Years ago, when I set up the Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club, I wanted to formulate a Code of Conduct for members of the club, foreigners living in Serbia. I never did, but here is the list I came up with. It is a flawed list, sure, but it has served me well living almost my entire adult life as an immigrant in multiple countries.
- Obey the laws – Obey the laws of the land, even the petty bureaucratic laws
- Contribute – Give something back economically, socially and culturally
- Be positive– Focus on the positives of your new home
- Be loyal – Be as loyal as you can to your host country
- Learn the language – Make an effort to learn at least the basics of the language
- Learn the history – Learn about the history of the country and its peoples
- Be neutral – Try and be as neutral as possible on contentious local matters or conflicts
- Try not to judge – Try not to be too judgemental about local negatives. Nowhere is perfect
- Show, don’t tell – Do not lecture the locals about how to be, act, think. Teach by example, not complaint
- If you hate the place, leave – If you hate the place, do not inflict your misery on others, be brave and leave
[Another forgotten, unfinished post from the draft folder from 2009]
…are the connective tissue that holds the cross cultural structures in place to prevent in- and out-group formations.
[Another forgotten, unfinished post from the draft folder from June 2001. All I wrote was the following list, but I can claim I was into mindfulness before it became a thing 🙂 ]
“Mindfulness, investigation, energy, joy , concentration, tranquillity and equanimity.”
[Another forgotten, unfinished post from the draft folder from May 2012]
I missed this when it happened, but I wanted to note it here: E.O Wilson, one of the pre-eminent Evolutionary Biologists, has endorsed Group Selection.
[Another post from the draft folder from June 2009]
Surprise works very effectively making information stick.
[Another post from the draft folder from June 2009]
Cannot recall what this was supposed to be, but the tectonics of events is an intellectual theme of mine. It refers to people, places and things getting caught – crushed – between the tectonics of events – the big movement of history, geography and physics.
[Another in the series of posts forgotten in my drafts folder for years. This one since June 2011]
At face value, this is a tale of a supposed enlightened Western state that allowed ideologically motivated courts to support child rape, and helped a girl divorce her parents.
I have been unable to verify this beyond the article linked below, but here is the e-mail I received. It believe it.
I read your web posting regarding the fears of M’s mother about her daughter and social services. I also read the comment to your posting about the lady who’s sister had 5 children removed from her. I want to share with you a short summary of our tragic experiences in this regard in New Zealand. I think you may be South African – we are also South Africans, having emigrated from Durban to NZ with our 3 children in 1994. The story below summarises what tragically happened to our family at the hands of NZ authorities. I welcome any thoughts or comments you may have.
New Zealand – where the State supports underage child sex and a child “divorcing” a good family in order to silence State wrongs
Our family was innocently sucked into social services and family court involvement through the activities of our teenage daughter in New Zealand. We are loving, capable, committed and well-educated parents for whom our family is top priority. Alarmingly, one day we discovered that adult men were having group sex with our 14-year old daughter, so we asked police to prosecute as sexual crimes had been committed. Police informed us that they could only prosecute the men under instruction from social services, so following their advice we reported the matter to social services.
However social services’ view was that our 14-year old daughter’s group sex activities was “love and romance”, and within 30 minutes of meeting only with her, concluded that she should be removed from our home so that she could continue to explore her sexuality with adult men, unimpeded from family influence. They determined that as parents we had no right to protect our underage daughter from sexual criminals.
We opposed our daughter’s removal with every effort we could, and only after we had obtained the assistance of several MPs, did social services agree to leave our family alone. However, the State was not happy that we wanted to hold them accountable for their inappropriate intervention in our family. Realising they had no legal grounds to remove our daughter they secretly encouraged her to leave home on her own, promising her that when she was 16 the State would provide for all her needs on condition that she has no further contact with her family.
As soon as she turned 16 our daughter left home, and the State financed her to live independently. They even prevented us from paying her school fees.
What followed next was a chilling series of events. The State was not happy that we sought accountability – they wanted all information about their involvement with our family silenced. So the State financed our 16-year old daughter to take out gagging orders against her whole family – her parents and two brothers – thereby preventing us from seeking accountability for inappropriate State interventions. These gagging orders involved an attempt to set historical legal precedent in New Zealand because it required that she had to legally “divorce” her family and go into State care (even though she had already left home) in order to gag her family. More details can be read in this cover story of a national magazine:
We opposed the gagging proceedings in the courts firstly because the State financing a teenager to divorce a good family is a heinous concept, and secondly because we require freedom of speech to seek accountability for the inappropriate State interventions in our family. There were never any allegations of inappropriate parenting – ours was simply a case of the State wanting to silence us so that we could not seek accountability for their appalling interventions. At one point our daughter’s State funded lawyers dragged us through the secret courts in an attempt to have us imprisoned for allegedly breaking an interim gagging order, imposed while the court deliberated on whether to permanently gag us. Eventually we won the court cases, however the State had prolonged proceedings for 2 terrifying years so that our daughter was now 18 – an adult legally fully independent of family. In effect, through furtive means they had achieved their objectives of silencing us and keeping our child isolated from all family influence.
The secret Family court made it very clear that they were quite prepared to send an innocent family to prison in order to keep us quiet at all costs. We were told we needed to be “re-educated”. We are not permitted to detail events inside the secret court, however our own lawyer concluded that we would never get a fair trial in New Zealand because we sought State accountability.
Social services’ earlier actions in alienating our daughter against her family when they encouraged her to explore her sexuality, were hugely exacerbated by the numerous court cases to gag us. When the State pits a 16-year old girl against her whole family in protracted court gagging proceedings, the alienation effects are obvious and significant. We regard the State intervention in our family as severe child abuse. Top world expert psychologists concluded that our daughter is victim of Stockholm Syndrome – a condition where the victim acts similarly to some kidnapping victims who protect their kidnappers. We have received written comments from over 50 leading psychologists and counsellors condemning in the strongest terms the State intervention with our daughter.
Our daughter is now 22, refuses to have any contact with her family, and encouraged by the State, she has changed her surname. She has told us that her abandonment of her family as well as the court gagging proceedings against her family were to protect the State authorities we sought to hold accountable. A description of the State activities which have alienated her from her family, would fill a sizeable book. She has survived on State social welfare now for over 6 years even though her family have always been very willing and capable of supporting her. Her lifestyle has clear evidence of the consequences of living independently from good family influence since 16, for example, after she left home and while still at school, she began a 4-year sexual relationship with a TV presenter/nightclub owner twice her age, continuing even after his high-profile wedding. We learned this only in 2010, when she sold the sordid details of this affair to a national magazine.
Our eldest son, a quiet, reserved, sensitive boy, was dealt to with particular harshness and hostility during the secret Family court gagging procedures. He endured a vicious attack by the judge and lawyer during one court day, simply because he was our son. They savagely bullied him to ensure his silence, so that he would never dare speak of what the State has done to his family. He had witnessed first-hand what social services did to his young sister, and experienced severe bullying in the secret courts despite never even being accused of doing anything wrong. Like us, he was terrified of a judge who threatened to imprison him not because he had done anything wrong, but simply because he was our son – and his parents posed a threat to the State for wanting to seek accountability. Shortly after the court cases our son killed himself. The ex parte gagging orders taken out against our two sons without them being permitted to defend, still exist today.
A large number of laws have been broken by the State in their involvement with our family, both inside and outside the secret courts. In effect, we lost two children – one dead and one severely alienated. We have fully documented our experiences, however, through a campaign of terror the State effectively silenced us and prevented us from seeking redress or publicising our ordeal. To date, no one has yet been held to account.
Our multiple secret court appearances left us frightened and afraid, and concluding that it is too dangerous to live in a country where one has no protection from the law – the family courts are NZ’s Guantanamo Bay where, cloaked in secrecy, the State does it’s dirty deeds without the constraints of the law or the rule of law. We had endured two years of secret court terror, at the hands of a delinquent teenager empowered by a team of State-financed, ideologically-driven lawyers. Even though we eventually won the court cases, the total disregard for proper procedures and disrespect for the rule of law inside the secret court fills us with fear. The very day we won the last court case we began packing our bags – we uprooted our high-tech business, and we left the country. The business now employs Londoners instead of Aucklanders, and is soon to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Prospective immigrants into NZ should be warned that their families may suffer the same fate as ours if they try to protect their under-age daughters from sexual criminals or seek accountability for misguided State authorities.
History shows that details of atrocities tend to eventually emerge (Anne Franks for example). Only then does the country learn the lessons and improve. If the details of our experience were ever to emerge onto the world stage, New Zealanders would hang their heads in shame. Politicians and judges should realize that evil thrives under suppression and secrecy, to the country’s detriment. Creating a great nation, requires openness and freedom of expression, so that evil is exposed, lessons are learned and improvements made.
Germany had it’s Nuremberg trials, South Africa had it’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission – hopefully one day society will have a just forum where families such as ours can seek redress. We believe this is our only chance to begin to reverse the damage to our daughter. Our life goals have been shattered, and never a day goes by without us suffering the consequences of the actions of social services and the secret family court.
In a subsequent mail, the dad wrote in reply to my request to publicise the story:
Yes, please publicise our story. The message needs to get out. It effects us every single day of our lives. Ours is not the only horror story – we have read of many others – however we feel that we have an obligation to get our story out, as we are credible witnesses, have meticulous records of events, and the wrongdoings against us were so clear cut and extensive. Because we eventually won the court cases, ours is not a situation of sour grapes having lost – we won, but the court cases should never have occurred in the first place. However, even though we won, we are terrified of the secret courts having witnessed how they operate.