As many of us feel helpless and in despair watching on as every new day brings a new horror for the innocent civilians living in Gaza, Capsule columnist Brodie Kane is imploring our leaders to call for a ceasefire.
Brodie – a broadcaster who also served a four-year stint in the Territorials of the NZ Army – like many Kiwis has had enough. Enough of watching on as things go from worse, to hideously unbearably worse in Gaza. Enough of standing by watching, powerless to change things. She’s walked alongside the thousands of Kiwis who have turned out at rallies, marches and vigils. Last night, she sent an email to both the outgoing Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, calling on them to act.
With Brodie‘s permission, we’re republishing that letter here, as an open letter to our leaders (this letter has been edited for clarity).
Dear Chris and Chris,
I don’t even know which one of you is really in charge right now, but for weeks and weeks you’ve been campaigning on your differences and yet here we are staring down the barrel at a glaring similarity – one so disappointing it’s beyond words. Your indifferent, shameful, and unforgiving stance (or lack thereof) on the slaughter of thousands of innocent children, thousands of defenceless human beings deprived of water, food, power, communication, medical care. We are watching the destruction of a people in real time, and you, the leaders of Aotearoa, are doing nothing. Shame on you.
I have often thought of our little country at the bottom of the world as one that isn’t afraid to stick its neck out when it believes in a cause or an injustice. I’m not saying we’re perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I grew up and learnt about this little country that stood up to the big guys – and told them to shove their nuclear-powered warships because this nation wanted to do the right thing.
Thousands and thousands took to the streets against the Springbok Tour during the apartheid regime in South Africa. People stuck their necks out to fight for what was right and again, the little country at the bottom of the world told the big guys what we thought.
I can’t help but think that the little country at the bottom of the world has become a bit of a sellout of late, thanks to both of your parties.
Don’t insult my intelligence and tell me the situation is complicated. It couldn’t be less complicated. Don’t tell me Israel has a right to defend itself because that would mean its defending itself against babies, the elderly, the weak and the sick, and the more than two million people with no weapons, no homes and no future under this cruel insanity the global community is allowing to happen in plain sight.
Everyone knows Hamas is cruel and evil, but can we not all see that what’s happening is simply chopping off one arm only for another to grow? I certainly do not condone terrorism but if Israel is allowed to wipe a population off the ground and get away with it, do you not think we’ll see an unprecedented rise in terrorism? Have we forgotten how and why Al-Qaeda and ISIS were born? Have we learnt nothing? DECADES of the West meddling in the Middle East. Going in, making a mess, and leaving. Time and time again.
How do you see this ending? I’m genuinely curious. If you and the rest of your weak mates don’t stand up to your really shitty mate and demand a ceasefire, what do you actually think will happen? How many more people have to die? Are you seriously going to let Israel blow up Gaza in its entirety until it “destroys” every last Hamas terrorist? And then what? And how does this help the hostages? Those poor innocent hostages? Where are they in all of this? What an absolute bloody mess this is. And what are you two doing? Nothing. Silent. Weak. Spineless.
I marched down Queen Street with thousands of beautiful people – from all walks of life – who all feel so incredibly let down by you two. And I can tell you right now, your lack of action is unforgivable, and not a single person there, or at any of the other marches and vigils around the country and around the world will let this go, will go silent, will stop calling for a ceasefire, will stop calling for a Free Palestine.
I could go on but I know you don’t actually read these, someone somewhere in your team might, but I leave you with this last question nonetheless. You both have children. I ask you, when your children have children, and you’re sitting around with your grandchildren years from now, and they’re asking you about your political careers, and the things you changed and the areas you made a difference in. And they ask you ‘what you did to help the people of Palestine, what you did to stop thousands children from being murdered, thousands of children from being injured, thousands of children being left without their parents’ – what are you going to tell them?
It’s not too late to do the right thing. I know you’ve got lots on, but it really won’t take a second to do what matters and call for a ceasefire at the very least. What side of history do you want to be on?