Waitangi Day faux pas – Mana what were you thinking?

Mana Party what were you thinking?!

An interesting pic emerged on Twitter this morning of the Israeli flag hung at full mast alongside the Mana Party flag, Tino Rangitiratanga flag and the United Tribes of NZ flag and signage promoting the Mana Party leader Hone Harawira. Big faux pas in my opinion.

What is my beef with this? Well, Mana were particularly vocal in the struggle of the Palestinian’s during the attack on Gaza in November 2012 (only a few months back) including joining the march and protest to the US Embassy and making a public statement affirming their condemnation of the Israeli governments actions against Palestinians.

Maori and Palestinians have a shared understanding of colonial forces at work – forcibly removing indigenous populations from lands and preventing access to resources that have traditionally sustained those populations.

So it seems a bit of a kick in the teeth for when the party purporting to be the ‘movement of the people’ show a mark of support at Waitangi for a nation that currently operates as an apartheid regime.

Before the bigots jump in, as I have mentioned before – I am not anti-Israeli, but I most certainly oppose the ongoing abuses of power perpetrated by the Israeli government/military to ethnically cleanse the state of Palestine of Palestinians in order to claim those lands as part of the self-proclaimed state of Israel.

Hwowever, on closer inspection of the photo, I noticed that the particular stall flying the flags belonged to Ezekiel 33 Trust. I’d never heard of it. And for a fleeting moment gave Mana the benefit of the doubt. Until further research revealed that The Ezekiel 33 Trust was set up by Stephanie Harawira – Hone’s sister in law. Surely the Trust were aware of the Mana Party stance on Palestine/Israel issues? I did question the intelligence of whoever hung the flag, and thought perhaps they were just stupid and ignorant and thought the Israeli flag was the Palestinian flag. I suppose its a possibility, but a reprehensible error nonetheless.

I also asked for an explanation on Te Mana Facebook page, response: ‘looking into it’ (that was hours ago).

Its possible also that Mana were unaware that the Israeli flag was being flown in a manner that suggested Mana supported the state of Israel and its occupation of Palestinian lands. But surely on Waitangi Day, a day where Maori and Pakeha confront the document that founded our country and also confronts the injustices that flowed from persistent breaches of that document (e.g. land grabbing), Mana would have a standard procedure for any group promoting Mana as to how they represent Mana?

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2 comments

  1. How strange – but then again, the Harawira family operate in mysterious ways! Ezekial 33 is a church set up by Hone's brother Tai. I can only guess what the Israeli flag means but it is likely to have been meant as a biblical, rather than political, symbol.

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  2. I think you are spot on with the biblical symbolism. I've made some inquiries and most suspect that the Ezekiel 33 group are a fundamentalist Christian group that believe the Israelites are God's chosen people. Although, this doesn't explain anything about Mana's acceptance of it being associated with their 'brand'(not sure that's the right word) and in particular associated with Hone's name. I thought he might have been more careful about such things after the debacle with his conservatism coming into conflict with the parties values re: Marriage Equality. I'm a little peeved that Mana stayed particularly silent when confronted about it – even blocking my attempt to post the image to their Te Mana Facebook page. I'm also shocked that some prominent lefties who would have taken any other party to task for the perceived contradiction, played it down as a non-issue. Reminded me that bias exists everywhere no matter how truth seeking and transparent some people claim to be. Maybe I just overreacted. But I genuinely felt that Mana should be held to the same standard that they demand of other parties. Didn't happen.

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