Author: Fatima Measham

  • INTERNATIONAL

    Pugilist-poet Ali's race legacy still packs a punch

    • Fatima Measham
    • 08 June 2016
    7 Comments

    The contest over Ali began even as news spread of his passing. His legend straddles the violence of his sport and the violence in which he refused to participate. Boxing is brutal but it has rules and finite duration. In war, there are no rules and no one wins. Ali recognised a larger violence, chose his enemies, and reimagined bravery. Attempts to sublimate this legacy - such as comments about him 'transcending' race - resemble the appropriation of Martin Luther King Jr by conservatives.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Laughing in the face of climate change despair

    • Fatima Measham
    • 30 May 2016
    12 Comments

    People understand that some of the solutions for the problems faced by current and coming generations are likely rooted in decisions made now. Future-proofing is not merely anticipation, but intervention on a scale that goes beyond households. It involves design and culture. It demands an international rather than insular outlook. Perhaps this is why gallows humour has seeped into my conversations about the future. I no longer expect our leaders to do something worthwhile about it.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Reconciling with president-elect Duterte

    • Fatima Measham
    • 13 May 2016
    5 Comments

    The campaign left me bewildered. The things Duterte represents - vigilantism, unilateralism and violence - aren't these the same things that Filipino human rights activists had fought against? Is this now the preferred template for imposing order? I parsed post after post on social media, trying to working out what I was missing. For months I asked myself, what the hell went wrong? It is only lately that I'm beginning to accept that I got the wrong end of the question. What went wrong? Everything.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being popular is not the same as leadership

    • Fatima Measham
    • 04 May 2016
    3 Comments

    In democracies, public sentiment is meant to be taken seriously. Describing something as populist is a refusal to engage with the sentiment, including its source and complications, usually because we find it disagreeable. The subtext is: people are wrong about the things they care about. They are not being rational or realistic. It is a brave thing to say these days about support for a royal commission into banks, or softening public attitudes toward detention-bound children.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Budget for a post trickle down theory world

    • Fatima Measham
    • 18 April 2016
    10 Comments

    People are sensitised to government-enabled corporate excess and doubt elected officials are capable and willing to serve their interests. The lesson from the 2014 federal budget is that there are non-negotiables around the function of government: to provide the conditions that ensure the flourishing of all citizens. Yet in terms of future-proofing living standards, the Coalition has so far presided over an ideas bust rather than boom, unless boom is the sound of something spontaneously combusting.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    System must work for victims, not against them

    • Fatima Measham
    • 01 April 2016

    For victims and survivors, the royal commission report into family violence comes as catharsis. For activists and advocates, it is vindication. Perpetrators thrive on impunity. Impunity is built on uncertainty of punishment, cultures of silence, victim-blaming and perceived collusion with figures of authority. Dismantling this is central to violence prevention and ensuring the safety of women and children in the home. The royal commission addresses this goal across 227 recommendations.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Preselection esteems politics over merit

    • Fatima Measham
    • 14 March 2016
    10 Comments

    The debate over the Coalition's proposed senate voting reforms has highlighted the inter-party brokering that brings candidates into office. Yet if representative democracy were predicated on transparency, then another area deserves scrutiny: preselection. The mechanism for choosing party representatives clearly relies on powerful backers - politics - rather than merit. That is an obvious thing to say. But it carries repercussions for governance with which we have yet to grapple.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Count the human cost of Australia's overseas mining interests

    • Fatima Measham
    • 07 March 2016
    3 Comments

    In 2012, a pregnant woman and two of her children were killed in their own home in Tampakan, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Tampakan is the site of a new mine with Australian interests. The woman was the wife of a B'laan tribal leader agitating against the mine. Over recent years indigenous peoples of Mindanao been harassed, displaced and killed by militias, some allegedly with the imprimatur of the Philippine army. Much of this has passed without notice in Australia.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Millennials have allies in the emerging grey vote

    • Fatima Measham
    • 18 February 2016
    5 Comments

    The formative experiences of Australian early boomers include unprecedented access to university education and health care, immersion in feminist discourse, Aboriginal land rights campaigns, environmental activism, LGBT movements and pacifism. Quite remarkably, it mirrors some of the elements that engage millennials. While in some ways anti-boomer sentiment seems well placed, what it misses is that on social issues a 21-year-old might have more in common with a 61-year-old than a 71-year-old.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The Bernie Sanders Factor in US and Australian elections

    • Fatima Measham
    • 05 February 2016
    9 Comments

    The Bernie Sanders phenomenon in the US, like Corbyn in the UK and Podemos in Spain, demonstrates the rhetorical potency of renewal; of politics not as usual. It is the sort of thing that resonates with disaffected young people. While it is not entirely sensible to extrapolate developments in the US to Australia, it is worth speculating on the impact of our own changing demographics. Are the major parties equipped to take advantage of these shifts? Are they appealing to a new Australia that is already here?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Whose Australia Day?

    • Fatima Measham
    • 22 January 2016
    18 Comments

    Last November I was on a panel at the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council conference, musing about postmodern identities, whether 'ethnics' were mainstream and not peripheral, and whether 'Aussie values' are in fact universal. I enjoyed the discussion, but part of me felt worn. It seemed to me that black and brown folks like us are less concerned about what it means to be Australian than how Australian we would have to be, to be as Australian as everyone else.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Islamophobia belongs on the fringes

    • Fatima Measham
    • 12 January 2016
    6 Comments

    A series of protests against a mosque in Bendigo and the launch of an Islamophobic party in Perth may be cause for concern, but only if political leaders fail to invalidate fringe views. Under Tony Abbott, the conflation of Islam and extremism became mainstream. Corrections regarding racial vilification and incitement are most properly determined in the court, so it is not Muslims or lefties who are oppressing these views but the laws that operate in the secular democracy they purport to defend.

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