In the end, no matter what the politicians and their allies believe, its people power that will win the world.

Two high profile protest actions have highlighted this point to me over the past few days.

In the Southern Ocean the Ady Gil was deliberately rammed by a Japanese whaling ship - and the film footage clearly shows the whaling ship changing course and heading for the stationary protest vessel.

While the protesters are out in the Southern Ocean directly confronting the illegal activities of the Japanese whalers, the New Zealand government is sitting on its hands and doing nothing.

But that hasn't stopped Murray McCully, the indolent Minister of Foreign Affairs, blow more hot air about the Ady Gil incident.

Briefly awakening from his summer slumbers, McCully - rather than condemning the illegal activities of the Japanese whalers - chose to have a go at the protesters themselves.

Deplorably he has implied that its the protesters own fault if they get killed because they are just 'troublemakers'.

Said McCully: "People determined to break the law and kill other people on the high seas then it is not the responsibility of the New Zealand government... or any other government to send vessels down there to stop them.'

McCully is in no position to criticise the protesters because of the complete absence of any New Zealand government presence in the Southern Ocean. And that's one of the reasons why the protesters are there - because the New Zealand government isn't.

McCully has ruled out sending a navy ship to the area because, he says, 'it was not the Government's role to protect people going to the Southern Ocean looking for trouble.'

Apparently it hasn't occurred to the Minister of Foreign Affairs that such a navy ship would send a strong message back to the Japanese government that New Zealand is not prepared to stand idly by and allow Japanese whalers to continue with their illegal hunting.

Instead he insultingly chooses to describe the protesters - who are directly opposing the illegal activities of the Japanese whalers - as ' troublemakers'.

For McCully to call for 'restraint' from both sides is facile. As Paul Watson, the Captain of the Sea Shepherd has commented : 'I think that the governments have shown so much restraint themselves over the years they've done absolutely nothing.'

Presumably he is calling for the same 'restraint' he was calling for when the Israeli government was engaged in a barbaric military assault against the people of Gaza in January last year.

At the time McCully said that he was not going 'to take sides over Gaza ' but by refusing to condemn Israel's brutality he did take sides.- which isn't altogether surprising since the Israeli Government regards McCully as 'a friend'.

Similarly with Murray McCully and his government refusing to condemn Israel, it us up to ordinary people to make their views known about Israel's inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people.

And that's one of the reasons people were protesting at the ASB Tennis Centre in Auckland this past week where Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer has been playing in a women's international tennis tournament.

For commentators like Brian Edwards to condemn the protests and call for the protesters to devote their time trying to persuade the New Zealand government to take action against Israel not only betrays a naive faith in parliamentary politicians but completely misunderstands that real change can only come from people organising at the grassroots level and not via any accommodations the parliamentary politicians choose to grant us.


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