Author: Ben

  • AUSTRALIA

    Passion has a place in border protection's age of reason

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 07 February 2014
    24 Comments

    In the Australian migration debate, 'passion' is construed as opposed to 'reason'. But the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has said that 'passion' in its classical (ancient or biblical) sense, is not opposed to reason (being attuned to the world), but rather to 'peace' or 'harmony'. Therefore 'passionate' language — alongside practical proposals — can unsettle uncritical pictures of the issue.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Best of 2013: Transformed by a boring Brussels Mass

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 07 January 2014

    The coughing is getting worse; it sounds like the pew behind me is hosting a cardiac arrest. English theologian James Alison described mass as 'a long term education in becoming unexcited', a state that allows us to dwell 'in a quiet place' that 'increases our attention, our presence'. In Brussels, becoming 'unexcited' seems important.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Thoughts in the key of Oxford

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 29 November 2013
    5 Comments

    The woman at the canteen yells 'Urrry up! Speed up! Who dropped that?' A 30 second washing detergent ad prefaces a video you want to watch on YouTube. A homeless man talks to his dog over a sandwich: 'Get lost Chance! It's mine, you've 'ad yours!' Everyday speech tells stories and offers glimpses of things not yet understood, to resurface later alongside other words and verses, fully invested with meaning.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's 20 years of asylum seeker dog whistling

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 06 September 2013
    11 Comments

    Throughout the electoral fracas over boat arrivals, Tony Abbott has been keen to isolate Australia's border control challenges from any international context: in his terms they are 'Australia's problem'. He may deny it, but the Opposition Leader knows full well that the Australian discussion is part of an international debate about responses to people movement. A historical perspective helps to illuminate this.

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  • MEDIA

    SBS audience betrays gays with a kiss

    • Ben
    • 14 August 2013
    90 Comments

    My appearance with my partner Nam on last night's Insight episode about marriage equality was one of the most intense experiences of my life. I thought I was strong enough to bear the brunt of bigotry, but the day after the program was filmed I broke down. For the first time, I felt the full force of internalised homophobia and public heterosexism.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Human faces of Monet's demons

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 09 August 2013
    7 Comments

    Monet, in a period of deep grief and loss, made what was in his career a rare decision: to paint other people. The artist forgot himself in contemplating the faces of his wife and his son, in depicting the faces of death and of incomprehension. We need icons like this — icons of incomprehension, reminders of the fragile self that, behind its virtual armour, is beset by doubt and demons.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Crying chairs' cold comfort for refugees

    • Lyn Bender
    • 24 July 2013
    5 Comments

    I watched the 'crying chairs' from my psychology clinic disappear into the truck. Many people over the years had nestled in one of those voluminous chairs and wept, whispered, or shouted their rage, sorrow and despair. Now it was time to leave my counselling office so I surrendered my sturdy armchairs for a greater good.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The small-l liberal tradition of brutal border control

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 12 July 2013
    8 Comments

    Many on the left might shudder at the mention of Philip Ruddock or think that his views on migration control were extreme and 'illiberal'. But in fact his views rested on mainstream liberal ideas of limited freedom. In Australia the concepts offered by the liberal tradition have been employed by both sides of politics to give a 'reasonable' varnish to inhumane migration control policies.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Solidarity on Europe's horizons

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 14 June 2013
    1 Comment

    At present all that seems to unite European citizens is the negative sentiment of 'Euroscepticism'. There's a gulf between citizens' opinions, and the policies pursued to solve Europe's most pressing problems. For committed Europeans the important discussions to be had now aren't just concerned with institutional design, but with 'the fundamental questions'. Enter the philosophers.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Asylum seeker sonnet

    • Brendan Doyle, Ben Walter and Rob Wallis
    • 28 May 2013
    5 Comments

    With every boat that sinks our grief's untold; the smugglers just don't care they're overfull; So join the queue, no need to bribe with gold; and get a proper visa in Kabul.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Pilgrims in the landscape of lament

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 19 April 2013
    7 Comments

    He was the same age as me and had the same name. But he looked old. He'd left Nigeria and walked to Macedonia; four years of walking. His feet were covered in callouses, dried and thickened. In the course of these wanderings he had been kidnapped, beaten and starved. The irregular migrants in Macedonia have come to the end of the road.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Party games in darkening Canberra

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 22 March 2013
    10 Comments

    Our political leaders are suffering from the disenchantment of the electorate. Canberra and its political hackery has less appeal now than it's had for a long time. It might be worth listening to Bob Hawke, who recently unwittingly echoed the seniment of French philosopher Simone Weil's essay 'On the Abolition of All Political Parties'.

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