Monday, January 2, 2017

The meaning of words

Dave Armstrong, musician, playwright and left leaning weekly columnist of the DominionPost is a writer whose prejudices I, an unreconstructed socialist, often share. Yet when this week's article was entitled 'Three cheers for a brave Murray McCully' I wondered what he was on about. I have some idea of the meaning of the word "brave", as in 'Brave Soldier Janos' who, in the story of Hari Janos captured Napoleon single handed and saved the Emperor's daughter. Brave, for me, means facing great danger with fortitude. I am not aware of Murray McCully facing such danger in proposing New Zealand's resolution on Israeli settlements in the last few days of New Zealand's tenure on the UN Security Council. So what was Dave Armstrong on about? John Kerry, the US Secretary of State whispered a few words in McCully's ear during his very brief visit to New Zealand, and McCully, like a good colonial petty chief, jumped to attentions. You want us to solve the world's most pressing problem, kick that uppity Jew, Benjamin Netanyahu in the teeth, or any other part of his anatomy, we will be glad to oblige. And what would be the down side? At the worst world peace would not break out. At best, we might be able to sell a little more meat to Arab countries. Certainly not to the United States, because that would displease the American farmers and would look bad to the electorate. 
So where is the bravery? Should McCully get a medal, or be just pensioned off to a comfortable diplomatic post where he may not have to face such dire danger, but would perhaps not be able to do much harm either.