New Zealand – on getting a whole heaping of sweet praise from journo Umair Haque

We’re like a puppy with two tails here in New Zealand at the moment. Umair Haque, journalist, has petted and praised us so much in the article below, we can hardly contain our delight. I mean, who doesn’t love a lovely pat on the head like this? A small country on the edge of the world goes unnoticed a helluva lot more than it gets noticed, so when we get a good ol’ lashing of public praise on the world stage we do tend to get a tiny bit delighted. So sue us 🙂

However, we Kiwis know that we have our problems in New Zealand, too, the same as anywhere else. So, although we’re pretty stoked with Umair letting loose with his compliments and congratulations, we also appreciate that it doesn’t give us a free pass to perfection. And many of the ensuing comments about the article – a number of which were typically abusive comments ‘special’ to the online arena – let him know this.

One of the problems was that he didn’t just praise New Zealand as a country, he upset some people terribly by praising our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. Jacinda Ardern isn’t perfect either and has made some mistakes, as a person who has been unexpectedly thrown into leadership, not only of her own political party, but of the country, will do. On a personal level, there are some specific aspects of her policies that I don’t like, so although I like her and her style, I also know that she’s just human. What I do like, though, is the complete change of direction from the ‘strongman’ type of politics and leadership becoming more and more prevalent around the world – and which we’ve had here, too, to a certain degree at times – which has led to nothing but feckin disaster. Plus, Jacinda is a woman, and boy do some people hate a woman being in charge!

If anyone wants to know what kind of abuse a women in any position of authority or power, or who just has a public persona, has to put up with, just ask them if you can have a look at their social media feeds. If you think that the comments on online public articles are bad, you’ve seen nothing until you’ve seen the comments on these women’s social media feeds and in their emails. Men in the public eye get abused as well, but the best(?) is definitely and definitively saved for women.

I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that right-wingers tend to favour ‘strongman’ leadership and politics more than left-wingers do. Which is not to say that left-wingers have the march on being faultless, but the world simply can’t tolerate much more of right-wing rapaciousness, so which is the worst of the two far-from-perfect systems?

In his article, Umair praises Canada as well, and believes that New Zealand and Canada have much in common. He uses the two countries as a springboard in his article to make some really great points about the world in general. They lurk in there very cleverly amongst the frills and fluff, so keep a sharp eye out for them. One of my favourites is, “You can have a democracy or a patriarchy, but you can’t have both”.

Here is Umair Haque’s very readable article:

The New Leader of the Free World

Eat Your (Nonexistent) Heart Out, Donald Trump

umair haque

May 28 · 12 min read

Remember to give him a ‘clap’ at the end of the article, whether you read it all – or read it at all – or not. ‘Claps’ determine how much the writer gets paid.

6 thoughts on “New Zealand – on getting a whole heaping of sweet praise from journo Umair Haque

  1. Frances Sullivan

    Good stuff. So much to say – too much – but both leaders speak to a better society because they refuse to engage in rhetoric riddled with derision. Umair’s article is great. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had to wait until June to read the story, sorry. One issue I have with Medium is that they let you read only three stories per month for free, and then you have to subscribe to them if you want to read more. I know, ‘So how do you expect them to make any money and pay their writers?’ It’s just that I’m already subscribing to three digital publications, none of them cheap; I could go broke subscribing to all the ones I want to read.

    Anyway, I’m now thinking I might want to move to New Zealand. A lot of Americans want to, even the conservative rich ones (see Peter Thiel), after watching ‘the Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. :rolls eyes But a nation with leaders who actually care about the well-being of its citizens! Who woulda thought?

    (I say that with a bit of bitter sarcasm. The events of the last few days here in the US have really made me question what sort of country we’ve become. I crave the sanity of countries with functioning governments and competent leaders.)


  3. I get frustrated with Medium for the same reason. I’ve thought about subscribing, but so far haven’t.

    In some ways it’s certainly easier to manage a small country like NZ, and our problems seem small compared to what’s happening in the US right now, but we do have problems, like anywhere. Although it was nice to for NZ to be praised so effusively in Umair Haque’s article on Medium, what I thought was clever was how he used NZ and CAN to make a statement about the world in general.

    I’m really saddened by how the USA has trended in recent decades. I’m not one of those who is anti-USA, although I acknowledge its shortcomings, but I also look at all the innovation, and progress for women, that has emerged from there. My thoughts are that anywhere neoliberal politics and/or ‘strongman’ leadership takes a stranglehold, is where social unrest will be the strongest.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jacinda Ardern’s a good leader, and I admire her. Sadly, she’s been captured by the cult, which seems to be de rigueur for most leaders, politicians and media at the moment in the ‘free’ world. Recently, she announced that free sanitary products would be provided in schools for “young people who have periods”. It’s a great initiative to help those from poor families – but I’m waiting to see if she ever refers to young men as “young people who make sperm”.

    Liked by 1 person

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