Vol 18 No 4

18 February 2008

'Dawn of a New Nation', by Chris Johnston


AUSTRALIA

A great leap year for reconciliation

2 Comments
29 February 2008 | Gillian Bouras Leap YearAccording to the Ethiopian ecclesiastical calendar, a leap year belongs to St Luke. Having made its national apology to the Stolen Generations, for Australia this leap year has more in common with China's Great Leap Forward.


REVIEWS

Young men damaged by a war they don't understand

1 Comment
28 February 2008 | Rochelle Siemienowicz In the Valley of ElahHank Deerfield's son goes missing soon after he returns from Iraq. When he decides to investigate, he finds an army bureaucracy that shuts him down at every point, and similarly unhelpful young soldiers.


RELIGION

Feeling good about feeling guilty

4 Comments
28 February 2008 | Andrew Hamilton Feeling GuiltyAlthough feeling guilty is commonly associated only with worthlessness, it comprises a variety of feelings. Some are appropriate and helpful after we have acted wrongly, and may lead us to remedy in some measure what we have done.


AUSTRALIA

After apology, it's back to the future

17 Comments
27 February 2008 | Brian McCoy Boys' Dormitory 1973The missionaries thought the removal of children 'for education' was both the good and only thing to do. Modern attitudes reflect old ones, especially when people enter Aboriginal communities with a set of ready-made answers around employment, health and education.


CREATIVE

Recollections of a reluctant kids sports coach

4 Comments
27 February 2008 | Brian Doyle Kids BasketballAt the end of his last season as coach of his sons' basketball team, Brian Doyle found himself savouring the job that he didn't want three years ago. While occasionally there is a flash of creativity and grace among his players, it's the egregious mistakes he will miss the most.


ENVIRONMENT

Garnaut shows climate change bigger than politics

10 Comments
26 February 2008 | Charles Rue The Garnaut ReportThe Garnaut Report underplays Australia's position as a wealthy country that can act now to safeguard its future. This month's bipartisan apology to the Stolen Generations has laid the ground for a multi-party agreement on the climate crisis.


CREATIVE

Attentive to rumours of healing

26 February 2008 | Lorraine McGuigan she lies becalmed Her skin bears witness to his absence ... The rooms, ambivalent about space, contract/expand at will. Day by day she is shrinking.


AUSTRALIA

Beyond the picket fence

2 Comments
25 February 2008 | Clare Coburn Picket Fence During the Howard years, a culture of fear saw us closeted within our houses, reluctant to engage with the community. Prime Minister Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generations may have collapsed a few symbolic fences so that messages can begin to pass back and forth.


Mutating conflict in Kenya

25 February 2008 | Michael Mullins Kenya FlagThis month Australia's nationhood has been bolstered by Federal Parliament's apology to the Stolen Generations. Kenya is moving in the opposite direction, with a local Jesuit analyst suggesting we could soon be speaking of 'a country that was once Kenya'.


Reinado a product of Timorese trauma

4 Comments
22 February 2008 | Sara Niner Alfredo ReinadoPost-traumatic stress syndrome affects one third of the population of East Timor. Some survive as empathetic, generous and forgiving people. Others, such as late rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, do not.


REVIEWS

World War II refugee's light touch

1 Comment
22 February 2008 | Brenda Niall Cover: Illustrations from Australian wildflowers: an alphabetIrina Sibley experienced hunger, displacement and bewilderment as a child in war-torn Lithuania. But the first two sentences of her memoir are optimistic: 'A girl-child is born,' she announces. 'It is me.'


RELIGION

Fidel's unfinished business with the Church

3 Comments
21 February 2008 | Chris McGillion Pope John Paul II & Fidel CastroCuba’s post-Castro leadership will need to come to terms with the fact that the revolution cannot answer all of life’s questions and that religion in general — and the Catholic Church in particular — has a legitimate role in supplying its answers without interference from the State.


CREATIVE

Australia's rank river embodies land-use dilemma

7 Comments
20 February 2008 | Margaret Simons Blue-Green Algae in Murray RiverThe onset of blue-green algae caused the Murray's smell to change from rank to fetid. Halting the damage to the Murray-Darling basin is essential to our financial survival, yet it may be that it is impossible to stop the damage without also causing critical economic damage. — Eureka Street, March 1993


INTERNATIONAL

History of prejudice ignites modern Indonesian conflict

2 Comments
20 February 2008 | Caz Coleman MalukuConflict began just over seven years ago in the Maluku Islands, Indonesia. While long-term peace strategies must involve a range of government and non-government players, the role of civil society in overcoming prejudice cannot be ignored.


AUSTRALIA

Refugee refusual echoes 'Tampa election' rhetoric

10 Comments
19 February 2008 | Kerry Murphy TampaSenator Chris Evans refused a protection visa to convicted people smuggler 'Mr A', even though he was assessed by Immigration as a refugee. Senator Evans had an opportunity to improve upon the previous government's treatment of asylum seekers, but instead reverted to the same hostile rhetoric.


Pulling back from the nuclear precipice

3 Comments
18 February 2008 | John Langmore Doomsday ClockMost Australians no longer think about the nuclear threat. Yet the editors of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said in January 2007 that the minute hand of the 'Doomsday Clock' had moved from seven to five minutes to midnight. Australia has a vital role in the global survival strategy.


Essential ingredient for nation building

18 February 2008 | Various Rudd & GusmaoThe outbreak of violence in East Timor April 2006 showed that the UN had not reached first base in its efforts to lay the foundation for a small but robust nation. Now the Rudd Government has provided a template that may be of significant use to those involved with nation building in East Timor.


REVIEWS

The material stretched by the spiritual

1 Comment
Peter Steele The Spirit of Secular Art The Spirit of Secular Art, for all its attention to the work of human hands devoted to festivity, often has an eye on human affairs at large. It can function as a challenge to many of the central themes of contemporary political life in Australia.


In the eye of the protagonist

Tim Kroenert The Diving Bell and the ButterflyThe common metaphor to describe feeling empathy is to 'put yourself in someone else's shoes'. In the biopic The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, director Julian Schnabel goes further and places his audience inside his protagonist's eye.


CREATIVE

Pulped promises and draining tidal waters

2 Comments
Gillian Telford witch-talk, ooze and suckthe wood-chip mills with gaping jaws strip chew and spit out forests ... protestors gather in city parks to march with banners — promises are processed — pulped