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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Athenian taxi driver's keys to happiness

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 07 October 2016
    6 Comments

    The man's grandparents were from Ithaca, the storied isle, but he himself had always lived in Athens. I learned he had not been driving a cab for very long, but had taken to it when his business failed because of the continuing financial crisis. A familiar tale in the Greece of today, alas. But he acknowledged he was lucky to have a job at all, and went on to say that he had no complaints, because he had realised his ambition. I asked what this was. He replied: 'I have educated my children.'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being clear eyed and misty eyed about human rights and asylum seekers

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 October 2016
    8 Comments

    Australia's policy is unique and unrepeatable by other nations because it requires that you be an island nation continent without asylum seekers in direct flight from the countries next door and that you have access to a couple of other neighbouring island nations which are so indigent that they will receive cash payments in exchange for warehousing asylum seekers and proven refugees, perhaps indefinitely. The policy over which Turnbull presides is not world best practice. It's a disgrace.

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  • MEDIA

    Unmasking Elena Ferrante diminishes her radiant magic

    • Ellena Savage
    • 06 October 2016
    1 Comment

    Happily, I do not know who the 'real' Elena Ferrante is. Happily, I have blocked my eyes and ears to the unfolding, the unmasking of the Italian author whose anonymity allowed her the freedom from scrutiny to give us seven novels that document the slow burn indignities of poverty and sexism and ambition. How can we accept this gift, a woman writing about the most abject of female pleasures, the darkest impulses, and then demand that she answer inane questions at a writers' festivals?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Refugees returning home

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 26 September 2016
    5 Comments

    Across the black hole of my solitude, the self-indulgent pit where I lick self-inflicted wounds, lightly step returning refugees. They know why they trek through forest, crossing rivers, day by day, on bruised and lacerated feet, in rain, on clay, on sharp-edged stones. For them there is no other way, and they are going home ... They have no doubt where they belong, the dying and the newly-born, no time to squander on regrets: they are going home ...

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  • MEDIA

    History will pardon Snowden even if Obama won't

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 22 September 2016
    9 Comments

    The relationship between the whistleblower and journalism has not always been a neat one. The tendency for symbiosis to become positively vengeful is evidenced in the Washington Post stance on Edward Snowden's whistleblowing activities. Having scooped up a Pulitzer working on the Snowden findings, the paper got nasty. There was little need for the paper to wade into these waters, but the editors obviously felt so strongly about Snowden it went for the jugular with seething conviction.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Refugee children process trauma through drama

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 21 September 2016
    1 Comment

    At a Sydney school, a group of teenage refugees come together to share their stories, first with each other, and then with their friends and families via a live theatrical performance. Treehouse Theatre is run by three dedicated teachers, who facilitate the sharing, and help transform the children's stories into scripts that can be performed. Their stories are yet another reminder of the human cost of conflict, and of policies that exclude and further traumatise those who are fleeing from it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Battling the Pauline Hanson battler myth

    • Osmond Chiu
    • 16 September 2016
    12 Comments

    It is ironic that Hanson thrives on the perception that she is an authentic outsider against 'the system' when in fact she is part of that system. Think about how she is constantly given paid platforms by television networks. She hasn't been silenced by 'the system', her voice is heard and has been amplified. She is also no amateur, she is a professional and knows exactly what she is doing. She is not some 'battler' being picked on, and that needs to be emphasised.

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  • RELIGION

    Rise of the celebrity pope

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 08 September 2016
    7 Comments

    Popes are politically significant because they lead a large international church that is present in many nations. The teaching, interests and opinions of popes affect the way bishops and priests act, and so influence Catholic attitudes. More recently, popes have also become celebrities. Their influence on public opinion, in wider society and in the Church, is increasingly personal. As a result the way individual popes understand and express their faith will shape the possibilities for their political influence.

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  • RELIGION

    Plebiscite the only way forward for Turnbull on marriage equality

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 September 2016
    23 Comments

    Once Turnbull went to the election with a commitment not to legislate for same sex marriage except after the conduct of a successful plebiscite, it was inevitable that the only way forward to resolving the issue during the life of this parliament would be by enacting legislation to authorise a plebiscite. A conscience vote during the life of this parliament, and without a plebiscite, would leave the opponents of same sex marriage rightly feeling that the government had breached an election commitment.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The Catholic Church's view on human rights

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 September 2016
    1 Comment

    'I am a Jesuit amongst Dominicans contemplating the Church's view of human rights. I am a human rights practitioner rather than a theologian, aware that human rights discourse is increasingly more universal and secular. Contemplating, preaching and enacting human rights in the 21st Century Church and World, I come asking two questions.' Frank Brennan's keynote presentation in Salamanca Spain to the International Congress of Dominicans in the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights: Past, Present, Future on the occasion of their 800th anniversary.

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  • RELIGION

    Rogue bishop's rebellious example lives on

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 02 September 2016
    19 Comments

    Many Brazilians remember the 'Red Bishop' as much more than a defender of human rights. For these people, Helder Camara is included reverently in the litany of rogues who drew the ire of church and state authorities by demanding both do a better job of embodying a message of social justice. It was a powerful idea to grow up with: that this imposing and defining institution I had been born and baptised into contained a rebellious truth that often demanded we go against the institution's own grain.

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  • EDUCATION

    Students are not the monsters in our universities

    • Ellena Savage
    • 02 September 2016
    6 Comments

    In the golden era, I suppose, only a handful of people, selected for their potential to contribute to certain class formations, went to university. And then there was a shift, and this occurred with the supposedly democratising process of neoliberalisation. But neoliberalisation went a bit far and now we don't know how to tell our students that while they are entitled to real attention from their teachers, a lot of the time their teachers are basically volunteers for the charity called their expensive education.

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