Setbacks in the War for Simple Pleasures

Andy UltriIn this issue, we present a feature in our occasional Simple Pleasures series. Paul Daffey writes about Croatian immigrant Andy Utri, whose particular joy is checking the rain gauge every morning. The Simple Pleasures articles are not intended as light relief from the gravitas of many of the articles in Eureka Street. Instead, they ground our more serious commentaries, providing an insight into exactly what constitutes a better world for the human beings who live in it.

George W. Bush and John Howard are on the right track when they talk about the preservation and propagation of freedom as the goal of the War on Terror. But so far, military action has proved spectacularly unsuccessful as a means towards the goal, which is more or less the right of every human being on the planet to enjoy their own simple pleasures.

Despite their best efforts, the people of Iraq are now less able to enjoy such simple pleasures. This past month, the citizens of Lebanon and Israel have lost much of their freedom to enjoy simple pleasures. Australian aid agencies have petitioned the Prime Minister to support an immediate ceasefire, and Caritas Australia has designated this Sunday 13 August as Middle East Peace Sunday. In the meantime, the United States holds fast to its position that an immediate ceasefire is not in the interests of the safety and security of the people of Lebanon and Israel. There are echoes of Vietnam, and the oft-quoted US army officer who infamously asserted: 'We had to destroy this village to save it.'

Vietnam is on our minds this fortnight as we mark the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. In this issue of Eureka Street, we present Christine Gillespe’s personal perspective on this period of misadventure, tragedy and misguided intentions.

Other articles that take up the theme of simplicity include David Sutherland’s report on simple food, and the need to look beyond the 'natural' labels to what’s really inside the 'healthy choice' foods in our supermarkets.

Katharina Weiss also takes up the Lebanon question, and asks whether there might not be a better way to resolve the issues at hand in the Middle East, in order that further bloodshed can be avoided.

We also have a piece from an aid worker in Darfur, in the western region of the Sudan, where a precarious ceasefire crumbles by the day, leaving the civilian population homeless and with little hope.

Alongside some of the more confronting realities presented in this issue, there is also the usual excellent collection of poetry, film and book reviews. These are three simple pleasures that many of us enjoy. Long may it remain so for our 'lucky' country.

Click here to download an MP3 audio file containing a reading of this editorial (1.7MB).



submit a comment

Similar Articles

Compassion requires more courage than war

  • Katharina Weiss
  • 07 August 2006

To fight wars we have to deny our own and others’ humanity. Israeli Defence Force commander General Dan Halutz was asked about his feelings when he piloted a plane dropping bombs on people in Gaza in 2002. His reply was that he felt 'a light bump to the plane'.


How to eat simply and well at the same time

  • David Sutherland
  • 07 August 2006

In the First World, wealthy people tend to be slim, while many of the poor are obese. This is in stark contrast to poorer countries, where body fat can be seen as a sign of prosperity and good health, and is often considered attractive.



Subscribe for more stories like this.

Free sign-up