Keywords: Middle East

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  • AUSTRALIA

    On Aboriginal land: seeking a place at the table

    • Frank Brennan
    • 31 May 2017
    6 Comments

    Indigenous leaders this last week have called for the creation of two new legal entities. They want a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution, and a Makarrata Commission set up by legislation. The Makarrata Commission would supervise agreement making between governments and First Nations and engage in truth telling about history. The envisaged destination is a national Makarrata (or treaty). So the immediate constitutional issue is the creation of the First Nations Voice. There is no point in proceeding with a referendum on a question which fails to win the approval of Indigenous Australia. Neither is there any point in proceeding with a referendum which is unlikely to win the approval of the voting public.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Anti-Muslim laptop ban won't make us more secure

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 18 May 2017
    13 Comments

    Australia should think carefully about adopting a ban that singles out Muslim majority countries under the guise of keeping its citizens safe. While it might make sense to ban potential bomb-carrying devices on flights from those countries where terrorist groups tend to be based, in reality it negatively profiles these countries and, more oppressively, the people who come from them. This is precisely the kind of dog whistle politics the likes of Trump and Hanson have engaged in.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Egypt and Ethiopia river wars be dammed

    • Tuhimi Akebet
    • 16 May 2017
    2 Comments

    The building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile by a major Italian construction company remains a source of tension between Ethiopia and Egypt. Egypt sees the Nile as its sole source for the survival of its population and, historically, has seen itself as its sole natural guardian. Ethiopia argued in response, on the basis of unseen studies, that there would be no reduction of water downstream. Both are mindful of the disastrous war they waged against each other early in the 19th century.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Palestine's 1948 'catastrophe' is an ongoing daily reality

    • Nahed Odeh
    • 12 May 2017
    11 Comments

    On 15 May, Palestinians and our allies all over the world commemorate the Nakba. In Arabic, Nakba means 'catastrophe', and it refers to the violent displacement of Palestinians that began in 1948. Growing up in Palestine, I know that while the Nakba started in 1948, Palestinians have been living under a continuous Nakba since then: the Nakba didn't end, it's ongoing. For me, the Nakba is when a foreign regime determines my and my family's movements on a land we lived on for generations.

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  • 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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  • RELIGION

    The sad release of skipping church

    • Ryan Suckling
    • 09 May 2017
    11 Comments

    There came a time for me, as it does for many, when going to church was no longer obligatory. I suspect it's most common in those middle years of adolescence - the time when parents feel the need to loosen their hold over you, but with the blanket of judgement ever fixed. My wane in piety was not unforeseen. Each Sunday, as my family was getting ready, I'd linger by the bathroom. The plan was to tentatively make everyone aware I wasn't quite up for church-going that day. Reactions varied.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    It is my duty to remember

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 21 April 2017
    16 Comments

    Every Anzac Day there seem to be arguments about the legitimacy of what has been called the One Day of the Year. In the past I have taken my turn at rebutting views that express the belief that such days are part of a wholly reprehensible glorification of war. I've had a great deal of time to think about the matter, and also have a personal involvement: my grandfather and father were in the Australian Army, and both saw active service, about which periods they hardly ever spoke.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The wondrous life and death of Japanese cherry blossoms

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 20 April 2017
    4 Comments

    Cherry blossom season in Japan is anticipated all winter long but when it arrives it is nothing more than a tease. It is a kind of new year, a starting over, a washing clean of the slate and beginning afresh. But these blossoms hold in their being the promise of death. 'With cherry blossoms, we start things over,' translates my guide, from a haiku. 'And we find beauty not only in the cherry blossoms but also in how they flutter to the ground.' It's from that fluttering that we derive the most valuable of lessons.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Palestinian water divide highlights discrimination

    • Na'ama Carlin
    • 28 March 2017
    12 Comments

    Some things are invisible until pointed out. Take the water tanks that pepper the rooves of buildings and homes in the West Bank. 'That's how you tell between Palestinian villages and Israeli settlements,' a friend points out. 'The Palestinian homes need water tanks because of restricted water supply from Israel, whereas the settlements don't.' Access to clean water is a fundamental human right, and the water situation in Palestine reveals a cruel privileging of one group over another.

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  • EDUCATION

    Towards a more inclusive religious curriculum

    • Sophie Chalmers
    • 21 March 2017
    21 Comments

    The Dalai Lama is turning 82 this July, and he may be the last in his line. The religious and political ramifications of this are often lost on the general public. Many people in largely Christian Australia don't know the significance of a Mikveh in Judaism, can't explain why the Buddhist Middle Path is so important, or recite what the Five Pillars of Islam are. There are as many diverse interpretations of Hinduism as there are for Christianity, and as many insightful Buddhist stories as there are in the Bible.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Penetrating the cult of secrecy and abuse

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 15 March 2017
    1 Comment

    The power of Jones' film comes from bringing us the faces and voices of the victims in the present day; to hear in their words and see in their manner the ongoing trauma of those experiences. It is a timely and illuminating exploration of the impacts of child abuse, arriving during a period when many of our Australian institutions, religious and otherwise, have been facing the probing spotlight of a royal commission for behaviour that was at times equally as secretive, and traumatic.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    US is no stranger to electoral meddling

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 10 March 2017
    4 Comments

    Each day is met by the same reports: electoral interference has supposedly taken place, instigated by Russian, or at the very least outsourced Russian entities, in the elections of Europe and the United States. Such claims assert, not merely the reality of these claims, but the nature of their influence. Such a stance detracts from one fundamental point: that the manipulation of electoral systems has been, and remains, common fare, irrespective of the finger pointing at Moscow.

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