NZ Herald reports:
Hone Harawira has described Osama bin Laden as “a man who fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people”.
In tributes on Maori-language television, the leader of the new Mana Party said the al-Qaeda founder should be “honoured” rather than “damned” in death according to Maori culture.
Mr Harawira twice paid tribute to bin Laden in te reo, saying it was Maori custom to acknowledge the dead. …
Mr Harawira said on Maori Television’s Native Affairs that bin Laden had “pursued independence for his people, his family and his tribe”.
When asked if he was concerned about how such comment could be construed, he said he was Maori and “tributes to the dead are always appropriate” in Maori custom.
Actually most of his familiy had disowned him, but let’s not even debate Hone’s factual errors.
I’m going to risk Godwin’s Law and ask whether Hone would say the same thing about Hitler. I mean it would almost fit – “Hitler pursued independence for his Germanic people, his family, and his Aryan tribe”.
Labour MP Shane Jones said he did not have the same level of affection for bin Laden as Mr Harawira.
He also scotched Mr Harawira’s claim that it was Maori custom to always pay tribute to the dead.
“In the old days, a great enemy – if he wasn’t eaten – his bones were used to make musical instruments. So this romantic notion that in the old time, Maori spent hours of their time saluting the enemy was not the case.
“Enemies were turned to dust and people rejoiced, because of the suffering they had caused.”
I’m with Shane Jones on this.
The Greens should be pleased with the existence of the new Mana Party. They finally have a party that makes then look moderate.