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#illridewithyou shows the kind of world that is possible

John Falzon |  18 December 2014

'I'll ride with you' poster

While the horrible tragedy was underway in Martin Place this week a remarkable thing happened. We saw, and continue to see, a powerful sense of compassion for the people who were being held hostage.

Sadly, we also saw a rush of racist hatred towards innocent people. But we saw an even greater outpouring of solidarity by ordinary people with the ordinary people who were being threatened with this violence and abuse, crystallised in what can only be described as a love poem written by the people to the people, namely 'I’ll ride with you'.  

It looked like a simple offer of human support and protection to people of the Muslim faith who were in danger as they rode on the buses, trams and trains across Australia the next morning.  But it was always more than this. In its concreteness it was also a deeply profound declaration of a vision for a just and inclusive Australia. It was particularly beautiful because it came from ordinary people and it so strongly struck a chord with ordinary people.

Good policy always comes from below. Without the organised analysis and agitation of the people we would never have seen gains in the fields of industrial rights, women’s rights, tenants’ rights, environmental justice, workers compensation, Aboriginal citizenship rights and so the list, and the struggle, continues. People were radicalised by reality, by their concrete analysis of the concrete conditions. Good policy was born from such struggles.

Ordinary people thought critically and acted decisively in the face of a dominant ideology that continues to tell us that justice is impossible or, worst still, that inequality and humiliation are the manifestations of justice because the people who bear the brunt of this oppression must obviously deserve it due to a moral failing. Rather than accepting that justice is impossible, they proclaimed with their lives that, in the words of the great Aboriginal poet Bobbi Sykes: 'Justice is inevitable, like birth.'

Against the grain, ordinary people struggled, and continue to struggle for a society in which people are not blamed because economic structures lock them out or, in some cases, lock them up; one in which people are not told that they would not be poor if only they chose to be a little more productive; a society that does not humiliate people; a society that delivers the rights to: appropriate housing, adequate income, education, health care, jobs and working conditions that are dignified, safe and never demeaning; a society that ensures that the resources and opportunities available to all include the right to engage in sports and recreation and the arts; a society in which it feels normal to care about people; a society that is profoundly, rather than just formally, democratic; created by, and constantly changed by, the collective participation of the people. 

Frantz Fanon wrote eloquently of the 'systematic negation of the other person and the furious determination to deny the other person all attributes of humanity.' How accurate a description this is of the people in our midst who are left out, from members of the First Peoples right through to the most recent seekers of refuge and everyone in between who is denied the rights to a place to live, a place to work, a place to learn, a place to heal. And yet these are the people from whom we have the most to learn, the people from whom we take our orders, we who wield the peaceful but irresistible weapon of solidarity. In biblical language these are the people of God, not an ethnic or religious group, but the crushed and the cursed, the despised and demonised, the excluded and exploited. And in simple birth of the child in Bethlehem we see a story of complete identification between this God and the crushed of the world, a human manifesto: 'I’ll ride with you.'

Pope Francis is unafraid to give voice to this revolutionary message, making it the core of his first exhortation, even though, as he reminds us often, he knows he will be called a communist:

As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems…

He also addressed in some detail the need for solidarity and the power of popular movements in October this year:

Solidarity is a word that is not always welcomed…. However, it is a word that means much more than some acts of sporadic generosity.  It is to think and to act in terms of community, of the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few. It is also to fight against the structural causes of poverty, inequality, lack of work, land and housing, the denial of social and labour rights. It is to confront the destructive effects of the empire of money: forced displacements, painful emigrations, the traffic of persons, drugs, war, violence and all those realities that many of you suffer and that we are all called to transform. Solidarity, understood in its deepest sense, is a way of making history, and this is what the Popular Movements do.

The rights of workers, including all who have been residualised and discarded, people who are unemployed or underemployed, must take priority over the maximisation of profits. Our twin objectives are a redistribution of wealth and a redistribution of hope. This is the history we are called by our common humanity to make. This is our beautiful struggle, we who are many, we who make up the massive movement for progressive social change.

And the Christmas story is a whisper from the edge that another kind of world is possible.

John FalzonJohn Falzon is CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council. Follow him on Twitter.





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Submitted comments

I much prefer John Falzon's thoughts to the thoughts of George Christensen as reported on the ABC - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-18/george-christensen-criticises-illridewithyou-campaign/5974890 . I think he has missed the point.

Brett 18 December 2014

My goal as a Christian, John Falzon, is not the redistribution of wealth. It has been tried before without very impressive results. Most countries that have tried to redistribute the wealth have fallen victim to the corruption and greed of the ruling clique, who were doing what was necessary for everyone else's good. Just where would you find these angels, John Falzon, who would order society to be equal? Jesus told the rich young man to give all that he owned and give it to the poor and come follow me. What should he have done? Directed the apostles to follow the rich young man and take his wealth by force? This is ultimately what you want. You want the state to decide who can have how much. It leads to nothing other than massive statist corruption and oppression.

Marg 18 December 2014

John - where did you see "a rush of racist hatred towards innocent people"? You refer to "people of the Muslim faith who were in danger as they rode on the buses, trams and trains across Australia the next morning" - which buses, trams etc are you talking about?

Oh please! 18 December 2014

It is a terrible thing if innocent people are unjustly vilified or threatened; just ask any Catholic priest who has been subjected to abuse because of the actions of a few paedophile priests; or Jewish children abused on a bus earlier this year and whose schools need armed guards. Yet every time there is some Islamic terrorist incident, we are told by Leftists and their ilk that the real problem will be an anti-Muslim backlash from a society of racist bigots. This happened in the USA after the Boston Marathon bombings, and now John Falzon talks about “a rush of racist hatred towards innocent people…in danger as they rode on the buses, trams and trains.” Yet somehow these Leftist myths never materialise. Not after Boston, and not after Martin Place where Muslim men and women peacefully laid flowers in a show of shared grief. The FBI’s 2013 Hate Crime Statistics show that only 13.1 per cent of religiously-inspired hate crimes were anti-Islamic compared to 60.6 per cent being anti-Jewish. Overall at 2.3 per cent, anti-Islamic hate crimes were outnumbered by those against blacks, whites, gays and Hispanics. In reality it is delusional Leftists who wantonly smear and vilify innocent people.

Ross Howard 18 December 2014

I thought this was a wonderful and inspiring piece, John and thanks for it. But you can see what you are up against among the elect when you read the comments. Oh dear, just shows how much effort is needed to maintain the status quo.

Michael D. Breen 19 December 2014

Thank you John for a thoughtful article which warns us against too quickly and easily blaming a group of people for the outrage of a single individual. And thank God for Pope Francis. May his message redound around the world.

Alan Stuart 19 December 2014

It's unfortunate the dangerous racism Tessa Kum (#Illridewithyou creator) claimed she was preventing, was so clearly perpetuated by herself. This from her blog: "I’m learning about hate because I am coming to hate you, white person. You have all the control, all the power, all the privilege, and there is nothing holding you accountable. I hate the double standards and hypocrisy you display, the rank dishonesty of your conduct. I hate that you can harm us, when we cannot harm you".

Ben Davies 19 December 2014

Michael and Alan, This backlash against Moslems has not occurred. One friend of mine who is a Moslem cleric told me he had received many expressions of support starting from mid Monday morning. Just as I do not want my Catholicism to be judged on the basis of the intolerance of the temple police, I and many other Australians realise that extremists are not the typical product of a faith that has much in common with my own.

grebo 19 December 2014

John all this is a two-way street., the original article was somewhat delusional and from someone who has no concept of the real issues. With Zac's recent article I suggested he speak with the police, nurses and teachers along with the non-muslim community who live and work in the suburbs with high muslim populations and see how difficult it can be at times. Also I have not heard of any paybacks or racist conduct following the siege. In fact Jews and Christians are the ones who are more likely to be vilified, and persecuted world wide, than muslims.

Brian Goodall 19 December 2014

Thank you John, While I enjoyed the rhythm of your writing, I resonated with the link to the voices that began to echo one voice, 'I will ride with you.' How wonderful to be lifted by this simple statement. It allows us to feel hope and joy. A beautiful message for all seasons.

Vic O'Callaghan 19 December 2014

If only a Black Death in Australia would evoke the same outpouring and assistance from white Australians, we would have a better world. Fr Donald Mackillop SJ (brother of Mary Mackillop, Australia's first saint) who worked with Aboriginals in the Northern Territory wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald in 1892 " Australia, as such, does not believe in the right of the black man to live." This is still the case - Australia has the highest suicide rate in the world - Aboriginals and now Indian murder suicide is starting to increase. How the concept of Christianity has been warped to cloak the abhorrence of racism. When is white Australians going to include other nations in parliaments and industry across the board to confirm the real identity of Australia. We are referring to token positions. When are we going to have the right to accumulate equity and capital? We have our skills, our credit is taken by white Australians and then we are scapegoated for white Australians mistakes, to the point of not finding work. Where is the wealthy white Christians to help us as there is no wealthy black Christians that can help? Are there any white Australian out there willing to give us, educated people, a job?

Jackie 19 December 2014

What on earth have the problems of the poor, the autonomy of financial markets, solidarity, worker's rights, the redistribution of wealth and the birth of Christ have to do with the Martin Place siege? Simply another opportunity to sprout the Marxist communist philosophy, the most devastating of all failed social experiments which removed all freedom from those who suffered its oppression in the name of "the worker" and rightly condemned by a procession of Christian churchmen of all denominations across the last century. Marxism is dead and buried - why give it new legs?

john frawley 19 December 2014

The first Commandment warns us not to worship false gods. Worship of two such false 'gods' seem to be causing most of the problems in the world. (1), putting profits above the fair treatment of workers and consumers. And(2), thinking the religious path one has found to lead to God is the only path, and that it is to be worshipped, promoted and defended as if IT was God, and that other paths, and even the people on them should be obliterated. We need to correct both misapprehensions if there is to be Peace and Harmony on earth.

Robert Liddy 19 December 2014

john frawley:" Marxism is dead and buried - why give it new legs? " Do you think that if you try to associate it with a bad, distorted and failed forced social experiment you will discourage the yearnings of our social nature to find a fair and cooperative mode of life where there is a place for everyone to contribute as they are able and to receive what they need? Christianity began as the greatest example of community love and concern for others the world has ever seen. It attracted millions of Volunteers and lasted for hundreds of years. until it conquered the Roman Empire but was in turn, subjected by the political power it then acquired. WE CAN LEARN, AND DO BETTER

Robert Liddy 19 December 2014

Oh please:"John - where did you see "a rush of racist hatred towards innocent people"? The ingredients were there, as we have seen in the past, for trouble, which could have been sparked by remarks from some red-necked shock jock. Thankfully there were appeals to defuse tensions, and allow belittlement of the situation. Nonetheless I overheard men discussing it all, admittedly over a few beers, and advocating that the Government assist those wanting to join ISIS, and even pay their fare(one-way), and not cancel their passport until they left the country

Robert Liddy 19 December 2014

I'd like to think that the young Muslim woman's fears were unfounded - that there was no need for here to have to take her burqa off to feel secure - and no need for anyone to have to offer to ride with her - that she can presume the the overwhelming majority of Australians' silence or passivity on public transport is a sign of support (in my experience using public transport there is little interaction with my fellow my travellers, given most people have earphones in or have their eyes glue to smartphones). I think sometimes when the media raise these fears - it creates a fear that previously doesn't exist. Sure, there might be isolated reports of verbal racism etc, but thankfully I'd like to think there's no need to have to go this far and protect people.

AURELIUS 19 December 2014

Brett aptly draws our attention to the rantings of George Christensen who describes “Ride with Me” as a “hating whitey campaign.” Not so long ago Christensen suggested bizarrely that halal vegemite was responsible for funding terrorism and sharia law. These sorts of pronouncement feed fear and hate and give oxygen to extreme racist groups in Australia. Christensen is no dark basement trolling cockroach. He belongs to a mainstream Australian political party, nay, he represents the government of this country. The fact that he is tolerated within that party is of itself very telling. Why don’t those in authority call him out? Why is he not expelled for his deliberately inflammatory views? As Abbott would say, the member for Dawson is entitled to his own opinion. I would say to Mr Abbott, silence denotes assent. Christensen serves a purpose within this government. His radical racist pronouncements test and feed the waters of public opinion. Like John I too felt proud to be Australian when I saw the Ride with Me campaign take off. And like John I agree that many Muslim’s in our country feel unsafe. Yes the Ride with Me campaign is largely symbolic, but symbols are important. What is the meaning behind Christensen’s symbolism?

Lawrie Beriya (Canley Heights) 19 December 2014

John, a wonderful piece of writing and thank you for expressing the views that many of us have in such an articulate way. Your advocacy for the marginalised in our society is wonderful and many of us admire greatly your efforts. We are indeed a lucky country to have people like you involved in public life. Have a happy and holy Christmas and I will look forward to another appearance of John Falzon on Q&A in 2015

Andrew Teece 19 December 2014

Thank you John, and thank God for Pope Francis, a truly wise and compassionate man who choses to live justly and work for reform, renouncing greed and privilege. I find Marg's comments concerning and remind me of Tony Abbott saying the poor are always here,as if there is nothing more to be done. Capitalism is great for multi-nationals and wealthy owners but when they pillage resources and grow rich on the backs of the poor,find the poorest third world labourers, enslave children in poverty,pay no tax,this is CORRUPTION and OPPRESSION. Australia is very wealthy and I share Jackie's question about any serious response to an increasingly high level of indigenous incarceration. Indeed, where are we saying "Illridewithyou"? Perhaps we ordinary people are sick of fear and media sensationalism. I hope this becomes a mantra, an agent for reform. The internet- information and platform to a global community of ordinary people. Peace and compassion are shared Christian and Muslim values, hate and greed are for the extreme.

Catherine 19 December 2014

Excellent points, John Frawley et al. Anyone who wants to see more Australians slipping into poverty can do no better than implement the policies of Dr Falzon and the Marxist gurus he constantly channels.

HH 19 December 2014

Beautiful description of a very moving expression of the Aussie community but can we extend it to asylum seekers? Why must these vulnerable people remain demonised? How do we trigger compassion for them?

George Winston 19 December 2014

What annoys me most about John Falzon's view is the sharp dichotomy he draws between the oppressors and the oppressed. It makes it appear that the capacity for greed and exploitation is monopolised by the wealthy. The various shades and grades of the marginalised are all assumed to be products of one grand immaculate conception. Is John Falzon seriously suggesting that workers themselves, especially certain unions, aren't, at times at least, grasping and self-seeking. The sweetheart deals that the Labor government stitched up with the unions on the useless desalination plant have to be paid back by other ordinary workers. There was not much solidarity here with fellow workers, the ones who would have to pay for this expensive white elephant. What about the ongoing thuggery and extortion of the CFMEU that drives up the cost of building, that is again passed on to other ordinary workers? The fact is that we are all Gods people and we are all sinners, called to repent and show concern for our neighbours.

John Ryan 19 December 2014

Robert Liddy - so there was no "rush of racial hatred" that anyone saw, but according to you "the ingredients were there". That is blind prejudice.

Oh please! 19 December 2014

John Yes, we have seen true compassion and warmth in response to this terror attack. And I applaud your organisation's commitment to the downtrodden and the fight for their rights. But please don’t argue this case unfairly against this country with such fuzzy logic. For example, where was this alleged “rush of racist hatred towards innocent people” after the attack? And where were these Muslims “in danger as they rode on the buses “? Nowhere I saw, or even heard reported. In fact Australia and our leaders have acted with great decency and compassion this week. Rather than having a “dominant ideology that continues to tell us that justice is impossible”, Australians – people, politicians, police, and even our laws and institutions - showed tremendous human compassion and kindness this week. This was no bottom-up revolution against an unjust dominant ideology, because there was no need for it. Our nation showed our Christian heritage at its best. Please don’t create a sense of division and conflict where it doesn’t exist. Where Christian behaviour is shown, let’s celebrate it as a gift of the Christ among us!

AussieMike 19 December 2014

I think we in the West are very very naive and are inadvertently sending a very strong message to any other person/s who attempts to support extreme views will CONTINUE to do so . We are feeding this behaviour AND encouraging others of similar ilk to follow in this extremists footsteps. What does scripture say "be wise as serpents " We don't have to condemn individuals but we most certainly need our politicians and leaders to condemn extremism and immediately pass laws that will prevent this from happening again.!

Lili 19 December 2014

SOLIDARITY !!!!! Jackie my sister. And to Dr Falzon I would like to wish you a merry christmas with these words from the Australian poet Barry Spurr ... Wishing you full enjoyment of the human right to happiness and the time and space to catch your breath in readiness for the beautiful struggle. Humanity will win against humiliation, for our solidarity is stronger than our sadness and even though our struggle is enormous, so too is our hope.

Lawrie B 19 December 2014

John speaks of the crushed of the world. Why would a woman kill seven of her children, why would a man hold hostage people to make some point political, personal or otherwise. Are these some of the crushed people we have living next door to us , in our neighborhood or in our country. My dad , bless him used to say. ," it is no good shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. " John Falzon tells us what is happening now. Thomas Merton tells us of other ways to view living in today's world. Margaret Wheatley reminds us of the state of play and inspires us to not despair. I listen to politicians applauding Australians and how they unite and provide solidarity in the wake of the Sydney siege. (Do they mean by dropping off clean , fragrant smelling flowers at Martin Place?) do these politicians speak the language of Pope Francis or the archbishop of Sydney who remind us of the dark side of man and the need to help our struggling crushed neighbours ? Do they urge us to improve our mental health system , show compassion and support to refugees, follow through with support to the unemployed , disenfranchised citizens. ? John Falzon speaks my language. He is on the pulse of what we need to do . He does not talk the talk of the elite, the empowered or the entitled ones. Have a happy Christmas John . Gain strength from your loved ones and for God's sake continue the fight for justice, compassion and peace for this country of Australia and it's worthy citizens.

Cela 19 December 2014

@Catherine. Do not make the perfect the enemy of the good. Any system involving humans will be imperfect. I was not implying that nothing more could be done to help the poor. However, if you aim to eradicate poverty, I fear that you are falling for the ‘heaven on earth’ fallacy. This opens the door to draconian means, all justified on the basis of the great crusade. I also think that you confuse capitalism with the free-market. The two are intertwined yet distinct. As I understand it, capitalism means that the owners of capital (the wealthy) dominate the means of production. This can lead to the sort of exploitation that you mention. However, in a free market the workers are free to take their labour to whoever offers them the best conditions. The owners who offer the best conditions will attract the best workers. Despite everything that Marx and Engels predicted, the conditions of workers in Europe improved during the Industrial Revolution. As the demand for labour grew, the workers were able to negotiate better conditions from the employers. Whilst there was still poverty, it was greatly diminished under the free market.

Marg 19 December 2014

Oh Please: "Robert Liddy - so there was no "rush of racial hatred" that anyone saw, but according to you "the ingredients were there". That is blind prejudice." ???? It took only a bit of a scuffle to spark the Cronulla riots. An armed Islamic hostage-taker would normally be sufficient create similar responses, but perhaps due to the sickening excesses of ISIS, both sides thankfully realised the danger of letting emotions get out of hand and found moderation and collaboration to be the way to go. Are you suggesting there was no instinctive irrational provocation in the situation to associate Muslims in general with the resentment felt towards the perpetrator of the crime? Or are you belittling the wonderful way the presentation of the event defused what could have escalated into something far more serious?

Name 19 December 2014

Marg, I agree a free market is the way, but how is it free today? There is undeniable exploitation of the poorest workers in third world countries and we in the first world continue reaping the benefits.Multi nationals continue to find the cheapest labour , often desperate people, who cannot chose where they work, and if they cannot get unskilled work,often child prostitution becomes the only work available.How can this be seen as a truly free market?.Entrenched poverty also leads to further exploitation,criminality and war. Australia can afford to create a balance. When will we realise everyone benefits with fair distribution of wealth.Gaols systems would be no longer a burgeoning industry/enterprise. People would be able to access housing, good food, health and education and live fulfilling lives.The market would naturally flourish.Instead, greed is king, and Fear is as popular a weapon today as in colonial times.The first world was built on exploitation, slavery and war. We pride ourselves on our achievements, but we will not see the damage we have done and continue to plunder and pillage.Only when our privilege and lifestyle is threatened do we feel it necessary to protect Universal human rights.# illridewithyou hopefully will make a dent.

Catherine 20 December 2014

Catherine, three points must inform a discussion of the free market and poverty 1. As a result of the spread of capitalism, the proportion of people across the globe living in grinding poverty (ie living on less than $1.50 a day) is going down rapidly. It took about twenty five years for the penultimate halving, and only about five years for the most recent - a rate unprecedented in history. (Brookings Institute study, 2010) All things going well, the world will be rid of grinding poverty by 2050. But all things probably won't go well. North Korea will still be North Korea and Cuba might well be Cuba. (And if Dr Falzon has his way, Australia might well be a basket case by then too.) So there will be pockets of grinding poverty ... in the most anti-market regimes. As is the case today. The flight from poverty has nothing to do with foreign aid or "redistribution". It has everything to do with allowing people to keep a hefty part of what they produce to do with what they will (including private charitable deeds). 2. Everyone does not benefit from a fair "distribution" of wealth, if that is achieved by screwing Peter to pay Paul. Peter, who created wealth out of his own labour, risk and ingenuity certainly does not benefit when it is taken from him. His reasonable reaction is not to go on producing it. This is exactly what happened in communist and socialist regimes time after time, which explains why they become economic basket cases, to the detriment of everyone except the pigs ("Animal Farm"). Redistribution is a false dawn. If the wealth of the top 10 percent of the world was redistributed to the bottom 10 percent, it would have a zilch and one-off effect. The world has not lifted itself out of grinding poverty for the vast bulk of mankind over the past 200 years by massive programs of coerced redistribution. 3. From point 1. we learn that everyone benefits from the distribution, not of Peter's wealth, but of of free trade and free enterprise. As I write, millions are lifting *themselves* out of poverty when they are not oppressed by taxes, government corruption, crony capitalism (so not authentic free market capitalism), crony socialism, red tape, so-called greenies barking that they forsake coal and uranium and deploy hopelessly inefficient energy technologies such as solar and wind, and so on.

HH 21 December 2014

An interesting modern day cameo of the redistribution of wealth was provided by Cardinal de Silva in Chili, influenced by the poverty of the masses in his country. Chili was caught up at the time in the hysteria of Marxist ideology and social justice, fanned by the fires of liberation theology, supported at the time by a band of well armed anti-papist Jesuits lead by the Jesuit Cardinale brothers, one of whom, Ernesto, John Falzon has previously identified to ES readers as a poet he admires. In the name of social justice Cardinal de Silva sold all of the Church treasures in Chili and redistributed the money proportionately to the poor. (told to me by a personal friend who was the cardinal's nephew). Like lottery winners the world over the poor embarked on a great party, well-lubricated with tequila. The money was gone in no time with the Church bereft of artefacts intended as fitting testimony to the praise of God the Creator. The poor returned, hung over, to poverty. Many of the armed liberation theologians in South America and their terrorist forces found their fate at the hands of government forces who countered their terrorism, the fate of other Marxist regimes whose modus operandi depended on terrorising the populace.

john frawley 22 December 2014

Dear John, I read every article you send out, you are an inspiration.. I have fond memories since Mercy Family Days.Blessings on you and Family. Chosen to do great work. Marlene

Marlene Fitzgibbons rsm 22 December 2014

Thank you John. Your words & this wonderful recent action and words- #Ill ride with you- has brought out the best in our humanity. Our Politicians and many continue to misunderstand and propagate fear or speak wrongly of people to achieve an end. Our Australian hearts are truly hardened as we continue to turn our backs on and exclude the marginalised or those fleeing harm & persecution . Many in our own lands also are wrongly demonised & dehumanised and reduced to statistics. Our policies harsh, humiliate & exclude and place under great emotional and financial undue stress-particularly single parent families, the poor, the mentally ill and our First Nations' . On the later very basic human rights are denied & their intricate connection to land and mother earth & kinship's responsibility and care attacked.So few seem to understand or care. "Where is the love for the other" . Yet your words and actions , tho of Christ and Francis and many others do provide us insights and glimpses of hope. In solidarity for those who continue to be marginalised, discriminated against, dispossessed and excluded. Peace

Georgina 24 December 2014

John Frawley - there's a very major factor you overlooked in your analysis of Chile. The so-called "Marxist hysteria" you refer to was actually the result of open and democractic elections. Yes, Allende was a Marxist - but he had a mandate from the Chilean people - and he was committed to democracy. But just as our Liberals forced a constitutional stalemate to oust Whitlam - the Chilean right wing launched a bloody military coup de etat which last for 11 years as a miltary dictatorship of Pinochet. And in a country where the divide between left and right is so stark - extreme counter measures are needed to make a point - such as the i think the selling off of church treasures by the leftist Cardinal you mentioned. Pinochet was also a staunch Catholic and on every anniversary of the coup de etat (also Sept 11), a Mass was offered the new right wing Cardinal with Pinochet accompany the celebrants on the cathedral sanctuary. What's more absurd?

AURELIUS 02 January 2015

Our world needs way more than #hashtags. It needs strong, competent leadership and a commitment to not spend our way to destruction. The use of # is nice - but solves nothing - not religious difference, not racism...nothing. Time people sought solid resolution to real problems.

Jackie 30 January 2015

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