Saturday, July 2, 2011

Story of the week

The recent media attention (on Facebook and elsewhere) about the release of a book about Macsyna King's perspective on what happened - and why - to her two children (the Kahui twins) has highlighted the problem that comes from having a simplistic view of what constitutes a 'good/proper' story and one that therefore should be published.

Some of those who have expressed their views on Facebook have suggested not just protesting about, or not buying, the book but banning it. Why? Because the author (s) are unpleasant and want to make a buck about an awful tragedy? Perhaps some are motivated by annoyance or even disgust at that possibility.

However, my reading of the demands for a ban is that its an easy way to create an 'us and them' stance about child abuse. There are good people like us who would never do such a thing, and then there are monsters like Macsyna King that we can righteously hate and despise. In other words, the 'story' being told by many of those who have commented on Facebook is that this is a good old-fashioned tale of goodies and baddies, heroes and villians and we all know - even before we have read it - who is wrong and who is to blame. Sounds like Hollywood to me, not the real life complexity, banality and misery of child abuse, or the fact that as a community we are all guilty of turning our faces away from the neglect and abuse of the vulnerable, and of protecting bullies and abusers by our own silences.

Whatever the truth is about the awful tragedy of the Kahui twins banning the book won't make a jot of difference.

Two other stories being 'published' this week have much more complexity and depth: the interview with Rob Hamill on National Radio by Kim Hill this morning on the release of a documentary about the capture, torture and murder of his brother by the Khumer Rouge, called Brother Number One, and the release of Waitangi Report Wai 262 today in Northland, which has taken two decades to see the light of day - I wait with baited breath to see the public response.

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