Monday, July 22, 2019

Does Duff exaggerate?

Maori organisations have just announced a rally to Parliament a week tomorrow, July 30,  to protest the state removing Maori children from their whanau caregivers. It'll be called the Hands Off Our Tamariki rally.

I felt weary reading about it.

Then by chance I read an excerpt from Alan Duff's new book, A Conversation with My Country.

Poor Shahlaya wasn't 11 when I first saw her — she was 111. She was discreetly pointed out to me at a low socio-economic primary school many years ago. She came from a place like Pine Block, my fictional suburb in Once Were Warriors.
The school principal whispered, "See that girl . . . the sad-looking one? The one not smiling? We know she's on a house-to-house circuit, suffering sexual abuse. A tragedy, and too many like her."
The sub-society she was born into stole and violated her right to childhood. Men took turns at possessing her body, subjecting it — not her, the innocent child — to indecencies. Too weak to resist, she was an "it", a body solely to give pleasure to sick-minded adult males. And you can bet they figured out that should she go to the police or to the school authorities, her allegations would not be believed. It probably did occur to her abusers that what they did was wrong, but wrong only if they were held to
account. As to evil, it has to be assumed that abusers like this lack
a self-reflective, moral mechanism.
They may as well have put her brain into an electric mixer. 
I've read most of what Alan Duff has written over the years. In my estimation he falls into the 'been there, done that' category (though I hasten to say not as a child abuser.)

If his description of the abuse of Maori children by Maori is not an exaggeration - indeed if it holds any weight - doesn't Hands Off Our Tamariki suggest an entirely different visual image?

1 comment:

Lynda said...

Just discovered your blog Lindsay. I really appreciate your posts and point of view. I will check in more often.