It is not the intention of this opinion piece to either discourage or necessarily encourage the formation of a community action group by some small business owners and leaders in the community. The intention here like any other responsible media is to note, observe, and analyse all events and incidents related to community and in our case the Kiwi-Indian community.
For uninitiated, few aggrieved local business owners and leaders in the community, who gathered on Tuesday, March 14, to express their solidarity with a fellow dairy owner and the latest victim of another aggravated robbery and assault in Mt Roskill, Auckland, had announced forming a Community Action Group to take joint action against the rising menace of robberies and assault.
The announcement and the follow-up action, if any, are at very early stages.
In fact, when Indian Weekender interviewed the victim and their family in the North Shore Hospital, they found them expectedly more in pain, than being ready for initiating a sustained action to bring any effective change in the social perception towards the rising menace of aggravated robberies and the response offered to this problem.
Like everywhere else in the life, few people are taking the lead in organising this proposed community action group, while a majority of others are sitting on fence for various reasons.
One main reason that would be keeping many people away from this endeavour apart from most people's general lack of interest in most of the things in life would be suspicion on political motives of those who are taking the lead in this action group.
To be fair to many community leaders with different political leanings other than that of those who are taking the lead in this community action group, it will be an unfair expectation for them to come and join this initiative immediately.
However, the intention of this piece is not to comment on the divide in the community, either political or social.
The intention is to provide for some intellectual resource to how to make such a public initiative successful or at least meaningful for those who chose to support it in any manner.
It is important to note that the success of any similar social or political movement depends on two foundational elements - 'ideas' and 'organisation'.
The planners will have to be careful enough to offer clear ideas to the people they are trying to mobilise for their cause because history is evident that successful movements are built and sustained on the basis of big ideas.
The ideas are different from mere rhetoric on any particular issue.
They can learn better from the electoral rout of one of the ethnic political party formed recently in Auckland. Rhetoric alone does not always necessarily translate into popular support.
Aggravated robbery is an important issue, but merely raising rhetoric, may not be very successful. There has to be engagement with bigger ideas that defines New Zealand, such as how New Zealand addresses the question of crime, how New Zealand treats their prisoners or criminals, etc.
The success for this community action group will depend on how good they eventually prove to engage with 'big ideas'.
Similarly, their success will also be dependent on their organisational efficiency.
One important part of organisational efficiency is the ability to set clear goals about what they want to achieve from this community action group and then effectively disseminate those goals among all supporters.
Better, the clarity in goal setting and transparency in sharing of those goals, among prospective supporters, better are the chances for this initiative to survive for a considerable time.
A cue from Gandhi's armoury in this regard would be of some help for the planners behind this latest community initiative.
Gandhi was not mere an inspirational leader, as is widely believed but was a great strategist also who never launched a movement when under a siege of emotional upheaval.
Rather, he waited for his emotions to subside before beginning something substantial, because he was of the opinion that if his intentions could not outlast his emotional upheaval then how he can expect other people to be supportive of his cause after their initial emotions subside.
Only time will tell what is in future, but there is no denial in the fact that our dairy owners and local businesses could not be expected to live in perpetual fear because of the inability of society and system to respond effectively.