Merry Christmas – My Christmas Message

Whale Oil Blogger Cameron Slater Portrait Session

Last night Pete joked that I should do a Christmas message for all the readers and commenters.

It nagged away at me, damn you Pete…

But seriously folks I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

It has been a pretty tough year, It started really with a criminal act, the take down of the server and the hacks of my emails and social media.

Little did I know at the time what the left-wing had planned and executed.

It all unfolded as I was flying from Fiji to Seoul and when I landed at Incheon airport my phone went nuts.

I was overnighting there on my way to Israel via Paris. I put in place a plan and spoke with my friends and planned our response. I got 3 hours sleep and the next morning I was on a plane to Paris.

Can you imagine the stress I was under?

I didn’t have all the information, I had a deluge of emails and messages, plus there was a campaign underway to try and rack up my phone bills by people calling me and hanging up…there were literally hundreds of those.

Sitting on the plane to Paris was excruciating, totally out of contact, worrying about my friends who were under attack as well, and especially worrying about my family under siege by scumbag journalists doorstepping my wife and kids.

Same with the flight into Tel Aviv from Paris.

It was a rolling storm and I was half a world away and 9 hours behind in ?a very strange land.

The next night there I?was standing on a balcony in Tel Aviv with the city behind me talking on breakfast TV in New Zealand while it was midnight in Israel. ??

That same night was my first rocket attack from Hamas. I was chatting with Cactus Kate on Skype at the time when the sirens went off. I told her I had to go to the shelter…and text from there that I was under attack from the left-wing in NZ and here I was in a shelter with Hamas rockets coming for me too…I was more afraid of the rockets than I was of Nicky Hager.

After another night in Tel Aviv we then went to Jerusalem. Up until this moment I had resolved to act with dignity and decorum. I had established the extent of the hack…and the framing of the attack and how Nicky Hager was framing me and the blog and my friends as nasty…something I had put behind me for years.

My plan was to show people, through the blog, the comments and the moderation that the site and me were different from that which was portrayed. It felt like a good plan, it felt right, and my support team agreed. We wouldn’t go nasty, we wouldn’t retaliate…we would simply carry on and take names of those involved in attacks, especially those journalists who were now sanctimoniously pointing the finger at me. They know what I know, they know the stories they willingly took and ran, and yet here they were accusing me of all sorts of “crimes”, none of which were true. When people came to the site to see what all the fuss was about they found something different entirely…and they stayed. They couldn’t work out what Hager was on about, because none of that which was portrayed was there, instead there was a bunch of convivial people communicating willingly, it was a community.

I knew that the best policy was to not speak with them…their idea of balance is one sentence in a 650 word attack piece…I wasn’t even going to give them that.

When we went to Jerusalem something amazing happened.

Jerusalem was empty of tourists, war does that.

In the old city we wandered around in tourist free lanes and avenues and then went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

It was here that something amazing happened.

Wikipedia describes the Church as follows:

The site is venerated as Calvary (Golgotha),?where Jesus was crucified,?and also contains the place where Jesus is said to have been buried.

It was while at golgotha…a corner of the church and raised atop the very hill from ancient times…it isn’t a big hill, and nothing at like I imagined, and all inside the Church. Over the top of the hill is a chapel. It was in this chapel that I felt something amazing.

On the drive from Tel Aviv I was still under siege from journalists and media in NZ…I was shattered and tired, and the heat and the stress had given me a splitting headache…my hosts were concerned about me…I looked ill.

Golgotha altar

Golgotha altar

But as I stood there right above the spot where Jesus was crucified, I did something that I haven’t done for a long time, I prayed.

As I prayed I literally felt the weight lift from my shoulders, and a serene peace descend across me…it felt like a soothing warm blanket covering me.

And for the first time in my life, both as a person and as a christian I felt like I was being spoken to.

It might sound weird, it certainly felt weird. My mother had always talked to me about how she spoke with God…I didn’t believe her…and until that moment I still didn’t.

Our conversation, I suppose I can call it that, was brief. But I felt God spoke to me, told me to leave it to him, to not react, to act with grace and decorum. My plan, already formulated, was confirmed.

From that short moment standing on Golgotha I was at peace, but it followed me, it stayed with me.

That was the moment that I knew we’d get through this and the left-wing who planned and co-ordinated this attack would fail.

You can ask my friends who were ringing me in tears, or worry, or concern about my demeanour…my attitude from that moment on…I was totally calm, totally reasoned and acted completely within in my plan. I needed them to follow it too and mostly they did.

I needed to lead and I felt that I did.

But it was tough, it was terrible and the media are ferocious. They tried, so did the left-wing, to tip me over, to push me past my limits and I found from that moment atop Golgotha that where I thought my limits of pressure were I was now able to push way past that…and not collapse. No one in NZ politics has ever had an attack so sustained, so vicious and still stayed standing.

I wanted to share this eventually and it seems appropriate that I share this on Christmas Day. I found peace that day before the altar at Golgotha. I finally had to my mind confirmation of my faith, and what made it special was it was at a time of dire need for me, and in a place so special. There I was in a place surrounded by people, yet utterly and totally alone with God. It was amazing.

For those of you who have been on the journey that this blog and my life has been for almost ten years I thank you for not abandoning me and my team in our time of need. I am a loyal person, and I appreciate loyalty in return.

To the team…Juana, Tony and Emily, Pete, Regan and Rachel, Cathy, Carrick, Willow and Cadell, Hamilton Girl, David F, David W, Ele, Pierre, Katherine, Paul H, James C, the boys at Small Group, plus many others…thank you very, very much for your support, then and ongoing. It means an awful lot to me that you all stayed strong under this most vicious of attacks.

To those of you who assist on the blog, my Deputy Editor Pete, the mods (Pete and Nige), Lux for her eclectic photo contributions, EveryWhichWayButLeft, Roger and James for their contributions too… and of course Sonovamin for his brilliant and perceptive cartoons.

Which really only leaves me to give a special thanks to my best friend, my rock and now a contributor on the site, Spanish Bride…my amazing and beautiful wife.

Merry Christmas to you all. You support and resolve helped me and the team through our trials and tribulations this year.

Brace yourself for next year because it is going to be awesome.