Wednesday, June 22, 2005



Winston moves on to Africans

It looks as if Winston has now got sick of using Parliamentary privilege to defame innocent Iraqis, and has moved on to attacking Africans. In Question Time today he asked the following question:

Is the Minister aware that members of the Somali community are complaining to immigration officials that their daughters have no one to marry, as their tradition prevents them from marrying non-Muslims, or even those from other Somali tribes; and does he believe that the Immigration Service should be accommodating the principles of discrimination, social segregation, and denial of intermarriage by way of allowing fellow Somali tribe members into New Zealand on those grounds?

His argument is that the government should not be "allowing intermarriage exclusivity in a tribe and to no one outside the tribe". But this is a question of marriage, who you spend your life with. It is a deeply personal decision, and not one that the government should be interfering with. And if people wish to limit their available options to people of a specific religion, race, or tribe (or gender, for that matter), then they are perfectly entitled to and it is none of the government's goddamned business. Nor Winston Peters', for that matter.

As for the "appropriateness" of immigration permits being granted to prospective partners, as I understand it we grant such permits already to mail-order brides. This is no different - and the only reason Winston thinks it is is because the people involved are Somalian.

10 comments:

Somalians' preference is kinda "lex specialis" whilst NZ govt's preference is kinda "lex generalis".

Posted by jeffry : 6/23/2005 01:17:00 AM

The mail order bride comparison is wrong as it includes a large and diverse group being chosen by desparate, sexually insecure men for different reasons.

Letting in people who actively refuse to inter-marry, (ie. rule it out as a matter of principle) then that jeopardises the entire New Zealand project. Our nation is based on inter-marriage (inter-race and inter-faith) - and that is a good thing. To promote, tolerate and excuse exclusionist groups is to turn one's back on our heritage and to ensure a separatist future of sectarianism and the championing of ethnic purity as a value endorsed by the State.

The Somali example that Peters raises (accepting it is correct for purposes of argument) is that the group decides who marries whom: "their daughters" rather than the daughters themselves you will note.

You state that it is a major decision "who you spend your life with" - but who makes that decision? You, or your fundamentalist cult family and the clerics that enforce their social order? You say it is "deeply personal" but traditions of forced marriage run through many communities unfortunately - I posted on a picture of Hindu brides in a Herald photo and none of the thirty looked remotely pleased with their fate.

It ought to be the "government's goddamned business" to stop forced marriage and also to turn away groups/cult members that have restrictive practices. That includes orthodox/fundamentalists of many sects including: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sihks, Zoastrians etc. etc.

Do we want people here that don't think "we" are good enough for them? Whose existence in this country is as an ethnically and religiously pure enclave?

What will you tell the child bride who is taken overseas to be introduced to her cousin as her future husband and is to live her life in domestic slavery (under a burqa or not)? Will you tell her, as you state above, that her captors "are perfectly entitled to it."?

I know you (and I) dislike Winston and his motivations are always suspect, but in this case you are mistaken.

Do your liberal inclinations extend to the tolerance of these personal tragedies and the inherent coersion and indoctrination by which they are maintained?

Posted by t selwyn : 6/23/2005 01:27:00 AM

It is absolutely the government's business to stop forced marriage, and they should act to do so whereever they have evidence. But Winston is not alleging that this is occuring - he is objecting simply on the basis that Somali migrants wish to "marry their own", rather than intermarry into New Zealand society. But it is absolutely their right to do so. The idea of the government dictating even in a general sense who you must marry is simply monstrous - not to mention the very thing you accuse Somali migrants of doing.

This would not be an issue except for the fact migrants (and Muslim migrants, at that) are involved. While interracial relationships are common in New Zealand, they're not the norm, or expected in any way. Nobody bats an eyelid if a Pakeha marries a Pakeha or a Maori marries a Maori, and rightly so, because its a matter of individual choice. Why should Somalis be regarded any differently?

Mail-order brides are entirely relevant, because what seperates this from everyday non-interracial marriage in New Zealand (apart from the racism involved in selecting out recent migrants) is that the prospective partners are outside New Zealand. But if we allow entry for the partners of desparate, sexually insecure men, then we have to allow it for Somali migrants as well.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/23/2005 02:11:00 AM

It seems that Peters is trying to suggest two things. Firstly that marriage is being used by the Somali community to somehow short circuit immigration procedures and then, more bizzarely, to argue that this is some form of segregation.

The marriage issue is already delt with under immigration rules. They have to be genuiune. The segregation issue is pretty senseless. Many communities are rather insular. Anyway, NZ could benefit from a few more Somalis.

Posted by Sock Thief : 6/23/2005 09:09:00 AM

Uh, does Winston know how the Exclusive Bretheren arrange marriages...

It's a closed community, they literally run a human selective breeding program with no outcrossing. It's a component of their dogma.

Posted by Bloodrage : 6/23/2005 09:48:00 AM

Peters has no credibility. He is stoking the flames of racism for short term political gain so that he can get back into parliament and nothing for another 3 years.
Has anyone heard one comment from the MP for Tauranga about the recent floods? Or seen him visit the site to see the damage or do anything about it.

Posted by Hamish Mack : 6/23/2005 11:48:00 AM

It would be nice however if Labour actually stood up to him on this; Paul Swain's answer to the quoted question was "no and no". While later he did say that "From what I can see, there is no attempt to do the things [using the family reunification policy "to promote social segregation"] that the member is accusing someone of", there's been no press release condemning Winston's vile race-baiting. Labour seems to have concluded that immigration is a policy they can only lose votes on. Well, that's guaranteed if they give Winston an uncontested opportunity to spread hate by not even bothering to stand up and fight on it...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/23/2005 12:38:00 PM

"It would be nice however if Labour actually stood up to him on this"
Agreed, they are far too quiet about him. If they would take a stand against him with some logical but passionate arguments it would be a good point of difference. I suppose they don't want to upset him just in case... shudder.

Posted by Hamish Mack : 6/23/2005 02:48:00 PM

I/S:
There are many issues here. As I see it:

Politics
1. Winston is a fear-mongering, xenephobic, opportunist.
2. Labour should point issue No. 1 out to the electorate and also should not give into those policies.

On these issues I concur; although Winston does highlight matters of concern that are infinitely more valid than his personal and partisan motivations for raising them.

Policy
Forced marriage:
Arranged marriages are forced marriages as far as I am concerned. Any contract to marriage organised between people who are not the bride or groom either with or without the knowledge of the prospective partners or whether supposedly on their behalf (whether or not a consideration or obligations are promised in connexion with this contract) and undertaken before one (or both) of the parties is 18 years of age (whether or not the supposed bride and/or groom "consent" to it or not) and whether or not that marriage is to be formally made before or after age 18 - should be a criminal offence. It is inherently banned by the UN convention on human rights but is not enforced in most countries including here.

The practise is abhorent. After the age of 18 however my approach must soften, but if some kid has been brainwashed, turns 18 and is then shortly therafter presented with their Moonie/Muslim/Jewish/Hindu/Bretheren life partner with both families looking on - or in some cultures all the same family, ie. Grandparents marrying off their grandkids to each other, then how much real freedom is being exercised here by the parties concerned given that threats (whether articulated or not) of a finacial and social nature usually accompany such arrangements - and is this not a form of coercion. Is this not a circumstance for State intervention? Do you want to encourage it by turning a blind eye and even having the immigration department facilitate it? Does my description above of arranged marriages not fit your definition of forced marriage? And does this definition not seem to apply to Winston's stated Somali scenario?

Desirability of marriage exclusivity for citizens/immigrant New Zealanders.

Questions: Exclusivity is a prejudice. It pre-judges that all non-group members are unworthy of marriage. Is that a prejudice we want to encourage let alone tolerate. Does it not speak of much wider and ingrained intolerance? Does it help them settle here as New Zealanders? Should different rules apply to migrants than to settled communities, if at all? I say yes, because to achieve maximum freedom and benefit for us we should choose those suited to our lifestyles, values etc. It is a benefit to us that they integrate rather than remain a permanently separate community. Some people prefer that people stick to their own groups - I disagree, esp. because of the results in the long term.

If we have only groups who refuse to inter-marry in our society then it is us that are effectively being forced into exclusivity because of the free actions of the other groups - all of which is entirely unacceptable to me given we (through immigration policy) have the right to dictate what sort of society we want in the future.

In your own words: "...rather than intermarry into New Zealand society. But it is absolutely their right to do so." ie. It is their right to exclude themselves from New Zealand society!? Why do we have them then? What is the point in a community that insists on being totally exclusive settling here?

I think people should have that right as individuals and that is why we should stop them coming here to persue a separatist agenda as a group. Yes, it sounds contradictory, so I'll put it this way: we tolerate the odd lone nutter, but a whole town full of them!

Every person who comes here with pre-conditions such as not inter-marrying with the locals (and we can quite safely assume also encouraging their children not to marry locals) then that means the locals are (through no scheme or policy or prejudice of their own) an exclusive group too. Welcome to Lebanon!

But of course it gets much worse than that. If the new exclusive group is "New Zealanders" who cannot inter-marry with anyone else, and provided the Govt. lets the exclusive immigrant groups import their marriage partners then not only is the pool of available exclusive NZers limited and so we may project a diminishing in population. With a right to import and large families being the norm for many of these immigrant groups we can project a large population growth in these groups. Is that what we want in the future? because that is where it is heading. (Don't get me started about the bloody "family reunification" category!) Are you comfortable with ever growing segments of the population excluding themselves from one another through marriage prejudices (although language and culture and behaviour could also be equally mentioned here)? I certainly am not. That is not what this country should be about.

I/S: "The idea of the government dictating even in a general sense who you must marry is simply monstrous." - If the government keeps importing exclusionary groups then "in a general sense" they are dictating who you will marry: not them. And if they import non-exclusionary groups then you can/will marry them... which makes them us... if you get my drift. The Govt. does bar inbreeding through anti-incest provisions, but should they go further?

Conclusion:

Citizens have a right to do whatever they want - which is good and proper - which is why we have to choose wisely who we let in as they should also have that right. Would you let someone in who swears no child of yours will ever be acceptable enough for them or their family? I'm seeing a big fat red-inked stamp across that application form: DECLINED.

Posted by t selwyn : 6/23/2005 03:54:00 PM

"To achieve maximum freedom and benefit for us we should choose those suited to our lifestyles, values etc".

If you are really advocating for this, then in effect you are advocating for giving preference to people of Western European or Anglo-Saxon descent.

I'm not sure how far we want to go down that road, but it is worth considering that most of the world differs from us fundamentally on what we might call core values. With the situation we have in New Zealand, where ethnic communities tend to interact only in superficial ways it's probably easy for many people to overlook how different other people's attitudes towards things such as racism, corruption, the rule of law, honesty and when violence is acceptable differ to our own. This is not an argument for excluding people of other cultures, but when we argue in favour of diversity we should be clear-headed about what it entails.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/24/2005 11:28:00 AM