Author: Ben

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Roman Polanski and the chain of abuse

    • Lyn Bender
    • 12 March 2013
    15 Comments

    In 2009 I wrote an article examining the suffering of Polanski, the acclaimed filmmaker who was wanted on a rape charge he'd pled guilty to 30 years ago. I soon discovered how cruel an online lynch mob can be. Some commentators wished rape upon me, so that I might know how bad it was. The truth is I was already 'in the club'.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Freewheeling fantasies of European citizenship

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 22 February 2013
    1 Comment

    Does citizenship need to be built upon close cultural, linguistic and historical ties, as in a national community? Or can a broader conception of citizenship be formed? In Brussels I spot a mural of a mosque on a garage door, surrounded by people from North Africa, Eastern and Western Europe, speaking French, Flemish, English and Arabic.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Transformed by a boring Brussels Mass

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 25 January 2013
    15 Comments

    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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Best of 2012: My brush with Israeli militarism

    • Lyn Bender
    • 11 January 2013
    5 Comments

    Aged 18, during a period of great personal confusion, I considered volunteering for the Israeli Army. I had been indoctrinated within a community of holocaust survivors who had latched onto militant Zionism as a means to reclaim Jewish pride and safety. In the early adulthood when the brain is not fully matured, youth is particularly vulnerable to being captivated by idealism. Monday 10 December 

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Practical solutions to climate despair

    • Lyn Bender
    • 13 December 2012
    21 Comments

    The Doha climate talks have come and gone, and it is all business as usual. Actually, it is full steam ahead with coal, despite dire warnings from the World Bank that if we don't turn down the heat we face clear threats to our great god, The Economy. While denial and despair are tempting options at this point, there are healthier ways to respond.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    My brush with Israeli militarism

    • Lyn Bender
    • 10 December 2012
    14 Comments

    Aged 18, during a period of great personal confusion, I considered volunteering for the Israeli Army. I had been indoctrinated within a community of holocaust survivors who had latched onto militant Zionism as a means to reclaim Jewish pride and safety. In the early adulthood when the brain is not fully matured, youth is particularly vulnerable to being captivated by idealism.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A Jew and a Palestinian walk into a cafe

    • Lyn Bender
    • 21 November 2012
    46 Comments

    The world was silent when Jewish people suffered incursions and massacres and the 'final solution' in death camps. A vast number of my own family were murdered during this time. Now the boot is on the other foot. Israel holds the position of power in the Gaza conflict, yet the world is largely silent about its atrocities.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why we'll never agree about abortion

    • Lyn Bender
    • 09 November 2012
    35 Comments

    Abortion seems to be an inherently insoluble moral and human rights conundrum. The ethical debate consists of grappling with many untenable positions. The best course may be to face this complexity rather than seek to reduce it to a final solution. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Obama and Romney's shallow thinking on drones

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 30 October 2012
    3 Comments

    Obama has overseen an upsurge in the use of unmanned drones. This is one aspect of foreign policy on which he and Romney agree. But drone use raises difficult questions about the conduct of war, and there is no room for complacency or superficial reasoning. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Groundhog Day for refugees

    • Lyn Bender
    • 26 September 2012
    8 Comments

    In March 2002 I spent hours with Afghanis, Iranians, Palestinians and Iraqis on hunger strikes; desperate people who felt they had no power except to use their bodies to convey their message of despair. I am not the only health professional to predict that the resurrected Pacific Solution will create the same destructive circumstances.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My life as a Florence tour guide

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 22 August 2012
    6 Comments

    All is not quite lost. There's still Michelangelo's David in the Academia — that's 'famous' and always makes for a good Facebook album cover. But after queuing for two hours, you feel rather underwhelmed — David isn't the 20m high statue of a ripped male you had been expecting, and there isn't a secret passageway leading from his gluteus maximus to a torture chamber beneath the Vatican.

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  • MEDIA

    On media and massacres

    • Lyn Bender
    • 30 July 2012
    3 Comments

    Media and lone protagonists who commit Colorado-style mass murder have common traits. They seek to enthrall, send a message and rise above the pack. Many experts agree that dramatic, hysterical publicising of the perpetrator and his crime can feed the so called copycat compulsion.

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