There is a lot to be angry about at the moment. And it seems like in the week or so leading up to the election we’ve been overloaded with news that is both shocking and more of the same from the government and the MSM. That anger is important, but we need to also be compassionate and thinking about how we can live together.
It’s being reported that this afternoon a man set himself on fire in the grounds of parliament. The man is now in a critical condition in hospital. There is very little information, but you can see an interview with the police controller at the scene here. Police are asking for anyone that was there to contact them to help them understand what happened. The front of parliament has been declared a crime scene and has restricted access.
Media are reporting this as a protest, as placards were at the scene with the man, and one media outlet says he was a regular protestor at parliament.
I’m not particularly hopeful about the media coverage on this but am open to being surprised. Stuff are already putting things in their report about burn marks on the grass and have random footage of people standing outside the grounds. Fortunately there are no images of the man during the fire but RNZ has images of the smoke and of the man being treated by ambulance staff. I think a description and the police interview would have sufficed, but drama sells.
It’s almost inevitable at some point some of the MSM narrative will be about mental health, and that any politics involved will be reported along establishment lines. We don’t know anything about the man’s story, and I know there will be much speculation, but let’s try and work with him as a human being first, and let’s take some care in how we talk about what has happened.
I don’t know whose ‘side’ this man is on or if he even has one. But there is no escaping that we are in a very tense time in NZ right now and that some kindness wouldn’t go amiss at this point.