Search Results: refugees

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Francis in Lesbos confronts the unforgivable sin

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 18 April 2016
    10 Comments

    Pope Francis recently visited the island of Lesbos, another scene of immigrants' dire suffering, and surprised the world by taking 12 refugees back to Rome with him. Bernie Sanders asserted that the Pope, in his gesture of hope, is surely the greatest demonstration against a surrender to despair. I am still partly persuaded by Graham Greene's view of despair as being the unforgivable sin, but I'm also giving some thought to the distressing matter of indifference.

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  • RELIGION

    Life beyond Pope Francis

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 10 April 2016
    19 Comments

    As Francis begins his fourth year in office, questions are raised as to whether the changes he has brought to the church will last beyond his time in office. Some argue that because he has made no significant changes in governance, his changes will not survive him. His successors and the Curia will be free to restore former expressions of church life. This argument highlights the need to embody vision in institutional structures. But good structures alone do not ensure the continuation of vision.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't fall for Humpty Dumpty politics

    • Justin Glyn
    • 10 April 2016
    10 Comments

    We got a lesson in the art of language from the Minister of Immigration, Peter Dutton, whose redefinition of the word 'detention' was reminiscent of Humpty Dumpty's remark in Alice Through the Looking Glass: 'When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.' We are social creatures who make real decisions based on the representations of others. Once we know we cannot expect the truth from each other, especially those who govern, society can no longer function.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The value of protest lies in ritual not results

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 30 March 2016
    5 Comments

    The Palm Sunday Refugee Marches have come and gone; the travails of people who seek asylum continue. In a recent article that reflects her rich experience, Moira Rayner was right to say that marches are not effective in changing policy. Where they are, as in the Vietnam War marches in Australia or in Manila under Marcos, the fortress was already crumbling. Yet even when they are not effective, marches are not a waste of energy. Their value lies not in their effectiveness but in their ritual.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    History of disability discrimination is present in Australia

    • Justin Glyn
    • 28 March 2016
    9 Comments

    People with disabilities have lived on society's margins since biblical times. In 1939, extending eugenics and sterilisation campaigns developed in the US in the early 20th century, Hitler authorised the vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens ('the destruction of lives unworthy of life'). Unfortunately, not only has discrimination not been eradicated but those of us with disabilities, much like indigenous people, the poor, refugees and others with limited voice in society, continue to be seen as soft touches.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious thought in sacred secular Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 March 2016
    6 Comments

    I offer no public judgment of Pell, and unlike many other commentators I'll await the findings of the royal commission. I have however been outspoken about his right to a fair hearing and natural justice, not because I am a priest but because I am a human rights lawyer who cares about the universal application of the rule of law. It is when a representative of institutional religion like Pell taps into the generic religious sensibility or moral consciousness that the real work of Australian religious thought is done.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Change is possible when democracy runs deep

    • Moira Rayner
    • 21 March 2016
    18 Comments

    When I received my invitation to 'lead' the Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees my first response was to ignore it. This was partly ego and partly disillusionment. It's true that in Melbourne at least 6000 people walked or struggled or strode along Spencer Street. But I no longer believe marches for huge national issues have any effect on local powerbrokers. I believe as Saul Alinsky said that the most powerful force for change is local activism on local issues and generational organisation from the grass roots up.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A new year, a new Bill?

    • Osmond Chiu
    • 17 March 2016
    9 Comments

    While Turnbull may be ahead as preferred prime minister, the Coalition has yet to demonstrate the principle of fairness that is deeply held and widely felt across the electorate. Labor's narrative needs to be not only that it is the party best equipped to deal with the challenges we face, but is the only party that can ensure any changes will be just and equitable. A plan for the future that is both convincing and seen as fair may end up being the difference between being in government and opposition.

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  • RELIGION

    Year of Mercy's opportunity for Aboriginal reconciliation

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 March 2016

    'On his last two visits to Latin America, Pope Francis has focused on past and present relationships between indigenous peoples and their colonisers. This Jubilee Year of Mercy perhaps it could be a blessed moment for Aboriginal Australians and descendants of their colonisers to walk together through the Door of Mercy at the St Francis Xavier Cathedral, calling to mind the sins and endeavours of the past, the achievements and commitments of the present, and the hopes and aspirations of the future.' Fr Frank Brennan SJ, Lenten Talk, Norwood Parish, 3 March 2016

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Good and bad news about the Syria ceasefire

    • Justin Glyn
    • 24 February 2016
    4 Comments

    There is cause for both optimism and scepticism in the news that the US and Russia have agreed a ceasefire in Syria. On the face of it, one of the world's bloodiest civil wars is about to come to an end; an end to be guaranteed by the two biggest, best armed militaries on the planet. This should be excellent news for everybody, not least the long suffering civilian population of one of the most bombed countries on earth. So what could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Baby Asha and the pyramid of suffering

    • Kate Galloway
    • 23 February 2016
    4 Comments

    It is right and good that the outpouring of community and professional goodwill has at least delayed the return of baby Asha to what are reported to be the terrible conditions of the detention centre on Nauru. But Australia's asylum seeker laws involve unresolved systemic issues that such wins cannot by themselves resolve. Widespread community focus on individual cases such as that of baby Asha may in fact prevent action on the deeper issues from gaining traction.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Self-care as political warfare

    • Somayra Ismailjee
    • 23 February 2016
    4 Comments

    Feminist writer Audre Lorde wrote that 'Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.' In medical professions, the term 'self-care' originated in reference to the self-management of illness. Self-care, however, also exists in the context of social justice, extending beyond physical wellness to cater for a holistic approach that includes emotional, mental and spiritual fulfilment. The need for this is rooted in the burden of oppression.

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