This piece, comes, with the above heading from the Philippines Solidarity Network Aotearoa’s Kapitiran No 22 of January 2003. The author is PSNA Secretary, Murray Horton
“One major concern had been that New Zealanders supporting liberation movements overseas (which more often than not have to resort to armed struggle – East Timor is the most recent example) would be swept up in the scope of this anti-terrorist law. The law as passed allows Kiwis to make donations to such foreign groups if they intend them to be used for humanitarian aid.
As detailed in Aziz Choudry’s article, Joma Sison and the New People’s Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines (NPA/CPP) have been added to the global list of “foreign terrorist organisations” (along with the likes of the Abu Sayyaf Group).
The NPA has been fighting the Armed Forces of the Philippines and all the other guntoting forces of the Philippine government since the 1960s. Both the CPP and NPA play a leading role in the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political wing of the Communist-led revolutionary movement, which is based in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
PSNA exchanges publications with the NDF (as we do with all sorts of other groups) and we routinely receive e-mailed NDF press releases, etc. Back in the 1980s PSNA hosted Joma Sison (fresh out of his nine years of imprisonment and torture, without charge or trial, during the Marcos dictatorship) and fellow CPP/NDF leader Luis Jalandoni when they made New Zealand speaking tours.
We don’t believe that this makes us any sort of “terrorists”, simply a group devoted to maintaining ties with the broadbased Filipino progressive movement. If we’re terrorists, then we’re in good company – none other than Helen Clark attended one of Sison’s New Zealand public meetings in 1986.
Attendance at speeches by “terrorists” years earlier was deemed sufficient grounds for Australian cops and Intelligence agents, wielding guns and sledgehammers, to smash their way into the homes of hapless Indonesians resident in Australia, in the wake of the October 2002 Bali bombings – we look forward to an NZ encore performance at any one of Helen Clark’s residences.
“…As a member of the then Labour government you attended one of his public meetings, and I understand that you may have also met him. This was in the context of your active interest in the political situation in the Philippines in the 1980s. You went to hear what Joma Sison had to say and recognised him as representing a significant section of Philippine political opinion.
“Does the Government endorse or oppose the designation of him as a “foreign terrorist”? It is not very long ago that governments with whom New Zealand was aligned designated Nelson Mandela and Xanana Gusmao as terrorists. Are we fated to learn nothing from the lessons of the very recent past? By designating Sison and the two organisations as “terrorists” simply lessens the chance of a just and peaceful settlement of Asia’s longest running civil war…” (extract from a letter that I, as PSNA Secretary, wrote to Helen Clark, 19/11/02. She declined to reply, forwarding it to Phil Goff, Minister of Foreign Affairs).”