I wanted to review Valerie Morse's book Against Freedom: The war on terrorism in everyday NZ life. I'd been meaning to for a while, and the events of the last two weeks made it a pressing need. But I can't quite, everything that's happened is too close and too raw to write about the book in full. I have known Valerie Morse since shortly after the war and Afganistan. We disagree on many things politically, but she is my friend, and I care about her a lot. Instead of a review, here are some notes.
This book is a book that I should have read before now, and a book which predicts what happened. When talking about the terror raids she says:
Of course, the GCSB and the NZSIS are not pursuing every email that mentions the near universal desire to kill George W Bush. Rather, the agencies focus on identifiable and often vulnerable targets such as political dissidents and activists, minorities and migrant communities.The book reads like, it is a polemic. But it's an important polemic about the costs of being part of 'the war on terror'.
I think my main criticism of the book is that it is a little opportunist. For example, she describes Ahmed Zaoui’s detention and the states that he was treated as a ‘common criminal’. ‘Common criminal’ is often synonymous with ‘poor person’. We should not be arguing that Ahmed Zaoui (or those arrested on October 15) should have special treated because they’re not really ‘criminals’ – we should be challenging what actions are designated as ‘criminal’. I’ll tell Val this herself, next time I see her; I’m fairly sure she’d agree with me.
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