Vol 27 No 10

21 May 2017


CREATIVE

Pay fierce attention to the holy of everything

28 May 2017 | Brian Doyle

Baby examining leaves and grassWe talk about how there are all sorts of illuminated beings in every sort of context, and how some beings serve their fellows by being great listeners, and others have healing hands, and others are good at getting everyone to come to a disgruntled agreement, and how some are lucky to discover that their skill, their gift, the thing they love to do and do really well, is to pay fierce attention to the holy of everything, to notice the flourish and song of holy and the awful of bruised and broken holy, and report on this to their brothers and sisters, which is, of course, everyone.


RELIGION

Muslim feminists have their work cut out for them

28 May 2017 | Rachel Woodlock

t-shirt This is what a Muslim feminist looks likeI used to have a t-shirt that read 'this is what a radical Muslim feminist looks like' and I got my fair share of raised eyebrows and challenging questions. The most obvious group that thinks Muslim feminism is oxymoronic are those who we've started to call the 'alt-right'. This group salivates over images of burqa-clad Muslim women scuttling in fear from their bearded oppressors. It is not that they want to free Muslim women so much as it is they don't want the Brown Man ruling.


AUSTRALIA

Ramadan: the fast and the flatulent

2 Comments
28 May 2017 | Irfan Yusuf

Ramadan prayerYou need not believe everything you read in the Herald Sun or an ISIS press release. Islam isn't just about armed jihad and violence against infant genitalia. Islam does have a spiritual side, and Ramadan is inherently spiritual, full of prayer and fasting and hardly any horizontal bedtime action. The theory behind all this deprivation is that if you're hungry and thirsty and sex-deprived between sunrise and sunset for an entire month, you'll gain a spiritual high that should last you the rest of the year.


CREATIVE

Finding my grandfather

28 May 2017 | Wally Swist

DNA strandThere is the photograph of my father's father in military uniform, an Austrian, serving in the Polish cavalry in WWI, standing ramrod straight. It is he whom I think of when I find myself dowsing my genome for answers regarding my origin, the deep pull that draws me to the late symphonies of Mozart, Rilke's angelic mysticism, and, as a child, to Krapfen and Apfelstrudel ... That grandfather died shortly after returning to his farm from the results of having been a victim of a mustard gas attack in the war.


AUSTRALIA

Building social justice through shareholder advocacy

3 Comments
25 May 2017 | Ann Deslandes

Concerned citizens build a 'voting bloc' out of the shares of wealthy companies. Cartoon by Chris JohnstonWealth inequality in Australia is flourishing. The top one per cent of household wealth in Australia is moving toward being 20 per cent of total wealth, and the country is a preferred destination for millionaires. With a government that prefers to impoverish and vilify the disadvantaged and spend big on coal mines, this does not look likely to shift. But there are always other paths to social justice, and in Australia one may be through the millionaires - or at least the companies on which their fortunes are built.


ENVIRONMENT

Getting off gas not so easy for renters

2 Comments
25 May 2017 | Greg Foyster

Gas burnerStandard electric heaters turn roughly one unit of electricity into one unit of heat. A reverse cycle air conditioner, however, uses electricity to 'pump' heat from one place to another and is incredibly efficient. Using electricity from the grid creates more pollution than burning gas, but the electric reverse cycle air conditioner is so efficient it's still less damaging overall. That's great news for households with air con, but galling for anyone who can't afford one, or isn't allowed to install it.


AUSTRALIA

Philippines coming full, sordid circle

3 Comments
24 May 2017 | Fatima Measham

DuterteNone of what continues to unravel in the Philippines is a shock. In August last year, barely more than a month from inauguration, Duterte mentioned the prospect of martial law in relation to his drug war. Duterte is the sixth president since the 1986 People Power revolution that overthrew Marcos. He is a close associate of the dictator's children. Martial law was long in play before the incidents in Marawi this week, and is in character for an ex-mayor with alleged links to 'death squads'.


Preserving and pillaging privacy

6 Comments
24 May 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Padlock computer keyIn each of us is a personal centre able to reflect, to wonder, to explore the world and to evaluate it, to long and to love, to make decisions, and to engage freely with other human beings. Privacy is the gate that allows us to leave and others to enter the garden of our deepest selves. If it is torn off its hinges we shall live on a shallow level, preoccupied with defending ourselves. That is why the invasion of our privacy by governments and corporations in order to control our lives is unjustifiable.


Don't turn away from dire child abuse stats

4 Comments
24 May 2017 | Barry Gittins

Child on wet footpathAustralian kids are being bashed, raped, starved, scorned and otherwise treated with no dignity or kindness. The study states it is not simply a case of one-off abuse, noting that 'research has demonstrated that maltreatment sub-types seldom occur in isolation (e.g. sexual abuse is often accompanied by psychological maltreatment or physical abuse)'. That is difficult reading. It makes me sick to write it. But the paper should, in a just society, serve as a catalyst for a national conversation.


EDUCATION

Gonski in an age of budget repair

15 Comments
23 May 2017 | Frank Brennan

Study notesThe level of consultation prior to the announced changes was appalling. But that is water under the bridge. It's time to enunciate some clear principles, and for respectful consultations to take place investigating how those principles can be best applied. This must be done within the realistic political environment in which we find ourselves. At the same time the Catholic system should ensure its schools are more available to the poor, enacting Pope Francis's desire for 'a Church which is poor and for the poor'.


REVIEWS

Strong women heroes of grim abduction parables

1 Comment
23 May 2017 | Tim Kroenert

If two current Australian films are anything to go by, then one social issue weighing on local filmmakers in 2017 is the danger to women of emotionally and physically violent men. Neither film is a mere portrait of victimhood. The heroes of Cate Shortland's recent Berlin Syndrome and Ben Young's upcoming Hounds of Love - in the former, an Australian traveller in Europe, in the latter, a teenage school girl in suburban Perth - are ordinary women with both the will and capacity to fight back against their assailants.


CARTOON

Elementary

22 May 2017 | Fiona Katauskas

Sherlock Holmes tries to discover which isn't fake: the refugee application form, the news according to Peter Dutton, or the ALP moral compass. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

This week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


RELIGION

Catholic citizens needed within the Church

40 Comments
22 May 2017 | John Warhurst

Kristina Keneally, Marilyn Hatton and Francis Sullivan presented at the public forum for Concerned Catholics of Canberra-Goulburn, and are pictured here with John Warhurst (far left).Catholics have a proud record of exercising their democratic rights within Australian democracy as voters, members of political parties and lobby groups, and as elected representatives. But within their own church they have been taught to leave their democratic rights at the door. Now is the time to challenge that norm in parishes, dioceses and the wider church. In responding to the royal commission the church needs an infusion of democratic values, including transparency and accountability.


AUSTRALIA

Still fighting for our rights 50 years after the referendum

5 Comments
21 May 2017 | Dani Larkin

Protestors march for Aboriginal citizenship rightsAn interesting aspect was the shift in the mindset and understanding among non-indigenous Australians regarding Aboriginal rights. To note the way in which one dominating western culture moved toward recognising the rights of another culture that was oppressed by it is quite remarkable. We should consider those aspects of the mentality shift (from both cultures and their understanding of what the 1967 referendum meant) if we are ever to revisit that type of federal movement again.


CREATIVE

If you vote for me

3 Comments
21 May 2017 | Bill Rush, Marlene Marburg, Maureen O'Brien, John Cranmer

CloudsCars will be turned into flutes; sheep graze in public parks. Trams will be lined with books; prisons, wisteria-walled. Politicians will sing in choirs; accountants taught to tango. The old will have honour and cake and a licence for practical jokes. The middle-aged will lie on grass and watch the procession of clouds. The young will be loved and learn that to live is to be slowly born.


INTERNATIONAL

Assange detention is far from over

7 Comments
21 May 2017 | Binoy Kampmark

Julian AssangeThe European Union, according to Assange, has been captivated by an unhealthy interest in indefinite detention: 'There is no time limit that someone can be detained without charge. That is not how we expect a civilised state to behave.' Prematurely, tabloid press and outlets were wondering if the latest developments meant the end of the drama. A statement from the Metropolitan Police dispelled any doubts about Assange's plight, should he wish to leave his narrow digs in Knightsbridge.


Mexican journalists say no to silence and yes to death

1 Comment
21 May 2017 | Ann Deslandes

Vigil for Javier ValdezLast Tuesday night in Mexico City I headed to a bar with some press colleagues. It was late and the bar was lit with candles for mood lighting. As we sat down to order drinks my friend Joan took the candle in front of her and said, 'I'll hold onto this for the next journalist to be murdered.' We had been at a vigil to mourn the murder of journalist Javier Valdez and to protest the ever-escalating number of journalist murders in the country in a legal and political climate of almost total impunity.


RELIGION

The work of disobedience

14 Comments
18 May 2017 | Susan Leong

Cartoon by Chris Johnston shows modern works going against the grain of drone-like traditional workers.As adults we deal with KPIs every day at work, targets defined apparently for one's benefit so we all know what needs to be achieved if our jobs are to be secured. Sadly, they also determine what, how and where we focus our efforts as these targets are internalised over time. If there is to be a future for work, it is to be found in such disobedience, a rejection of the primacy of paid labour for work as 'pleasure in the exercise of our energies'.


CREATIVE

The power of poetry in the age of Twitter

12 Comments
18 May 2017 | Gillian Bouras

Dover BeachDoes poetry still matter in our Twitter society? Such was the question that caught my eye during a random Google session. The answers consisted of some lugubrious comments to the effect that poetry, like the novel, is dying. It is hard to believe that poets were once considered celebrities, and that poetry was once a pre-eminent form of entertainment. We also generally refrain from mentioning poetry and politics in the same breath. 'Twas not always thus.