Author: Fatima Measham

  • AUSTRALIA

    In praise of local councils

    • Fatima Measham
    • 27 October 2016
    7 Comments

    Unless you have lived elsewhere, where taxes and rates rarely manifest as a tangible and permanent benefit, it is easy to take councils for granted. I grew up in a town where potholes are forever, healthcare is ad hoc and libraries are private. The things that I see my local council do as a matter of routine are wild luxuries in other places around the world. Such competencies arguably measure the health of a democracy - it means that most of the money has not been lost to corruption and fraud.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Left shares blame for the rise of the rogues

    • Fatima Measham
    • 16 October 2016
    12 Comments

    Much has been made about how Republicans benefited from the 'birther' campaign and the Tea Party. It suited them to have proxies undermine the executive branch. In other words, the political right only has itself to blame for the nihilism which now engulfs it - and potentially, the nation. But the failures of the left also bear examination. While Clinton's current lead cannot be attributed entirely to her virtues, the polling gap between her and Trump should have been much wider, earlier.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The dangers of Trump and climate conspiracy theories

    • Fatima Measham
    • 29 September 2016
    6 Comments

    Trump predictably resorted to insinuation to mask his deficiencies. After the first presidential debate, he said: 'They gave me a defective mic. Did you notice that ... was that on purpose?' It is hilarious until you realise how it would be received by supporters. It captures something of contemporary politics, where the line between conspiracy theory and legitimate anti-establishment criticism is more smudged than ever. A deficit of trust is one thing; a detachment from truth is something else.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Hope, not nihilism, is the antidote to bleak times

    • Fatima Measham
    • 15 September 2016
    3 Comments

    In Mexico, a 12-year old boy walked onto the road to stare down an 11,000-strong anti-LGBTQ protest. In Italy, a small town has been revived by the arrival of refugees and migrants. In the US, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has pulled the issue of police brutality into apolitical spaces, using symbolic gestures to draw out the history of racialised oppression. As Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine puts it, 'If you want to be right, be a pessimist, if you want to do right, be an optimist.'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Thoughts of an ambivalent feminist

    • Fatima Measham
    • 05 September 2016
    5 Comments

    Unless feminism abandons its individualistic, secular, western framing of freedom, it cannot presume to liberate all women. Some of its recent concerns give away limitations: whether this politician identifies as feminist, whether child-raising is self-sabotage, whether women abandon autonomy when they take their husband's name. I wonder sometimes whether it is ever possible to talk about sexual exploitation of women in Asia without getting entangled in sex positivity and legal sex work.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The cost so far of Filipinos' gamble on thug rule

    • Fatima Measham
    • 18 August 2016
    13 Comments

    I fret more than ever for friends and family in the Philippines. If life is so expendable, who can be safe? What if my brother-in-law is mistakenly identified as a drug 'pusher'? What if my dad goes to a cockfight and armed vigilantes do a drive-by? It is disheartening that many Filipinos seem to approve of Duterte's methods. This is the purge many had wanted. They see the current campaign as a necessary, painful transition to better things. They are wrong. Nothing personal, just history.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nauru Files reinforce the need for political grace

    • Fatima Measham
    • 11 August 2016
    11 Comments

    The Guardian has released incident reports that lay bare the details of life on Nauru for people detained under our immigration regime. It is an 8000-page indictment of the ethical and moral character of this country. We've been here before. We already know that the torment of children does not move the political class, nor do the indignities meted out to women. Men have died under circumstances that flow from decisions nominally made on our behalf. What would it take to break the impasse?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The economic case for greater diversity in media

    • Fatima Measham
    • 05 August 2016

    Perhaps what will ultimately convince media and entertainment companies that it is in their interest to be sincere about diversity is that there's money in it. A UCLA study found that in 2014, eight films that had diverse casts (out of 163) also had the highest median global revenues and returns on investment. In addition, TV shows with majority non-white casts rated extremely well, even among white households. This challenges conventions around what media consumers find appealing.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Can leadership change revive the UN?

    • Fatima Measham
    • 01 August 2016
    6 Comments

    The United Nations Security Council is in the process of selecting its next secretary-general. There is intense interest, not least because the General Assembly has made efforts to make it more transparent via an open nomination process and televised debates. The UN is seen in some parts as an edifice to bureaucratic ineptitude. But the internationalism that stitched the world back together after two calamitous wars has frayed. We need the UN as ballast against future instability.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Hanson supporters must accept world has changed

    • Fatima Measham
    • 08 July 2016
    26 Comments

    Rather than her reprise, it was the appeals for civility that I found more disconcerting. Katharine Murphy, Margo Kingston and Tracey Spicer ran variations of the argument that confronting the things that Hanson and her party stand for would inflate her status (as if getting elected into the senate has not already done that). Kingston suggests seeking out Hanson supporters for a chat. Unfortunately, that is not a thing black and brown Australians do, sit down for a cuppa with people who despise them.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Beyond the myth of the rational voter

    • Fatima Measham
    • 01 July 2016
    8 Comments

    When the democratic exercise is no longer the aggregate of informed, reasoned choices, but a matter of mood, then the business of persuasion - politics - becomes far less about ideas and more about momentary catharsis. This shifts the function of politicians and government, from leading and dispensing equity to masturbatory aid. Even so, there are questions worth asking. But at whose expense are public moods assuaged? After catharsis, what happens next?

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Orlando shooting brings hate to its natural conclusion

    • Fatima Measham
    • 15 June 2016
    45 Comments

    At the epicentre of all this is a place where young, queer men and women had felt safe and free to be themselves. The dead are almost all black, brown, gay and working class. If, as Dr Cornel West has often said, justice is what love looks like in public, then injustice must be what hate looks like, and there is perhaps no greater injustice than murder. Mass murder is hatred realised in full grotesque proportion. This means is that the little things we do to validate hatred are not inconsequential.

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