I am reading “Elected Silence”, the biography of Fr Thomas Merton, centered around his early life, conversion to Catholicism and his journey to a vocation as a Trappist monk.
At the time of the outbreak of the Second World War he is wracked with his conviction that the sins of the world in general and his contribution to the quantum of war-causing sins are the cause of this war.
When reading it I felt that he was drawing a rather long self-condemnatory bow to believe that his boozing in speak-easies and reading dirty French novels (his delicate 50s shorthand for the solitary vice) could be considered the cause of a global war. A touch of spiritual vanity, I thought. With Hitler shrieking at his deluded millions with an army of Satanic demons cheering him on, Merton’s puny sinning could hardly rouse the laziest and most insignificant imp in Satan’s army to take a role in that great and horrible war.
That was last night. I woke this morning and opened the newspaper to read that the Chinese military is gunning down protesting monks who have shown the temerity to circumambulate their shrine en masse, in public. They walk in contemplation, spinning their prayer wheels and reciting a prayer – probably Om Mani Padme Hung, or the Hundred-syllable mantra – Om Benza, Satu Samaya, Manu Palaya, Benza Sato Tino Pa…
Suddenly, according to eyewitnesses, a volley of thirteen single shots rang out and thirteen monks fell. The rest continued their circumabulation.
Last year, two Canadian ex-members of Parliament came to NZ to present compelling, probably irrefutable evidence, that Falun Gong devotees are being farmed for their organs.
It works like this.
Customers come in, mostly from overseas, and are analysed for their blood and tissue types. A selection is made from the meticulous records of the Falun Gong detainees (imprisoned without trial, of course) who are given three-monthly physicals and maintained in healthy condition despite their hard daily labours.
A group of preselected recipients is gathered in surgery. The chosen donor is wheeled into surgery, anaesthetised, and all his or her organs are harvested, fresh and in perfect health, and implanted into the wealthy recipients.
The donors, of course, never wake up.
Requiescant in pace Domini.
So this morning?
This morning I wake up to read that our Prime Minister, the former leftie peace marcher, certainly the best Minister of Conservation we ever had, is saying that we need to wait for confirmed information about this incident, we don’t have any confirmed facts yet, that nothing is to be gained by rushing into statements, etc.
She is hovering, pen in hand, to sign a Free Trade agreement with China early next month.
Meanwhile, such international champions of Human Rights as the US and the UK are scathing in their condemnation of the Chinese atrocities.
Oh, wicked woman, Ms Clark! Shame and eternal torment for her!
Alas, but no, actually. Ms Clarke is doing what she has always surpassed herself at: reading the will of the people and doing it.
So what has this to do with Fr Merton and his sins?
We want Helen Clark to keep her mouth shut. We want the millions of dollars that this Free Trade agreement will put in all our pockets.
We want the Olympic Gold Medals. The last time there was a boycott at the Olympics, the Russians and 13 other Eastern Bloc countries boycotted the 1984 LA games. Ian Ferguson blitzed his way to an undreamed-of four gold medals in canoeing, with Paul McDonald close on his heels and sharing glory in the double events.
Why? Because the gun canoeists from the Eastern Bloc didn’t show. If they had, Ferg and Paul might just have scraped through with a silver or bronze or two.
Our sports commentators said nothing about that and probably fair enough too, because many of those 1984 giants of East Bloc canoeing are dead or very sick today, cut down by the crude mega-doses of steroids which made them what they were.
So we cry: Just shut up, Helen, and it can all be ours again – special privileges from this hideous Chinese government; dare we even hope for a swag of medals from a partly boycotted Olympics.
Yes! Yes oh yes. We want it. Individuals want it. En masse the farmers, those men who were furious at the disruption of the 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand (politics and sport don’t mix!!!) want it.
Our sins. Our greed. Yup.
Good on ya Helen!
Let us all pray that we can see, as Thomas Merton saw, that this is a personal issue for which we will and should be answerable.
Please people, don’t let this happen. Write to Helen Clark now! Write to your MP now! Say no. We don’t want the blood money. We don’t want prosperity on the backs of the corpses of monks and Falun Gong devotees.
We will choke on this prosperity. Oh yes, there’s this too – if it even said prosperity arrives. Because minnows don’t bargain with sharks. As soon as a couple of the big guys see how well we’re doing out of our cosy, turn-the-eyes-away-and-shut-your- mouth relationship with China, they’ll want the same. That will be when our now close chums in the Chinese Politburo stop taking Helen’s calls – bigger act on the other line, gotta run, love ya, missin’ ya already!
What suckers we can be.