It Could Happen Here Too

The wondrous spectacle of revolutionary passion in Cairo has made me ponder what could occur here to launch a similar uprising.

It is clear that the apparatus of the state has one glaring chink in it, a chink large enough for a big long pointy thing to get inside and cause a bit of bother. That big long pointy wiggly thing is brown, radical and angry.

The state’s perception of its powers has become confused, thanks to all this dialogue with the dispossessed. Confronted with an aggressive and powerful challenge from Maori it is possible, just possible, that events could spiral out of control and we could end up with a crisis to match that in Egypt.

It might begin with something simple. Someone has bought a DVD recorder. He goes out to the Cosmopolitan Club for his usual Saturday night entertainment (beer, meat raffles, and Marxist dialogue) unaware that the repeat episode of CSI Milton Keynes being played on The Box at 8.30pm won’t record, and so he misses a critical episode of his favourite show.

Enraged at the failure of his shiny new piece of hardware, he gathers an angry mob the next day and marches on Wellington. Soon he has hundreds of followers: irate students disappointed by the quality of their trim flat whites, real estate agents who just can’t close the deal, factory workers who think the All Whites winning the Halberg Award was a disgrace, and a small bespectacled Irishman who is fed up with being told by his wife that the rubbish must be taken out. All of these people are fed up and disgruntled, and they want the Government to fix everything now.

The protesters fill the streets of Wellington, and they gather a surprising number from those who are usually silent in times of protest. A large group of penguins has been flapping about in Cook Strait, but they hear of the protest and decide to join in. The Penguin King seizes the moment to take control of the protest. He leads the group to Parliament and they demand immediate action. Their list of grievances is long: more fish, more snow and ice, and an end to whales and seals. No reactionary government can possibly consent to these demands without being fatally weakened. A crisis brews.

The Prime Minister addresses the crowd and tells them that they must go home. Just then a huge bomb explodes in Parliament Square and the Penguin King disintegrates in the flames. There is nothing left of the fearless protest leader. There is a riot, and the Prime Minister and his security people are left holed up in the Parliament Building.

Just as all seems lost a reactionary mob led by Sir Peter Jackson storms into the crowd. Sir Peter is in the very thick of things, his Elven blade glinting in the sunlight as it slices through the protest mob. The protesters look like they are about the break when there is a flashing in the sky and a strange object descends from the heavens. Awestruck, the protesters and reactionaries give way, allowing this strange space object to land in Parliament Square. It is a silvery spaceship, curved and mysterious. A door opens and someone – or something – waddles out. The Penguin King is not dead after all!

The forces of reaction now realise that all is lost. Sir Peter leads his host to the steps of Parliament as they fight off wave upon wave of protesters. “To me! To me!” cries mighty Sir Peter, his armour resplendent and his sword raised.

The Penguin King is determined to crush his enemy, and he chooses this moment to launch his secret weapon: super flying slugs! The host atop Parliament’s steps is rocked by this new horror. These slimy creatures cling to the faces and hair of their targets, causing distress and terror. The Prime Minister had emerged from Parliament to witness the triumph of the forces of reaction, but now he hides behind Sir Peter’s vast shield. It is clear that Sir Peter’s men cannot hold out much longer. Help must come, and soon!

The Penguin King sees now that his opponent is ready to crack. Realising it it time for the final assault, he prepares his special shock force for action, briefing them on what is required. They are his finest troops, his Maori radicals. When the Penguin King is ruler of the Penguin Republic of Aotearoa, the men of the Maori Radical Legion will be his governors and lieutenants. All the lands of New Zealand will be theirs.

At the Penguin King’s command the Legion charges forward, even as Sir Peter’s brave men try to wipe away the slug slime. “You must hold!” calls the defenders’ general. “For Capital! For welfare reform! For economic freedom!”

His words have an instant power – or so it seems. The charging hordes are halted in an instant. Before them stands a man, a solitary man in camouflage gear. They gasp collectively, feeling a sudden fear in their hearts, and a loosening in their bowels. Corporal Willie Apiata!

Corporal Apiata is unarmed, except for a sharpened toothpick in his right hand. In the hands of such a killer that toothpick could turn the tide of the battle. What is his business here, they wonder? Have the forces of reaction co-opted him? Has he sold himself out to Whitey?

“Nah bros, I’m with you guys!” Corporal Apiata shouts. “Let’s clean up these honkies!”

Meanwhile, the hobbits realise there is no escape this time and that this will be their last battle. As the battlelines smash together, and as the screams of man and penguin merge into one terrible violence of noise, the two little people ready their swords. If die we must then let them sing songs about us in the Shire, they decide. They fly into battle and are immediately in the thick of it.

Sir Peter is knocked off his horse. He is set upon by an angry radical horde. As his eyes close and he prepares for the sudden sensation of steel ripping life from him, he hears a burst of noise.

“The eagles! The eagles!”

Now the protesters are running. They have become a ragged mob as giant birds plunge at them from the sky, their sharp beaks and talons too much for even the most vicious of penguins. Astride the backs of these great coursers of the sky come Spiderman, Superman, Batman and a host of other superheroes. Soon Parliament Square is cleared of protesters, the bodies of the radicals everywhere in heaps. The Penguin King attempts to flee, but is accidentally stood upon by one of the human protesters and is mortally wounded. “Remember this day!” he whispers. “You must avenge me!” he gasps before expiring in the arms of his only son.

His son has no time to consider his new position. He may be king now, but if he does not escape now he will have no kingdom left, and there will be no possibility of a sequel. He must escape and now! Flapping his flippers, the young penguin clears a path through the chaos and boards a bus heading to Upper Hutt. He disappears.

Just then, as Sir Peter and other corporate cronies are sharing their cigars with the Prime Minister, the ground shakes. Buildings collapse all around them, and they are crushed to death by hundreds of tonnes of rubble.

This is the signal for a new wave of protest action, and this time the protesters occupy what remains of Parliament. They declare the day a national day and decree that anyone who is white must say that they’re very very sorry and won’t do whatever it was that they did ever again.

And so the revolution begins.

Except for one small bespectacled Irishman nothing has changed. He returns home from the protest jubilant, only to be greeted by a bitter wife and the rubbish piled up. He gets angry and decides to take direct political action against the new regime…