Author: Fatima Measham

  • AUSTRALIA

    Firing Comey does not make Trump Nixon

    • Fatima Measham
    • 11 May 2017
    5 Comments

    References to Watergate are flying thick and fast - again. Earlier this week, Donald Trump abruptly dismissed FBI director James Comey in the middle of a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. It is difficult to overstate how bad this move is, and how much it has rattled political and bureaucratic firmaments. There are differences, however, between then and now. Trump is not Nixon, for one thing. Perhaps we can be thankful for that, in that infantile impetuosity is not paired with a much more cunning mind.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The counter-cultural, rehumanising work of volunteers

    • Fatima Measham
    • 27 April 2017
    4 Comments

    A significant portion of the work that goes on in our economy is voluntary. It features in many contexts, such as social welfare, mentoring, animal welfare, landcare, local sport, and arts and literary activities. It can be hard to make a case for volunteering at a time when labour exploitation is rife. Students, migrants and Indigenous people, who need to establish work experience, are particularly vulnerable when it comes to unpaid work. This does not mean that volunteer work can never be meaningful.

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  • RELIGION

    Easter in dark times

    • Fatima Measham
    • 12 April 2017
    18 Comments

    Easter, for me, has always been a time to sit in the brokenness of things, to absorb the dread and devastation, and reel at the inexplicable sacrifice. Crushing humility might have characterised my experience in previous years. This year, I feel formless rage. The human drama of Easter - with its betrayals, moments of audacity and doubt, the machinations in shadow - bears the sting of injustice. The central narrative is political. Choices were made by people in power. They are still being made.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Trump's coal crusade will cost

    • Fatima Measham
    • 30 March 2017
    5 Comments

    This week, Trump signed the Energy Independence executive order, which amounts to open slather for oil drilling and coal companies. It turns off policy settings made under Obama, including a moratorium on coal leases on federal land and methane emissions limits in oil and gas production. It's a colossal setback, though it could play well in coal country. While Trump may declare he is '(cancelling) job-killing regulations', people will eventually find it is not emissions-related regulation that is killing jobs.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    'Rule of law' furore reveals real thugs

    • Fatima Measham
    • 16 March 2017
    18 Comments

    A new round of anti-union chest-thumping is underway, following ACTU secretary Sally McManus' remarks that 'I believe in the rule of law where the law is fair ... But when it's unjust, I don't think there's a problem with breaking it.' If any other person had said this in the context of civil and political rights, the words might not be so incendiary. Laws are not as neutral as we imagine them to be. They are constructed by individuals of immense power, with their own set of values and connections.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Swift injustice in modest penalty rates proposal

    • Fatima Measham
    • 02 March 2017
    13 Comments

    The Fair Work Commission decision on penalty rates removes any doubt that young people might have still had about their place in the economic order. The four-yearly review of awards in hospitality, fast food, retail and pharmacy found that Sunday penalty rates 'do not achieve the modern awards objective, as they do not provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net'. But whose safety net? Unfair to whom? These industries are already notorious for exploiting young workers.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    We all benefit from having migrant workers

    • Fatima Measham
    • 16 February 2017
    9 Comments

    There's not enough jobs because foreigners are stealing them. Wages aren't going up because foreigners drag them down. Graduates aren't finding positions because skilled worker visas are being given out too easily. Such answers are potent in pockets of Australian society that would rather blame outsiders than demand their government create new jobs, lift the minimum wage, improve work conditions and training, and mediate skills transfers from industries that are contracting, such as mining.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Biding time in the anti-establishment era

    • Fatima Measham
    • 02 February 2017
    6 Comments

    It strikes me as odd that we have mostly withstood anti-establishment agitation, as seen in the Philippines and the UK. It is not like our political class have not earned similar scorn. What if the optimism bias that kept most of us from anticipating the results of the Brexit referendum and the US election are now also in play in Australia? How long will current welfare architecture and the incompetence of nativists keep at bay the destabilising forces that have laid America so low?

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  • MEDIA

    Language is the first and last contest of the post-truth era

    • Fatima Measham
    • 19 January 2017
    11 Comments

    In the weeks before the US election, Salena Zito wrote of Donald Trump: 'The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.' Not being able to take consequential public statements as meant - that loosens threads that bind democracies. The work cut out for US journalists is in fact cut for all who live in this era. If language no longer organises reality in a way that meets basic agreement, not much holds us together.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    When we give ourselves permission

    • Fatima Measham
    • 08 December 2016
    12 Comments

    It is hard to overstate the sort of things that become permissible when the dominant political culture appeals to our darker nature. Take the cascade of brutality in the Philippines, or the stream of hateful incidents in the US. In Australia, white supremacist groups staged 'victory rallies' after the US election, and posters appeared last weekend at Melbourne University telling 'dunecoons, shitskins, niggers, chinks' to get out. This permissiveness isn't just about Trump, though he is a catalyst.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Marcos burial dents Duterte

    • Fatima Measham
    • 24 November 2016
    5 Comments

    Technicalities seldom withstand moral grievance. So it is with Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte's justification for allowing the remains of a reviled dictator to be buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani - the Heroes' Cemetery. Young Filipinos, observing recent political disorder, had begun wondering whether Marcos was really that bad. But the disgusted response of millenials and others to the sneaky burial suggests that the pushback against historical revisionism is paying off.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Progressives must stand firm in Trump's shadow

    • Fatima Measham
    • 10 November 2016
    19 Comments

    It didn't take long for me and other Filipino friends to be asked 'How do we Americans deal with this?' There is nothing soothing to say. Trump is not Duterte, of course, and there are differences in governance and law enforcement that (as yet) better protect Americans. But what I know is it is not the office that makes the person presidential. It is a waste of time to expect Trump to change. There will be no post-election unity, despite the conciliatory noises being made. And yet there is no choice but to endure.

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