In a semi-public area who is to say what is acceptable?
"First they came for the crying babies and I did not speak out, because I was not a crying baby ... . Then they came for the people with hearing aids and loud voices, then for those with cellphones and iPods, and I did not speak out ... "
The removal of a mother and her crying 4-month-old baby Rex this week from the Providores Urban Food Store in Mt Maunganui rather trivialises Martin Niemoller's powerful quotation about standing back in the face of injustice to others. Rex's fate is merely an example of the intolerance of urban life, some thoughtless insensitivity towards a young parent. But where does such behaviour stop?
In a semi-public area like a cafe, who is to say what is acceptable, what is too noisy, what offends the silent, supping majority?
In this case it was the staff, ostensibly after complaints, making the judgment that Rex was disturbing the peace and might instead enjoy some fresh air away from Providore's delicate customers.
Did anyone speak out in defence of the mother, Courtney Pope, as she attempted to breastfeed the hungry and tired boy?
The silent ones, the complainers and the staff need to look at themselves and their own idiosyncrasies, the little things they do that could irritate others in a confined space. Those laughs. That accent. The coffee machine, the way the barista bashes out the dregs, the closing of the till. That music.
Still, if a frowning silence and brunch in a bubble is their thing, then they are welcome to it. The rest of us should live and let live.