 - What is believed to be the first English
ship to sight Australia, the 500 tonne Tryal, is
wrecked on rocks in the Monte Bello Islands
off Western Australia. Ninety-seven of the 143
1870 - Bushranger Captain
Thunderbolt is shot dead by
Constable A B Walker.
1914 - Britain’s House of
Commons passes Irish Home Rule
1915 - In Europe, the second Battle
of Ypres ends with casualties around 105,000.
1951 - Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean,
British foreign office officials, disappear from
London. It is later discovered they had spied for
1979 - America’s worst-ever air disaster occurs
when a DC-10 crashes at Chicago’s O’Hare
airport killing 273.
1982 - In the Falklands War, the British ships
Coventry and Atlantic Conveyor are sunk and
24 lives are lost.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Ralph Waldo Emerson, US writer (1803-
1882);Tom T Hall, US country singer (1936-);
Dixie Carter, US actress (1939-2010); Ian
McKellen, English actor (1939-);
Leslie Uggams, US singer- actress
(1943-); Frank Oz, director-voice of
Yoda and Miss Piggy (1944-); Sugar
Minott, Jamaican reggae singer and
producer (1956-2010); Julian Clary,
British television personality
(1959-); Mike Myers, Canadian
actor and comedian (1963-);Jonny
Wilkinson, English rugby player (1979-) .
“Love, I find, is like singing. Everybody can
do enough to satisfy themselves, though it
may not impress the neighbours as being very
much.” — Zora Neale Hurston, American
“Let marriage be held in honour by all. ”
— (Hebrews 13:4).
The chairman of
of Inquiry into the
disaster, Mr J K Patterson SM told the public
hearing this morning that, in comments he
made yesterday, he had not intended to imply
that it was his decided opinion that the mine
management was responsible for the deaths of
He said this at the opening of this morning’s
session answering submissions of counsel for
the Mines Department Mr R C Savage who
held that his view was not just.
This morning the Chief Inspector of
Coalmines for New Zealand, Robert Marshall
said he would not change the system whereby
the mines inspectorate was drawn from
The Greymouth Civic Centre is now looking
something like a giant meccano model.
Increasing the overall effect has been the
erection this week of the steel roof trusses
which accentuate the spindly appearance of the
The rail strike caused a delay in the arrival of
concrete blocks for the walls, which put work
more than a fortnight behind.
The Hokitika Jaycees plan to start a project
to provide public conveniences in Macandrew
Square, Hokitika, on Saturday of next week.
The site of the proposed conveniences is next
to the area planned for museum extensions.
The building will be of block construction
with an iron roof and a coloured stone frontage.
The amount received so far in public appeal is
over £101. The target is £350. Jaycees president
Mr Allan Pegley said that once the building
was started there would be a better response to
uFood for thought
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Discrimination on the basis of gender
and social class. Gosh. Imagine that.
Should be a law against it.
Of course, there is — sort of. It is,
indeed, illegal to discriminate against one’s
fellow citizens on the basis of their gender,
ethnicity, sexuality, age, religion, and even
their personal political beliefs. But the Bill
of Rights Act has absolutely nothing to
say about discrimination based on social
This is hardly surprising. A Bill of Rights
Act that outlawed discrimination based on
social class would be utterly revolutionary
— both in intent and effect. It would
outlaw capitalism. It would undermine
hierarchy. It would — not to put too fine a
point upon it — change the world.
Which is why the Bill of Rights Act will,
until the final victory of the revolution,
remain deathly silent on the subject of class.
Our economic system is quite capable of
coping with the abolition of sexism, racism,
ageism, homophobia, religious intolerance
and political witch-hunting. What it can
not abolish, however, is social class: that
“ homicidal bitchin’/ that goes down in
every kitchen/ to determine who shall ser ve
and who shall eat.” (Leonard Cohen).
As another great Jewish writer explained:
“The history of all hitherto existing society
is the history of class struggles.”
All of which is by way of contextualising
the comments of Rohan L ord, former
Labour Party candidate for the seat of East
Coast Bays and erstwhile holder of the
72nd slot on Labour’s party list.
On Tuesday morning Rohan told RNZ
that, while he was very appreciative of
Labour’s consideration, and although he
fully supported the party’s policy platform,
his list-ranking had led him to the
conclusion that he was not really the sort of
candidate they were looking for.
“ Wrapping it all up really, there’s probably
limited future prospects’, he told RNZ’s
Morning Report. “I’m white, middle class,
male, I couldn’t really see a long term
Seriously, Rohan? You are actually asking
us to accept that being middle-class is an
impediment to advancing through Labour’s
ranks? That, in a party where all of the key
decision-making positions are currently
occupied by men, being a bloke will limit
your future prospects?
Mate, if you are sincere in these
observations, then you have not been
paying attention — for about 30 years!
Oh yes, I know, the party was dominated
by Helen Clark for 15 of those 30 years.
But, in neither the Labour Party, nor in
New Zealand society generally, has gender
been the primary determinant of our recent
The crucial change of the past 30 years
has been the destruction of working-
class power. The crippling of the trade
union movement offers the most glaring
confirmation of that historic defeat.
However, if the political wing of the labour
movement had not already been taken over
by lawyers, university teachers and civil
ser vants, then driving the working-class
from the national stage would not have
been so easy. The middle-class capture of
the Labour Party in the early 1980s was
crucial to the demobilisation of the labour
movement as a decisive economic, social
and political force in the 1990s.
So, Rohan, it was not your race, gender
or class origins that limited your future
prospects, it was your ignorance of the way
things are done — not just in Labour, but
in all political parties.
To rise in any political organisation
it is necessary to prove that you have
what it takes to be a politician. Can you
organise yourself into a safe seat — like
Helen Clark and John Key? Can you
keep your mouth shut in the interests
of party discipline? Can you be relied
upon to remain staunch in the face of
disappointment and defeat? Can your
comrades trust you not to publicly spit the
dummy when the decisions of the party
bosses do not go the way you expected?
Well, Rohan, I think you know the
answers to all those questions. I agree,
when it comes to the people in charge of
the Labour Party — middle-class to a man
— you are most definitely, “probably not
Do not feel too bad about it though. Be
comforted by the fact that Kris Faafoi,
Labour’s shadow minister of tourism,
when called upon to condemn the
thoroughly bourgeois practice of tipping
(a no-brainer for any genuine socialist)
happily pleaded guilty to tipping the odd
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
Discrimination based on social class
Suburban rise of radicalism
Souad Mekhennet in Manchester,
ith its red brick
buildings, large villas
and green lawns,
area of southern
appear to be an unlikely location for an
investigation into Britain’s worst terrorist
attack since 2005.
But this week, police forces launched
at least three operations in Fallowfield
and surrounding neighbourhoods in
connection with the devastating attack
6km away in the north of Manchester.
Authorities identified the suspected
suicide attacker as Salman Abedi, a
22-year-old British citizen of Libyan
descent, and Fallowfield residents said he
spent time in the area with his family.
In other communities at the centre of
recent terrorism investigations — such
as the Molenbeek district of Brussels
and some Parisian suburbs — authorities
have openly acknowledged problems with
Poverty, crime and high unemployment
in these areas have long played into the
hands of radicals, they say.
Manchester is different. Suburbs such
as Fallowfield are mostly culturally or
ethnically diverse and wealthy, with little
to suggest that neighbourhoods there have
dealt with extremism for years.
But even before Tuesday ’s attack,
counterterrorism operations had focused
on the small part of the city’s south.
Experts say Manchester’s hidden
radicalisation problem is not unique to the
“ What we have seen recently is the
emergence of clusters where groups of
people — who often live close to one
another — radicalise relatively quickly,”
said Raffaello Pantucci, the director for
international security studies at the Royal
United Ser vices Institute in London.
“This isn’t only happening in London
or Manchester, but also in much smaller
The British Government has taken
action as networks of extremists have
developed across the country.
Over the past few years, several laws have
been passed to give authorities greater
powers to arrest and prosecute attack
Security ser vices say they foiled 13 major
terrorism plots between 2013 and March
of this year. But at times, the expansive
operations have come at a high price.
In 2010, authorities in the city of
Birmingham set up sur veillance cameras
to monitor Muslims suspected of
terrorism. But critics argued at the time
that the operation placed all Muslims
By the time the project was eventually
stopped, it had damaged relations
between counterterrorism officers and
the city’s Muslim community. News of
the sur veillance scheme fed suspicion of
authorities nationwide, officials say.
Manchester “has avoided making
such mistakes”, said Jim Bonworth, a
retired chief inspector with the Greater
Manchester Police. “ The British police
very much relies on tips by community
members. We can not afford to lose their
Manchester’s experience shows that
even praised community policing efforts
struggle to prevent the radicalisation of
closed social circles across Britain.
“ In the past, such radicalisation processes
have often taken place in mosques,”
More recently, however, authorities have
largely lost the ability
to monitor terrorism
suspects during their visits
to mosques or community
groups of friends or
acquaintances are meeting
in apartments, making
it nearly impossible for
Britain’s stretched security
ser vices to monitor
suspects, a dynamic
that could explain
the seemingly sudden
emergence of groups of
radicalised individuals in
places such as southern
Members of the
community said they
were distraught by the
police operations in their
districts yesterday after
the attack, which was
claimed by Isis (Islamic
“I sometimes saw him
walk into his building
alone or with friends,”
said 32-year-old Neville Edwards, a
neighbour of the suspect. “But nobody
here ever really talked to him. ”
In Manchester’s Libyan community,
Abedi was not unknown, however. A man
who identified himself as a friend of the
Abedi family said many of the Libyans
who live in the area fled the Government
of Muammar Gaddafi and supported the
uprising against his regime.
“The Libyan community was standing
by the rebels,” he said, speaking on the
condition of anonymity for security
“I saw the boy here and there and we
were even once on the same flight to
Libya, but we weren’t close,” he said of
the suspect. “ I am more from his father’s
“ We don’t know what happened to
him or why he committed this attack on
behalf of Daesh,” he said, using the Arabic
acronym for Isis.
“ But we are worried that this might
make us Libyans look very bad.”
A taxi driver from the area said he had
never seen Abedi but had witnessed the
aftermath of attack. The man said he
was parked outside the concert venue on
Tuesday when he heard the explosion. He
then picked up two sur vivors.
“This is such a cosmopolitan city, but
there are circles and groups of people
which are extremely closed to outsiders,”
said the man, who spoke on the condition
that only his first name, Jay, be used.
“That is where teenagers or young men
and women become radicalised. If it can
happen here, it can happen anywhere.”
Pointing at a school in front of him, he
added, “ That ’s the school two twin girls
attended until they travelled to Syria to
join the Islamic State.” Their case made
Three years later, tv satellite trucks are on
the same street again.
Abedi lived several hundred metres away
from the school, according to his former
— Washington Post
Investigators searching for clues at the property of Salman Abedi.
Now that it seems likely the atrocity in
Manchester was carried out by a ‘soldier’
allied to Islamic State, there is good
reason to think neither the venue nor the
performer were chosen at random.
Why would anyone target a concert by
the American singer Ariana Grande? The
grim answer may lie in the fact that with
her revealing stage outfits, her stockings,
pink bunny ears and unabashed sexual
confidence, 23-year-old Miss Grande is a
symbol of everything Islamists hate.
According to the purist, medieval
interpretation of the Koran favoured by
Islamic State, almost everything about
western music, and the western lifestyle
that goes with it, is haram, or forbidden —
and so merits a death sentence.
Indeed, one claim of responsibility for the
attack stated: “ The explosive devices were
detonated in the shameless concert arena.”
Those unfortunate enough to live in
Islamic State’s caliphate have experience of
Three years ago, the then fledgling Islamic
State issued a statement that read: “Songs
and music are forbidden in Islam, as they
prevent one from the remembrance of
God and the Koran, and are a temptation
and corruption of the heart.” The directive
went on to cite Koranic verses and Islamic
One young Syrian I met when I was
reporting in the region, who lived in the
group’s de facto capital of Raqqa, told me
dolefully his best friend was thrown in jail
for wearing a Metallica t-shirt celebrating
the United States rock band.
At the many checkpoints through which
Syrians had to pass on their way out of
Islamic State territory (back when they
were allowed to leave), the militants paid
as much attention to the length of men’s
beards and contents of their mobile phones
as to their politics.
Guards, many of them no more than
boys, diligently searched mobile phones
for any minor infractions of their religious
laws: and that included music that ‘insulted’
In their sliding scale of punishments, I
was told, a single pop song was rewarded
by between 30 and 40 lashes with a whip
In another incident in 2015, a group of
musicians was reportedly sentenced to 90
lashes each for the ‘crime’ of playing an
Like medieval inquisitors, converts to
the Islamic State see Satan (shaytan) and
supernatural beings (jinns) everywhere and
In Syria and Iraq, their feared religious
police (the hisbah) pay particular attention
to teenage heavy metal music fans, which
they consider the devil’s work.
Women are treated as inherently
suspicious, and are forced to cover up and
wear the face veil when outside and never
to leave home without a chaperone.
Thus the sight of Ariana Grande and her
risque stage outfits would be anathema to
In territory controlled by Islamic State,
everything from pop music to musical
instruments are banned as totems of
godless western decadence.
That is why a group of masked Isis
fighters were photographed two years
ago in Libya — the country from which
the Manchester suspect ’s family hail —
burning a saxophone and drums.
Even before Islamic State moved to create
its state in the ruins of Syria and Iraq,
there were signs this extremist sensibility
was taking root among disgruntled young
Muslims in our inner cities.
In 2004, British police secretly recorded a
cell of young Islamists discussing a possible
attack on a London nightclub, on the basis
that no one could “turn round and say ‘Oh,
they were innocent ’, those slags dancing
Likewise, a car bomb parked outside
Tiger Tiger nightclub in London’s
Piccadilly in 2007 seems to have been
designed to coincide with a “ ladies’ night ”
at the venue, in which the perpetrators
might have hoped to kill and maim
scantily clad young women drinking
The vehicle was packed with 60 litres of
petrol, gas cylinders and nails, and would
have caused “carnage”, police said, if the
bomb had not failed to detonate.
(One great irony is that many of these
young Islamists have a
past of drug-dealing,
debauchery and petty
crime. Indeed, given
all their injunctions
against western music,
it is striking how many
of those who travelled
to the Islamic State
from Britain — such
as Londoner Abdel-
Majed Abdel Bary,
in Syria holding a
severed head — were
failed rap musicians.)
Now, as Islamic State
territory in the Middle
East is whittled away,
its propaganda is
urging supporters to
strike back against
“disbelievers” by seeking out more music
venues and nightclubs.
So it was that an Islamic State gunman
attacked a nightclub in Istanbul in the
early hours of New Year’s Day this year,
killing 39 of that city’s wealthy young set.
Islamic State also directed the appalling
massacre of 89 people at the Bataclan
concert hall in Paris in November 2015.
On that night, a gig by the US rock
band Eagles of Death Metal was targeted
with automatic rifles, grenades and suicide
bombs as the jihadis made a blood-soaked
statement against western music and the
lifestyle that goes with it.
These Islamist puritans believe our
western way of life is on the verge of
collapse and see their job as sending it to
hell as quickly as possible.
Their war is not so much with our
governments as with the values we all
live by, which is why they are prepared to
slaughter innocent little girls clutching
pink balloons on a night out with their
mothers at a pop concert.
James Harkin is director of the Centre
for Investigative Journalism and a reporter
on Syria and the rise of Islamic State.
— New Zealand Herald
Ariana Grande and her outfits a symbol of everything Islamists hate
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