Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Something to Say

There's been an interesting conversation going on about the fact that very few political bloggers had written about the terrorism in Mumbai, at least in New Zealand.*

I think it's both a useful question, and an extremely frustrating one. Span and Russell Brown, but the question 'why isn't anyone writing about the bombing in Mumbai', can't be answered by 100 good reasons why not. The question is more 'so why is did everyone write about the bombing in London'?

Sitting down each day to write about anything which you have something to say shows each of our priorities in a pretty stark way. For me, the challenge is not just to write about things that I know a lot about (feminism & Joss Whedon), but also to speak about areas (I am going to write a follow-up post about immigration, hopefully tomorrow).

Before I started writing here, I wondered why New Zealand blogs were so parochial and only wrote about New Zealand issues. Once I started writing I felt the need to talk about what was happening here - where I lived - because no one else was going to. I go back and forwards on this, but generally the more I write about New Zealand the more I'm talking about concrete realities, and the less I'm talking about abstract ideas.

I still have nothing to say about the bombing in Mumbai - and I don't think I ever would - writing about terrorism just isn't something that interests me. But I think every blogger who thinks that a death in Mumbai is as important as a death in London could work a little bit at what they say. I'm going to try and write about what I don't know, as well as what I know.

* Now to me that seems some inordinate length of time ago there's been wars, earthquakes, tsunamis and the news making us feel like people get murdered in bizarre ways every week. But the fact that it can feel like a long time ago is part of the problem


  1. Here's why. Because the people that died are largely poor and brown. We are wealthy and white. Most of us don't know much about India outside of Ghandi, curry and the Taj Mahal. We have no real frame of reference to these people, we don't see them on TV every night whether on the news or coro street, we probably haven't visited there and don't have any family there. These people are strangers to us.

    That's part of the reason that I don't blog much on Korean issues or if I do it will be very basic stuff. I prefer to go to other forums to discuss Korean/North Asian politics because NZ bloggers have no real idea about North Asia outside of a few sterotypes and snippets of pop culture, and to be honest before I landed here so did I.

  2. Actually I just checked my archives and I didn't write anything about the London bombings either, weird that I thought I did!

    So I guess I just don't really care about anyone overseas, even the ones I share some genetic history with ;-)

  3. have you read 'the english patient'? this bit was not in the movie i don't think (? could be wrong, maybe it was)

    when they bomb hiroshima the indian sapper goes sorta berserk on his motorbike, eventually revealing to his young canadian lover something to the effect that 'they would never have dropped it on white people'

    it washed off me i'm afraid

    that the mumbai bombers struck at the emerging middle class is more important i think than the colour of anyone's skin, and that the middle class appears so far to be rebounding

    be well

  4. To write an oppinion piece or whatever you need to not only care but also have a well structured opinion. it is hard to do that when the people involved are different to you (eg culture) and you don't have a indepth knowledge of the background.

  5. Genius I don't think that's enough of an excuse. Stef is write about the basic reason. But we have a duty to do some damn work sometimes and not always right about comes easiest.

  6. I know it sounds a bit weak but most people aren't out there to right the imbalances of the world - a sort of idea based affirmative action. they hope that that will happen by itself, but they don’t drive it and to do so would be fairly self sacrificial (because it is a lot mroe work).

    In some cases it doesn't. I am a bit concerned that with "celebrity journalists" like fisk etc there may be limited resources that may cripple the ability to focus on those things that those people don’t focus on.

  7. Conversely, are bloggers in Mumbai blogging about events in New Zealand?

    Quite possibly not. I'm not going to assume they are racist and callously uncaring though.

  8. Also, BTW, Sir Humphrey's covered this event with this link: http://www.sirhumphreys.com/node/6212

    The title is "My heart is filled with sorrow, my heart is filled with rage", being typical of the uncaring right wing rhetoric I suppose.

    Or would you prefer "Another example of the ongoing Jihad".

  9. Zentiger - Unless you stop attributing views to me that I've never actually said I'm going to ask you to stop posting to my blog.

  10. Sincere apologies Maia - my mistake.

    I did not intend to attribute my comments directly at you. I had scurried off, reading all of your links, found a few others which got me revved, and arrived back here to make my comment.

    As for your challenge: "I think every blogger who thinks that a death in Mumbai is as important as a death in London could work a little bit at what they say."

    I respond with: saying something, anything, is perhaps the first step. Steps have been taken.

  11. Burned Maia. Zentiger is right and we all know you like to ban those who you cannot argue with.

  12. Not this time Heine. Maia said nothing that my original 2 comments could fairly attribute to her.

    I was genuinely responding to other posts off the links.

    I admit to being peeved that there has been a tendency for many non-right bloggers to claim that all right wing people are rude and inconsiderate, and funnily enough, it leads me to make a rude and inconsiderate comment.

    Thus, apologies again. I don't mind a label of aggressive and passionate, and I've certainly been guilty of responding in kind to rude comments.

    But I believe bloggers of all spectrums are generally reasonable people. It's usually a case of a few people being noticed, and the masses being forgotten, and the dry world of quickly penned comments makes for a very poor communications medium, and a little extra slack is generally required.