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Speech to rally in Welington
27 October 2001
Tena ra koutou ki a koutou nga hau e wha. Te mea tuatahi - wehia ki te Atua. Ko Ia te timatanga me to mutunga o nga mea katoa. He maungarongo ki runga i te whenua, he whakaaropai ki nga tangata katoa. Te mea tuarua, he mihi nui ki a koutou. Ki nga kaikorero o te hui rongopai, tena koutou. Ka tu au ki te mihi ki a koutou mo to koutou mihi ki au. A no reira, tena koutou, kia ora rawa atu tatou katoa.
New Zealand has always been a courageous nation in defence of peace and justice. In particular, there are celebrated examples of non-violent defence of peace and justice in our history.
In the 1980s, the Nuclear free movement fought non-violently for the banning of nuclear weapons. Mass movements of families and friends made it clear we wanted a nuclear-free nation.
In the 1970s at Bastion Point, a non-violent occupation began a process that we can look back on with pride. We have taken faltering steps along the path to reconciliation of Maori and Pakeha - faltering, but better than our international neighbours. We have far to go, but we have started.
We can look internationally and see this is not the case - in Australia, Aborigines suffer under a Government that refuses to listen to its people.
We are blessed to live in a democratic nation of democracy where our decision-makers do listen to us. People like Jeanette Fitzsimmons and the Green Party. If we care enough, if we mobilise enough, we can influence our decision makers, and get them to change policies and decisions.
But change and success relies on broad based support. It is not enough for us to break away from the majority and claim the moral high ground. To scream it is wrong at people who choose to ignore us. This changes nothing.
The key to change is our communities. When our communities are outraged by the lack of peace and justice in our world, things can change in New Zealand.
But we do not change our communities' point of view by yelling and screaming at them. We need to communicate. We need to explain why we give pamphlets, why we go to vigils, why we give up all our spare time to this cause of peace and justice in the world. People need to understand that these issues affect their lives. Understanding comes from commmunicating, not screaming.
So it is imperative that you and I don't just go home after vigils and forget about our ideals until the next vigil, or rally, or meeting.
I entreat you to get up and go into communities and communicate. Talk to your neighbours, your workmates, your friends, and your loved ones. Remind them that you, not just other people, care about non-violent solutions to the current crisis. Tell them why. Help them to care, and stand up. Bring your community with you, so that there is broad based support for change.
We need our loved ones, our friends, our workmates, and our neighbours to ask our Government to stop their support of military action in Afghanistan in response to the September 11 tragedies. The Government will not listen to us by ourselves - they will listen when New Zealand speaks to them.
Thank you. Kia ora koutou.
Graham Cameron, Urban Vision. Rally for peace in Wellington, part of the International Day of Action to Stop War and End Racism.