And I don't mean cool Munter like on O.F. either ...
Ever approaching impending thesis deadlines loom large so my blog is suffering, but I had to say something about this.
I don't watch tennis, and there are only two reasons why I know about the ASB tennis open in Auckland: (1) it makes it really hard to get to the museum which is just up the hill from where the tennis is, and (2) for the past couple of years John Minto has shown up to demand that one of the female tennis players go home.
It started last year, back when Israeli troops went in to Gaza to try to stop the constant barrage of rockets being fired into Israeli territory by Hamas militants. Said militants were of course acting up because Israel has them penned up tighter than a nun's thighs at a sausage convention, and there's a really long history of animosity between the two groups which, even if I didn't have a thesis to write, would simply take me much longer to write about than I can afford. Any way, back in January 2009 when this was going on, this female Israeli tennis player, Shahar Peer, was due to play in Auckland. Like all Israelis her age, she's been in the army; in fact, I think she's still doing her national service now, or at least she was last year, but because she's so good with a racquet the army is letting her hit balls rather than heads. So you have an Israeli woman, who, might I point out, has no involvement in the direction of Israeli foreign, domestic, or military policy, turn up to play in a tennis tournament here in Auckland, NZ. About 20 protestors hung around outside and did whatever it is protestors do.
Well, Peer - who is apparently ranked in the top 50 in the world, and was barred from competing at the Dubai Tennis Championships in February last year when the Arab Emirate refused to grant her a visa for undisclosed reasons - is back in Auckland this year, and so too is Minto. I guess he was getting a little bored over the summer.
So Minto and 10 supporters - only half the tiny number he could gather last year - are outside the ASB centre again callig for Peer to go home "in the name of peace". Um, she's a professional tennis player! I'd love to not go to work in the name of peace but I'd be in the same position as Peer is - I wouldn't be paid. Obviously if Minto can stand outside the tennis all day he's not going to work in the name of peace as well - unless someone's paying him?
I realised today that Minto has a lot in common with Hamas, so it's no wonder that he supports them. Here's 6 things I came up with off the top of my head:
1) MINTO and HAMAS both have five letters = 3 consonants, 2 vowels. What's more, both have two syllables. Do not underestimate the power of the syllable.
2) They both like Palestinians. Well, they both say they do anyway.
3) They both like media attention for when they are making their 'political points'.
4) Both Minto and Hamas tend to pick on innocent civilians when making these 'political points'. Minto has actually chosen a specific innocent civilian to blame for the policy of her government, whereas Hamas tend to be rather more indiscriminate in their selection.
5) Bombs. Hamas use them all the time, and, coincidentally (?) the ASB tennis stadium was evacuated on the first day because of a supposed bomb threat. Hmmm...
6) They both make wildly extravagant demands, both claim to be working for 'peace' (although something may be lost in the translation; Hamas seems to have misconstrued 'peaceful' as 'full of pieces'), and both tend to get rather upset when people point at them and laugh.
Oh, and I'm sure Minto would probably look like Hamas too if he put a tea-towel on his head and strapped some explosives to his chest.
What I find funniest about this situation is that Peer won her 1st round match and her opponent said that the protest had put her off - this is what I'd regard as being 'counter-productive' if I were one of Minto's Munters.
I don't know who else is playing, although no one from NZ any more after one of them pulled out before it started and Erakovic got knocked out in the first round, but I'm really hoping Peer wins. That'd be a great slap in the face for Minto and his Moronic Muppets. It'd be even nicer if she dedicated her victory to the ongoing peace process in the Middle East, because if anything can shut him up, that will.
New Zealanders get a little funny about the Israel-Palestine issue, which is interesting when you think that (a) it's so far away, (b) I didn't notice anyone in Isreal or Palestine protesting over the Seabed and Forshore 'confiscation' or whether Wanganui needs an h, and (c) I'd probably tell them to mind their own business if they did start having an opinion on things that don't concern them. January last year was a good year for crazies: you had the mad monk smearing blood on the Yitzhak Rabin peace memorial in Wellington (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/middle-east-conflict/news/article.cfm?c_id=601&objectid=10550835), there were some cafes refusing to serve Israeli customers (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/middle-east-conflict/news/article.cfm?c_id=601&objectid=10552520), and of course there was Minto.
I do find myself wondering what all those people would do or say if I suddenly refused to teach Muslims in my classroom and demand that all Muslim students withdraw school as a protest to put pressure on their religious leaders to condemn the actions of a small group of fanatic extremist terrorists who claim to be doing Allah's work in their name. Somehow I don't think I'd get away with it, and I don't particularly want a bomb in my letterbox - although it would make a difference to the my mail box's normal diet of junkmail.
In the meantime, I'm putting $20 down to start a collection to raise money to buy Minto a one way ticket to Gaza. Hopefully someone can cancel his NZ citizenship while he's over there, and then he can see how things are done Hamas styles when he tries to protest against corrupt government practices over there.
Oh, and I expect to see Minto at the next Olympic Games demanding that every athlete who comes from a country where the government oppresses at least some of its people, wages war indiscriminately against neighbouring countries or groups of its own citizens, or kills innocent people on a regular basis. He'll need more than 10 supporters though, and if he gets his way I think Norway, Finland, and Sweden will probably have their best Olympic Games ever, seeing as how they'll probably be the only teams still permitted to compete!
And that's my two cents to sense. Sorry for the wait. Happy New Year!