Home > Global, The Body Politic > Lorde takes a stand

Lorde takes a stand

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Media reports indicate that Lorde has taken a stand and cancelled her planned June tour of Israel;

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In taking this courageous stand, Lorde follows in the steps of her parents’ generation who stood up against apartheid in South Africa; testing atomic bombs in  the South Pacific; New Zealand’s  involvement in the Vietnam War; and demanding a nuclear-free New Zealand.

There are those who insist that “politics and entertainment shouldn’t mix“. But we’ve heard that refrain in the past, in 1981, when so many New Zealanders protested at the Springbok Tour, or demanded that our athletes withdraw from the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Back then it was “politics and sport shouldn’t mix“.

The real subtext of “politics and sport shouldn’t mix” was individuals demanding to enjoy a particular past-time, even at the detriment of others. This was the nakedly selfish side to Individualism bubbling to the surface of New Zealand – perhaps for the first time made so vividly visible for all to see. For them “politics and sport shouldn’t mix” and the corollary that “we can’t make a difference anyway” (or, “it’s none of our business“) was paramount.

Those people were proven wrong. Eventually the apartheid regime collapsed in South Africa.

Let’s recall Nelson Mandela – languishing in prison on Robben Island – remarking when he heard that the Hamilton rugby game had been cancelled after anti-tour protestors stormed the pitch;

The anti-apartheid movement in South Africa was buoyed by events in New Zealand. Nelson Mandela recalled that when he was in his prison cell on Robben Island and heard that the game in Hamilton had been cancelled, it was as ‘if the sun had come out’.

People made a difference in 1981.

2017 has become the year that women have spoken out against injustice and abuse by those in power. Lorde has become to her generation what Rosa Parkes, Jane Fonda,  Kate Shepherd, and many others were to theirs.

There are those who insist that one person  cannot make a difference, that it is a waste of time to speak out, and that it is pointless to endanger your own well-being  on behalf of others – especially strangers who you’ve never met.

But history is replete with individuals who have reached out to help strangers whom they have never met.

Here in New Zealand, NGOs and volunteers spend vast amounts of time helping those in need – complete strangers. Whether it be Kidscan or Women’s Refuge, people helping other people for no other reason than it is the right thing to do.

Lorde has shown uncommon courage, integrity, and understanding for the plight of Palestinians. She may become the leading light for her generation to follow her example and say, “No, this is not right, we will not accept this”.

I submit that not only is it not pointless to help others – especially total strangers – but it is the essence of what it is to be human.

Once again,  New Zealand has shown the way in the world.

And it takes one person to begin.

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References

Radio NZ: Lorde reportedly cancels Israel show after backlash

Fairfax media:  Kiwi pop singer Lorde cancels show in Israel after open letter from fans

Haaretz: New Zealand Singer Lorde Cancels Israel Show After BDS Pressure

Daily Mail:  Lorde cancels Tel Aviv show after backlash from fans who accused her of supporting Israeli government

NZ History:  1981 Springbok tour

Other Blogs

Redline:  Israel, Palestinian liberation, the BDS campaign and left critics

The Standard:  The United Nations gives Trump the middle finger

Previous related blogposts

Wellingtonians say ‘No!’ to Israeli aggression

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 25 December 2017.

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