Wanaka talks up a storm

Mid­dle East in­ter­ven­tion a hot topic

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By MAR­JORIE COOK

Ital­ian jour­nal­ist and economist Loretta Napoleoni and Wellington mil­i­tary his­to­rian Dr Damien Fen­ton book­ended the re­cent As­pir­ing Con­ver­sa­tions Fes­ti­val with po­lar op­po­site views on whether the west should in­ter­vene in the Mid­dle East.

But they had two things in common: apoc­a­lyp­tic vi­sions of the fail­ure of democ­racy and an abil­ity to fill the au­di­to­rium.

Napoleoni opened the three day pro­gramme, earn­ing ap­plause for her opin­ion the ‘‘West should back off and let them (the Mid­dle East) sort it out’’.

Fen­ton closed the show by es­pous­ing the op­po­site view.

‘‘As much as we find it dis­taste­ful I think we should do it. Be­cause if we don’t, the way it is go­ing, the idea of an Is­lamic State over 40 mil­lion peo­ple is too fright­en­ing . . . Look at what the Nazis were able to achieve in Ger­many,’’ he said.

In be­tween the war talks, fes­ti­val go­ers in­dulged in a feast of other top­i­cal is­sues and ideas cour­tesy of in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned speak­ers brought to­gether by head spon­sor McKin­sey and Co.

New Zealand’s lit­er­atti at the fes­ti­val in­cluded CK Stead, Char­lotte Grimshaw, Dame Fiona Kid­man, Ian Wedde, Vincent O’Sul­li­van and Kirsty Gunn.

Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Philip Tre­me­wan said au­di­ence feed­back was ex­tremely pos­i­tive.

‘‘Our most popular ses­sions were those dis­cussing con­tem­po­rary is­sues like tech­nol­ogy, pol­i­tics and the en­vi­ron­ment so it’s clear peo­ple are still drawn by the power of ideas,’’ he said.

‘‘We were also treated to a sell­out solo per­for­mance by Tim Finn that chimed per­fectly with the theme of the fes­ti­val.’’

Anti-in­ter­ven­tion: Loretta Napoleoni.

Pro-in­ter­ven­tion: Dr Damien Fen­ton.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.