Our Suffering: Part 3 – Metamorphosis
This third and final blog in the Our Suffering series follows on from Part 2. If you haven’t read Part 2, you can do so here.
So there are two ways to remain woke (alert to injustice in society) and open to each other. The first, as I mentioned in the previous blog, is to accept suffering as the cost to change our deeply held beliefs, being aware that good things in life, even our Christian faith, can rot and be corrupted. The sting of suffering should make us sharp to the usurping of true religion; to politics that are power obsessed; to a consumerism that is destructive; to a racism that says, “I was only joking.” Let’s no longer be coy in calling out what we know in our hearts to be lunch-room laziness or arrogant division. Let us suffer with those who suffer.
The second way to remain woke is this: we must foster an emotional memory to this moment: lest we forget. Very soon the moment will be over as we stumble into a new normal. I’m glad our P.M. is fast tracking new gun laws. But the machine of politics will forget the reason why and law-making expediency will be done in the guile of inclusive language, which can be a smokescreen for political ideology. Being able to draw on a deep meaningful emotional memory that is articulated with clarity, will help us keep powers in check. We want an inclusive society of manifest difference, not a forced legislative sameness.
Likewise this cultural moment is like a magic potion to empathetically understand our past. While the P.M. has stated that this is our darkest day ever (and we tautoko her sentiment), we also know that to be acutely debatable. Parihaka, Rangiriri, Ōrākau, Rangiaowhia. None of those tragedies were done by a lone gunman. They were done by the corporate structure our Lady Adern now leads. At none of those events - not one - did the new New Zealand communities rally around the traumatised victims by sending flowers, opening their homes or sharing their food. The New Zealand communities of the time unequivocally supported the gunman. Just take a moment to imagine what it would be like if parochial New Zealand turned around to our Muslim community and said, “Serves you right! It’s your fault! And can we now have your mosque for a new round-a-bout?” It’s unimaginable is it not? But to imagine such a profane thought is a doorway to understand the path of the Māori world. It will help you understand the deep unquestioned racism that has affronted Aotearoa for so long. How sad is it that our Muslim brothers and sisters have endured what they have to show that, my goodness, Taika Waititi was right?
Therefore my friends, the sting of suffering in metamorphosis can transform our pain into a stunning sobriety that sees with clarity and calls a spade-a-spade. Let us be mindful that the national empathy that rests on us right now is a bitterly serendipitous gift to help us think rightly about who we are, where we’ve been and where Aotearoa is heading. Because the world needs the balm of our affectionate understanding.
Tēna koutou e te hāpori o Ōtautahi. Ngā mihi nunui hoki ki ngā tangata katoa ki Aotearoa.