Vol 26 No 2

31 January 2016


 

  • INTERNATIONAL

    A train traveller's view of life on both sides of the track

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 11 February 2016
    3 Comments

    My little sisters and I stand at the window and stare out at the passing world. The youngest is not yet two, and though she will grow to be six feet tall one day, for now she must stand on tiptoes to take it all in. We see children running beside the train, laughing and waving. My mother throws them the sandwiches left over from yesterday's lunch. Railway lines take the path of least resistance and the routes of most gain, and so they bring us right up close to the people who live alongside them.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    #LetThemStay reveals the political capital of compassion

    • Somayra Ismailjee
    • 11 February 2016
    8 Comments

    Since the first churches offered sanctuary to the refugees facing deportation to Nauru, a steady stream of voices have joined the call for compassion. As a political language, compassion is itself a reclamation of power. Extending safety, resources, or even a mere welcome to people in need proves that we have something to give. Strength is embodied by a capacity to aid and assist, rather than in cruelty. Empathy, care and compassion appeal to us on a level of emotion that runs deeper than mere rhetoric.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Puppets' portrait of privilege and pathos

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 10 February 2016

    As screenwriter for comic such oddities as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, Kaufman delineated a particular type of over-educated, middle-class, white male character. His protagonists are artists whose alienation and self-loathing is at odds with their social privilege, and whose creative drive entails a winnowing for authenticity or immortality that leads them inexorably down the rabbit hole of their own navels: the search for meaning as the ultimate act of self-absorption.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Gospel brutality reborn in our harrowing of refugee children

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 10 February 2016
    15 Comments

    The High Court decision on detention in Nauru came down just before the Christian season of Lent. It left the government free and determined to deport many young mothers and children to Nauru. For the mothers and children deportation will bring new trauma with renewed threat to their already precarious mental health. For the Australian public it again makes us ask what brutality, even to children, we are ready to tolerate. The savagery of this treatment is a suitable subject for Lenten reflection.

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  • CARTOON

    Child abuse double vision

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 09 February 2016
    5 Comments

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

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Notes (in Latin) on a football scandal

    • Brian Matthews
    • 09 February 2016
    2 Comments

    Eslingadene/Isendene/Essendon was its quiet and bucolic self when Richard Green, one of its respectable citizens, farewelled it in the 1850s, migrated to Australia, settled near Melbourne and, honouring his home village, called the area Essendon. Like its northern hemisphere namesake, Essendon does not appear in the Domesday Book, but Macbeth-like vaulting ambition, disjoined from care and humanity, has enrolled it in a modern Doomsday register and stained its name ineradicably.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Nuclear waste danger knows no state borders

    • Michele Madigan
    • 09 February 2016
    8 Comments

    The South Australia Royal Commission into the nuclear fuel cycle will give its interim report at the Adelaide Town Hall next Monday. It is likely the Commission will recommend that the South Australian Premier's plan to import international high-level radioactive waste proceed, despite obvious risks and clear dangers. It would be a mistake for anyone living outside of South Australia to think that this is just a South Australian problem. Transport and containment risks are hugely significant.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Hope lies beyond latest climate shock therapy

    • Lyn Bender
    • 08 February 2016
    11 Comments

    News about climate change can be depressing. But it was downright shocking to learn that budget cuts to CSIRO have led to the decimation of the agency's climate science. Australia is one of the worst global emitters, yet Australian citizens have outsourced responsibility for climate protection, as they have for refugees. The ease of bipartisan agreement on such crucial dilemmas confirms the point. A dormant electorate creates a negligent, sleeping, self-satisfied and corrupt government.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Fleeing Syria's pious knights

    • Geoff Page
    • 08 February 2016
    2 Comments

    There were some cheers in Munich station but not all Eden proves to be so free with food and toys. There's something deeper in the blood. They have that sense of deja vu: horsemen, pikes and princes ... The pious knights of 1640, those fine sectarians, who charged for thirty years across the northern sweeps of Europe, are born again in Syria with new nomenclatures; so once again the hapless foresee it's time to move.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Offers of sanctuary brighten Australia's refugee dark age

    • Justin Glyn
    • 07 February 2016
    16 Comments

    Churches across Australia have made headlines by offering sanctuary to those who stand to be returned to Nauru following the High Court ruling, including 37 babies and a raped five-year-old whose attacker still resides there. In doing so, they have been rediscovering an old concept and reminding the government what refugee law was for in the first place. As in the Dark Ages, where the organs of the state are unable or unwilling to protect the vulnerable, it is the churches who are speaking out.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Electing a president in an age of superheroes

    • Jim McDermott
    • 07 February 2016
    5 Comments

    Many Americans want a President who speaks to their deepest dreams and ideals. A champion. Trump's vision of reality is the polar opposite of Obama's, a hellscape where foreigners, the unemployed (and women) are eroding society. But, like Obama, he has positioned himself as a champion of those filled with frustration, insisting it doesn't have to be this way. Bernie Sanders is in many ways the Trump of the left, a political outsider who says what progressive Americans have long been thinking.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The Bernie Sanders Factor in US and Australian elections

    • Fatima Measham
    • 04 February 2016
    9 Comments

    The Bernie Sanders phenomenon in the US, like Corbyn in the UK and Podemos in Spain, demonstrates the rhetorical potency of renewal; of politics not as usual. It is the sort of thing that resonates with disaffected young people. While it is not entirely sensible to extrapolate developments in the US to Australia, it is worth speculating on the impact of our own changing demographics. Are the major parties equipped to take advantage of these shifts? Are they appealing to a new Australia that is already here?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    No retrospective fix for traumatised refugees

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 04 February 2016
    6 Comments

    The practice of governments using the Parliament to change the law in order to win court cases is unfair, as only one party to a court case has the power to do this. The M68 case decided on Wednesday, which challenged the detention and transfer to Nauru of asylum seekers, was effectively won by the government because they changed the law retrospectively to make sure they would win. No retrospective fix will be possible for people who fled persecution only to face a punitive and hostile policy.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The problem of privilege in transgender stories

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 03 February 2016
    11 Comments

    As a white, middle-class, straight, cisgendered man, I am conscious of the extent to which the chips of social privilege have been stacked in my favour. As such there are some public conversations that I am patently unqualified to enter. One of these is the sometimes fierce debate that exists between some feminists and some members or supporters of the transgender community. One of the pitfalls of telling a story about marginalisation from a perspective of privilege is that you can overlook ethical nuances.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    High Court not the answer to Nauru depravity

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 February 2016
    24 Comments

    Following Wednesday's High Court decision, the moral depravity of Australian funded offshore detention of asylum seekers, including children, is to continue. There is no joy to be found in our High Court applying a Constitution even more bereft of human rights protections than that of Nauru. It's time for our politicians to address the political and moral question: what purpose is actually served by sending this mum and her baby back to Nauru, when the boats have already stopped and will stay stop?

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  • CARTOON

    GST justice

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 02 February 2016
    1 Comment

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

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  • AUSTRALIA

    There's no cheap path to harmony

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 02 February 2016
    10 Comments

    Of the United Nations Days and Weeks, World Interfaith Harmony Week is one of the most recent and perhaps the most modestly celebrated. It may also be the most needed. But the conversation cannot be confined to the churches and to those with religious faith. Its claim needs to extend beyond religious faiths to secular views of the world. The obstacle to such conversation is the religious settlement in Australia and Western nations, which can be described as negative tolerance.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What is a brown body worth?

    • Somayra Ismailjee
    • 02 February 2016
    6 Comments

    A perception of Muslims as 'savage' and antithetical to peace accounts for incidents where overtly racist people can rejoice easily at the loss of human life, to little negative reaction. When a person is deemed unworthy or bereft of humanity, their death becomes gruesomely welcome. While Islamophobia itself does not define racism, Muslim people exemplify ideas of a cardinal threat against the Anglocentric West, which laterally affects how brown non-Muslim minority groups are treated.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Republican Turnbull must lead, not wait

    • John Warhurst
    • 01 February 2016
    22 Comments

    It is understandable that Turnbull sees no benefit in a second heroic failure caused by moving too soon. But political leaders who wait for overwhelming popular support are self-serving, because top-down support is needed for success. While January brought unprecedented approval from political leaders and the support of the Australian of the Year, the Australian Republican Movement must continue to be energetic and ambitious, and meet Turnbull's challenge to become still larger and more popular.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My Baghdad dreams

    • John Falzon
    • 01 February 2016
    1 Comment

    I bite on life. The bitterness will daunt but not defeat me. And I hear you. I can never give you voice. My dreams take speed. My Baghdad dreams take speed. My rest my head against the pillow of the west ... Exclamation bombs my Baghdad ... You don't have long to live sweet parliament.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Kidnapped woman's post-traumatic love

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 31 January 2016

    For seven years, Joy has been held prisoner in the garden shed of a suburban maniac. During this time she has raised a son, Jack, who is now five, employing elaborate and imaginative methods to nurture and educate him, while protecting him from the reality of their existence. Room is remarkable for its capacity to transmit the bleakness of Joy's situation via the wonder-full gaze of Jack, for whom this makeshift prison is the entire world, bursting with possibilities for recreation, rest and learning.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Downsizing numbers can't silence Indigenous protests

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 31 January 2016
    27 Comments

    On the day of the Invasion Day rally in Melbourne, I was abused for wearing a pro-Aboriginal rights t-shirt. I wasn't shocked. Indeed, I even expected it. It is not the first time I have been abused as an Indigenous activist on Australia Day. What did shock me were the media reports on the rally. When I read that the densely packed, energetic, noisy crowd consisted of only 150 people, I was surprised, to say the least. I and other seasoned protesters estimated the crowd at around 3-5000.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australian of the Year's strong case for empathy

    • Justin Glyn
    • 31 January 2016
    9 Comments

    Australia woke on 26 January to the news that David Morrison had been named Australian of the Year. One of the most striking features he displays is empathy. It is a quality in vanishingly short supply in public discourse, yet is fundamental. Unless we can put the individual on a broader canvass, our world view is incomplete. I am important, but unless you are recognised as being just as important as I, then you are just a plaything for me. My rights are bounded by your rights, your value as a person.

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