Meet Barbara Sumner Burstyn, known more commonly as Sumner. The Cloud South Films website profiles her thus:
Barbara Sumner BurstynProducer and writer Barbara Sumner Burstyn is an award winning, widely published journalist, in New Zealand. She produced the multi-award winning documentary One Man, One Cow, One Planet. A selection of her written work can be viewed at: www.sumnerburstyn.comProducer, Director, Writer
Present: Research, writing, directing, producing documentaries for Cloud South Films.Author: The Meningococcal Gold Rush report and the MeNZB Quick Guide. Public speaker: The bad science, manipulation and dishonesty surrounding the development and marketing of the MeNZB vaccine.Weekly columnist: The New Zealand Herald.
1998 – present: Free-lance writer; features, profiles and investigative articles: (in NZ) The New Zealand Listener, Sunday Star Times, design magazine Urbis, business magazine Unlimited, Air New Zealand In-flight Panorama, The National Business Review, contemporary culture publications Metro, Pulp, Investigate, Flash and Loop, Grace and New Idea. The Independent on Sunday (UK), Montreal Gazette (Quebec), Sailing (USA), Harpers Bazaar (Aust.) Ottawa Citizen, MacLean’s, Vancouver Sun, Readers Digest (Canada)Qantas Media Awards
Winner: Best Social Issues Columnist 2004
Finalist: Columnist 2004
What the profile does not say is that Ms Burstyn is a Canadian native, now living in New Zealand. Nor does it say that she receives funding from New Zealand on Air to make documentaries, including her recent film This Way of Life. And nor does it mention that she has some radical anti-war views.
We are not going to get into the details of them, but you can find out more here and here at Monique Angel's Yea or Nay blog. Such is the outrage at Ms Burstyn's comments that in just the three days since they were made, more than 16,000 people have joined a Facebook page condemning her views.
Ms Burstyn has attracted a real outpouring of anger, some of which has come from military colleagues of Jacinda Baker, killed in Afghanistan last weekend. And instead of making a tactical withdrawl as may have been prudent to do, she has continued to attack.
Whilst we absolutely denounce Sumner Burstyn's comments, we acknowledge her freedom to make them, and the freedom of others to respond. But we wonder if Ms Burstyn has paused for a moment to consider the cost of that freedom.
Our grandfather was seriously wounded at Gallipoli. Our father fought in WWII, and what he experienced and witnessed had a profound effect on his life. Throughout the years, brave men and women have gone to wars on faraway battlefields to fight to secure the freedoms that we take for granted today. Those freedoms have come at a huge cost.
So before Sumner Burstyn returns to her keyboard, she might want to ponder this:
Footnote: We will be monitoring comments on this thread closely, for obvious reasons. Freedom of speech can be a two-edged sword, and we urge you to exercise YOUR freedom of speech wisely.