A closing argument from Phil Quin

Phil Quin’s opinion started several days of online discussion over Golriz Ghahraman’s involvement in the defence of someone alleged to have been involved in genocide in Rwanda.

Quin doesn’t step back from some of his arguments, but now concedes:

It was my fault. I should have known the arguments were way too complex to convey in two rushed opeds (in both cases, written by request of editors and not pitched by me). If I wanted to do justice to the issue, I should have breathed through my nose and penned a lengthy detailed feature piece. Or I should have shut my fat face.

He stands by his core argument, but now sees the hopelessness of launching an informed opinion on a complex topic into a brief op-ed.

But the oped form is hopelessly inadequate when it comes to dense and complex subject matter about which the readership concerned, through no fault of their own, don’t grasp an iota of  essential  context. Such opeds reliably miss their mark, creating yet more unhelpful noise.

I’m afraid I’m guilty on this front.

You will never persuade me the ICTR defence weren’t a collection of ratbags who used the Tribunal as a means to relitigate the politics and culpability of the genocide. This is an opinion I share with almost everyone I know who knows anything about the ICTR — and that is literally hundreds of people who, without exception, know heaps more about it than the randos on Kiwi Twitter who couldn’t care less about Rwanda or international justice but wanted to attack me. Even the people who really wanted to agree with me were flailing about with insufficient knowledge.

All I achieved by trying to fit a round peg of an argument — that Golriz was phenomenally unwise to partake in the ICTR, something I will believe with all my heart to my dying day — into a square peg of an oped format is to increase net ignorance around the subject, and give partisan hacks the chance to play silly games and engage in dishonest name calling.

It debases the discourse, dishonours the real life suffering of many — and, rather than uplifting our collective understanding of a terrible period of history, it turned it into just another political shitfight to give partisans the visceral pleasure of dehumanizing, misrepresenting and flagrantly lying about anyone with which we disagree.

Amongst the shitfight there were some valid arguments in support of Ghahraman being involved in attempts at international justice as a defence lawyer, as well as there being valid arguments about her and the Greens brushing over details of her legal experience in her political promotion.

Never say never and all that, but I will keep my opinions to myself from now on unless I feel my contribution is sufficiently well informed to make a useful contribution, and won’t simply trigger another unhelpful round of substance-free nastiness. I will still tweet, mind you. Any idiot can do that. If the urge to write in a longer form strikes, I’ll read a book by someone I disagree with instead.

I suspect that no matter how well informed someone is and how detailed they make an argument the reality is that when it comes to politically charged discussion the same outcome is likely to occur – most vocal politically slanted people are likely to skim read and jump to their own conclusions regardless.

But some of us would appreciate more depth and detail, and it is good to have it on record.

Ideally we would get a lengthy argument from both Quin and Ghahraman, so we can see both sides of a complex story. However I suspect that both would now prefer to move on from last week’s eruption.

From Phil Quin: On opining

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26 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  December 7, 2017

    business as usual for Quin then,a half arsed…. backdown/apology……

    Reply
  2. Ray

     /  December 7, 2017

    Miss Ghahraman is developing a reputation of never admitting a wrong and never saying sorry.
    A pity really as she has/had the ability to bring a new focus to our Parliament

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  December 7, 2017

      sorry…for???

      Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  December 7, 2017

        Air-brushing her profile and misrepresenting her role many times for a start…

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  December 7, 2017

          those allegations have been examined and found to be false as far as she is concerned…as you well know.

          Reply
          • wackAmole

             /  December 7, 2017

            They are not false, she and the Greens “sexed up” her CV to spin a photogenic ( by womens magazines standards) image of kick ass Go Grrl locking up child murdering monsters.

            In fact she has bee doing the EXACT OPPOSITE, trying to get them off the hook.

            The “Everyone has a right to a defense” is an obvious red herring, otherwise why try to cover up the record?

            Reply
          • High Flying Duck

             /  December 7, 2017

            They may be false ‘as far as she is concerned’.
            But here in the real world they were true, with plenty of evidence to back it up.

            Reply
          • PDB

             /  December 7, 2017

            Blazer: “those allegations have been examined and found to be false”

            Hence why she went back and had the Guardian newspaper change their story to rectify the false claim she worked for the prosecution, the Greens bio of her was changed, her Wikipedia profile was changed, and James Shaw apologised for 2 speeches he gave that were misleading as to her work history.

            Reply
  3. artcroft

     /  December 7, 2017

    I can believe Quinns assertions that the ICTR process was miss used but to some how try and lynch Ghahraman for it made him look a fool. As she was only in her early twenties (I guess) it was probably excellent experience and hopefully eye opening as to how UN type organisations operate.

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  December 7, 2017

      Ms Ghahraman may have learned more from this ‘shitfight’ than from whatever experiences she has had anywhere else in the world.

      Reasoned, intelligent, researched pieces have the same chance of being believed and being the basis of reasonable discussion as some off the cuff shallow nonsense or something created for mischief. Or the truthful the same as the false.

      The sheer ugliness of that is the beauty of that. A semblance of integrity might be expected of authors and publishers. Vain hope, and anyway those feasts are very mobile and variably fuelled. Having said that the masses they feed are hardly discriminating, discerning and swimming in sagacity.

      Reply
  4. david in aus

     /  December 7, 2017

    Golriz if she had any nous should have started off apologising. Say that it was a mistake to mislead the public ‘inadvertently’. She did not ‘highlight’ that aspect of her past because it is not reflective of her values now. It was a mistake of youth, wanting to gain experience in human rights, she took any opportunity as a young person freshly from university.
    It is through her experience in Rwanda and Cambodia that brought her to the Green party, determined to make a difference. She know what evil is because she has met it.
    Now with her defense and the defense of her supporters, she will be forever branded genocide defender Golria. All because of the complete lack of self-reflection.

    Reply
  5. robertguyton

     /  December 7, 2017

    “I should have shut my fat face”
    Hit that nail right on the head, Mr Quin.

    Reply
    • wackAmole

       /  December 7, 2017

      I have to say Quin does himself no favours with the spinless self depreciation. This seems an affliction which only Progressive males have no resistance to, similar to the insincere humble bragging which seems mostly to manifest itself in the female gender of the narcissistic Progressive species.

      A man would just stare down the screeching Golriz fan club mob and continue to call out her confabulations.

      Reply
  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 7, 2017

    Hilarious. A Lefty experiences the vile, ignorant, global nastiness of the Left. ROFL.

    Reply
  7. sorethumb

     /  December 7, 2017

    For Ghahraman the social media abuse was a reminder of what brought her into politics, and the Green party, in the first place – a life-long interest in protecting human rights, whether they be her own, or those of persecuted strangers on the other side of the world.

    In 2012 Ghahraman shifted back to New Zealand after working as a prosector for the United Nations Khmer Rouge tribunal in Cambodia.

    “I could see something had changed in NZ and it wasn’t for the better,” she remembers. “We were having our child poverty statistics criticized by the United Nations. We were doing things like prospecting for coal in our national reserves. Democratic institutions were eroding. Things like that kind of started to catapult me into wanting to be much more politically active.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/17/the-refugee-mp-golriz-ghahraman-on-why-she-had-to-enter-new-zealand-politics

    In her increasingly rare spare time, Ghahraman likes to travel with her partner, comedian Guy Williams. She also likes to host dinner parties, despite confessing to being a bad cook.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11898165

    Reply
    • sorethumb

       /  December 7, 2017

      What does she think her appeal is? If you shoehorn yourself into someone else’s country you should keep your head down and be a bit grateful, instead she wants to admonish anyone who opposes a big wide open door.

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  December 7, 2017

        She “shoehorned” herself into this country; wasn’t she a young girl when she arrived here? How clever and influential she must have been, at such a tender age!!
        You’re sounding … spiteful.

        Reply
  8. sorethumb

     /  December 7, 2017

    a life-long interest in protecting human rights, whether they be her own, or those of persecuted strangers on the other side of the world.
    …..
    And being paid for it versus emptying septic tanks (while being paid for it).

    Reply
  9. sorethumb

     /  December 7, 2017

    Earlier her speech about her experience as an Iranian refugee and not being Kiwi enough roused applause .

    “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my Kiwi Iranian refugee heart for being here today and standing with the people who are voiceless, who have been silenced.
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/98328741/National-Front-members-chased-away-from-Parliament

    Note: National Front Members chased away from Parliament is an occasion to associate herself with “people who are voiceless”.

    Not being Kiwi enough demonstrates an invidious attitude to New Zealanders as she challenges the norm against new comers like her.

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  December 7, 2017

      sorethumb – an Iranian refugee who has become a New Zealander, describing her ” my Kiwi Iranian refugee heart” is demonstrating an invidious attitude to New Zealanders???
      What are you chewing on? Your grizzled beard?

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  December 7, 2017

        Oh, I see! Your thumb!

        Reply
      • sorethumb

         /  December 7, 2017

        Oh come on:
        “not being Kiwi enough” demonstrates an invidious attitude to New Zealanders as she challenges the norm against new comers like her.

        Reply
        • sorethumb

           /  December 7, 2017

          This is the thing Robert. People are ethnocentric by nature – think weighted dice. They come loaded with software. Unfortunately Marxist academics are still loaded with software – Tabula Rasa V 01912
          …………..
          In 1912, Franz Boas stunned the world of anthropology by reporting striking differences in cranial form between American-born children of immigrants and their European-born parents. After collecting and analyzing measurements from over 13,000 subjects, Boas proclaimed that environment, not heredity, determined skull shape. The skull was plastic: You couldn’t use it to reliably distinguish ethnicity or race, let alone intellect.
          http://news.psu.edu/story/140739/2003/05/01/research/boas-bones-and-race

          Reply
  1. A closing argument from Phil Quin — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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