About 450 Moriori from as far away as Australia have descended on New Zealand’s Chatham Islands to celebrate the opening of the first ever Moriori marae…
The celebration … will be followed by a renewal of a 500-year-old covenant known as Nunuku's law of non-violence - which forbade bloody conflict - last renewed in the same year - 1835…
A recent ‘feel-good’
story in the
As the history of the Moriori culture demonstrates, such a culture would be choosing its own destruction.
On ten small islands several hundred miles
off the coast of
It was this failure to distinguish between two types of force that led to the literal annihilation of the Moriori, for in 1835 they were invaded by a neighbour that embraced the latter view, and – with the exception of a few that were enslaved or kept as “food stock” – they were wiped out.
Of the 2000 or so Moriori who had enjoyed
their ‘non-violent’ life in the
“"To lay down one's life for what one considers to be right is the very core of satyagraha [resistance by non-violent means] . . . [In non-violence] the bravery consists in dying, not in killing." So said Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi, still one of the apostles of non-violence. To embrace one’s own destruction, one might paraphrase, one must be brave. Or stupid. Or a reader of Lew Rockwell.
For as Moriori biographer Michael King observes approvingly, "The Moriori had learned a tactical and philosophical truth that was to be articulated by other people from other cultures in the twentieth century: non-violence is an effective weapon only against an adversary who shares your conscience." Gandhi was lucky in his adversary – the Moriori were not.
Their invader, two
Maori tribes from nearby
"We took possession ... in accordance with our customs and we caught all the people. Not one escaped. Some ran away from us, these we killed, and others we killed - but what of that? It was in accordance with our custom... I am not aware of any of our people being killed by them."
As one historian says (also approvingly), “Moriori stayed true to their moral imperative, Nunuku's law of non-violence, even as they and their families were being bludgeoned and speared to death. That is not to say they were not terrified, but their fortitude and courage must have been phenomenal. Pacifism in the face of sure death is hard to imagine.”
Pacifism in the face of sure death is not just hard to imagine, it is suicidal. To choose such a course with one’s eyes wide open, or to advocate such a course for others to follow, is not just wrong, it is evil.
Pacifism kills. When you doubt that, remember the Moriori. As P.J. O’Rourke once suggested so eloquently, in combating the many evils in the world “people sometimes have trouble deciding whom to shoot” – they should realise nonetheless that at times in the battle against evil that war is the most humane option. At such times, we must give war a chance.
Now is such a time.