Angry, arrogant Harawira may be gone, but stupid Harawira is still with us. From the Herald:
Hone Harawira has described Osama bin Laden as "a man who fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people".
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.
It is not that Hone lacks discipline, he is not shooting from the hip, he genuinely believes that Osama Bin Laden is freedom fighter. I am no expert on the subject, but others more qualified than I have indicated that he was not – he was in fact a cruel and oppressive man with warped religious notions. Osama did not believe in freedom in the proper sense of the word.
This is Hone’s most significant problem. He is supremely confident in his beliefs, but some of his beliefs are built upon romantic and ultimately fallacious notions. Hone Harawira immediately equates the underdog, the perceived anti-western/anti-colonial fighter with something good. This is why it is vitally important, in the interests of the Mana Party, to have people who will challenge and reshape some of Hone’s stranger views. If Hone believes something to be true he will tell you. This is a virtue of course, but problematic given Hone’s, to be polite, unconventional views.
Perhaps what is most disappointing about this issue is that it will not help Hone’s standing among his constituents. One or two Maori nationalists may hold the same view, but the underclass will not – the only image they have of Osama Bin Laden is the image of a mass murderer. His non-voter constituents will probably think Hone is mad and condones murder.
I have no problem with Hone’s view that Maori respect the dead. But respect falls short of homage. I am really, really disappointed that Hone has made this mistake. Although I did not see the Closeup debate between Hone and Brash, by all accounts Hone did well. However, he has now provided the media with ammunition to run negative stories.
As I said, Hone does not lack control. This was not a random comment. It was a statement of genuine belief and a foolish one at that. If anything sinks the Mana Party it will be these sorts of deformed views – it will not be lack of discipline and control.