May 2, 2008

Waihopai Vandalism Contemptuos

This from The New Zealand Herald

They are part of a group that proclaims its aim of spreading the message of disarmament by, somewhat ironically, using violent means to disable warplanes and military equipment. In any civilised society, such tactics will always be offensive. They tar not only those responsible for such zealotry but those who pursue the same cause through acceptable avenues of expression, such as sit-ins and demonstrations. The latter approach has, of course, already been used in relation to Waihopai. A small band of protesters marched on the station as recently as January. They achieved no result or resonance, a pointer to the public being unconvinced of the merits of their case. The marchers were, as a neighbour of the base suggested, "speaking to themselves".

Anzac Ploughshares might use this failure to justify more radical tactics. But vandalism will never be acceptable. Unlike well-orchestrated protests, there is no chance that it will attract the level of popular support which places pressure on a government to change direction. Instead, it invites contempt. Such is the lot of extremists. Their ability to win publicity is matched in inverse proportion by their failure to win adherents.